Archive for 2021

GOA7: A note on currency fluctuation

Monday, December 27th, 2021

In this final week of December, I’ve already done the preliminary DOAJ download and assigned subjects (and normalized long country names) for 2,219 added journals (and 548 gone). The subject process went faster this year, such that all normalization was done by Christmas. So I did an interim update, adding 30 more and removing six. A final update will happen later Friday afternoon (after midnight GMT on 1/1/2022), probably adding another 10-20 and removing a few. Then the slog will begin, probably January 2. (Given time needed for family and personal health and other issues, and the considerably larger dataset, this process is likely to continue well into summer.)

In the meantime, I wondered about a probably-minor issue: to what extent might apparent fee changes be affected or masked by changes in currency strengths (since I convert all fees to USD)?

I prepared the conversion spreadsheet for GOA7 on December 24. As with last year, in most cases–32 currencies–the conversion rate was the 2021 annual average (from OFX). In seven cases, where OFX could not provide figures, I used the 12/24 daily rate from The seven daily rates account for 361 journals; the 32 yearly averages account for 2,608.

So to what extent do fluctuations between 2020 and 2021 conversion rates matter?

  • Ten currencies weakened by 5% or more from 2020 to 2021 (one by just over 10%), representing a total of 844 journals–but that’s predominantly the 696 in GBP (pound sterling), since the pound did weaken significantly (6.78%) [The Euro also weakened against the dollar, but by only 3.74%–and journals designated in Euros and only Euros account for another 628.)
  • Seven currencies strengthened by more than 5% (four by more than 10%), but those seven only account for 50 journals.

Conclusion: overall, currency fluctuation is a relatively minor factor in fee fluctuation.

Now, off to start writing the Appendix (the part on preliminary steps) and do some non-GOA stuff for the rest of the week.

Gold Open Access 7: changes from GOA6

Tuesday, December 14th, 2021

I’m getting ready to start the next round (2016-2021)–downloading the DOAJ metadata as of a set date (somewhere between 12/15 and 12/20), matching ISSN/eISSN to prepare new spreadsheet, adding subjects and normalizing country names as needed. [The few journals added to DOAJ between the first download date and midnight 1/1/22 GMT will be picked up the afternoon of December 31. [Of 2,146 DOAJ records added in 2021, only 29 were added within the past two weeks, and typically the pace slows even further around the holidays. This way, probably 98% of the work of preparing the new spreadsheet can be spread out over two weeks or so.]

The following tweaks and changes are planned for this study:

Additional data

At the suggestion of Jan Erik Frantsvåg, the recently-added field “URL in DOAJ” will be retained, and will be in the shared public spreadsheet.

Change in data handling

Journals with malware issues will not be rechecked unless the issue is a certificate problem.

Changes in basic publication

Fee brackets will change to reflect reality–new brackets being $2,000+, $1,000-$1,999, $500-$999, and $0.01-$499

I will probably add some tables to the five (or six) year comparison chapter showing trends, similar to the tables posted here yesterday.

Changes in country book

This book will reflect the long tail, excluding journals from the “big 9” (or whatever this year’s number is). It should more closely reflect actual national publishing.

Gold open access: some trends

Monday, December 13th, 2021

No-fee gold open access has been growing every year. But fee-based gold OA, at least in number of published articles, has been growing considerably faster–thanks to a variety of factors, some of which I could speculate about but will choose not to. The unfortunate result (from my perspective as a library person who wants to see strong academic libraries with strong collections and staffing, that aren’t being hollowed out by subscription costs and now OA fees) is that the “transformation” seems to benefit mostly the big established publishers. But that’s a different argument, and I’ve basically retired from that battleground.

Peter Suber, who really has been one of the best and most rational voices in the OA arena, asked whether there was an easy way to look at the trends in fee/no-fee percentages during the years I’ve been doing the Gold OA studies. Actually, there is: Chapter 4 of GOA6 has a set of tables and graphs, and along with the Key Facts on page 3 of that book, contains all the data provided below–but these five tables take the same numbers and show them in a slightly different and perhaps more accessible way. Note that these tables only cover 2016-2020, actually the most recent year of each snapshot study, because DOAJ toughened its listing requirements and dropped many journals in 2015, resulting in a drop from 2014 to 2015.

No-fee gold OA has been growing


Clear enough: reasonable growth every year.

Fee-based gold OA articles grow faster


Not from 2016 to 2017, but every year since.

So while the no-fee journal % is stable


Remarkably stable, actually: 70% plus or minus 1,5%

The fee article % keeps rising


Again, except for 2016-2017.

And the cost per article keeps rising


Cost is determined by taking total fees (without waivers or discounts) divided by total articles.

GOA6: Update

Thursday, December 2nd, 2021

As of December 2, 2021, as far as I can tell:


  • Overall report: 1,253 PDF copies (no books other than my copy)
  • Countries: 119 PDF (no books)
  • Dataset: 302 views, 51 downloads


  • Overall report: 819 copies (two books)
  • Countries: 207 copies (no books)
  • Dataset: 885 views, 143 downloads [reported erroneously in November

NHT: An antidote to NFTs?

Thursday, November 11th, 2021

This is probably a stupid or unworkable idea (unworkable because I don’t have enough followers who would find it intriguing), but here goes:

Non-Harmful Thingies

So you have money and you want a unique digital image that might have some artistic or aesthetic value? But you’d just as soon not contribute to global warming by using vast amounts of energy for cryptocrap? Oh, and you’d like to actually have something, not just a token?

I have a collection of 200+ high-quality original 8×10 photos from around the world, and a list of 25 transforms that still yield interesting images.

You contribute at least $500 to one of these ecologically or socially positive charities: Nature Conservancy, Environmental Defense, World Wildlife Fund; any Feeding America affiliate; ACLU, Americans United, Doctors Without Borders, PPFA.

You email me a copy of the dated receipt and deposit $5 in my PayPal account.

I take the next print in the stack, scan it, apply one of the transforms, add a tiny NHT number in one corner, and send you the JPEG as an attachment. And then delete the transformed scan. I keep track; if (as seems unlikely) all the prints get used once, I use a different transform the second time around. Or you can contribute at least $600 and send a transform number (1-25) with your email. Not that you know which transform is which, to be sure.

You get a probably-unique digital print and a $500 tax deduction (at least in some cases).

At the end of the quarter, or when there have been at least 20 such transactions, I take the PayPal amount and contribute it to one of those charities. (I get that tax deduction, but since I have to report the added income it’s a wash at best.)

Oh, two caveats:

  • Your donation must be in some real-world currency.
  • If you choose to sell the digital print to somebody else, that transaction must also be in real-world currencies. [If I find out that cryptocrap has been involved, I will post a new image that uses the same original and same or similar transform and shame you for violating the terms of the agreement. Not that I’d ever find out…]

So there it is. Probably silly because I have at best a few hundred followers, and I’m guessing most of them with a desire for original artwork that doesn’t increase global warming would use this alternate technique:

  • Go to an art fair or gallery, find something that pleases you at a price you can afford, and buy it.

But there’s the idea. If at least two or three people say “Yes, I might go for that,” I’d , set up a tracking spreadsheet, negotiate one required permission and start filling orders.

An update about energy consumption: scans, transforms and email would all be done with zero energy from the grid–during the day, we’re almost always generating more (solar) power than we use.

I’ll probably delete this when comments close after two weeks, unless there are responses.

GOA6: October 2021 belated report

Sunday, November 7th, 2021

As of November 5, 2021, as far as I can tell:


  • Overall report: 1,226 PDF copies (no books other than my copy)
  • Countries: 80 PDF (no books)
  • Dataset: 272 views, 45 downloads


  • Overall report: 806 copies (two books)
  • Countries: 215 copies (no books)
  • Dataset: 837 views, 215 downloads

Possible changes in GOA7 (if it happens)

Sunday, November 7th, 2021

I’m considering two changes in Gold Open Access 2016-2021 (GOA7), if that happens, and I’d appreciate feedback if you think these are good or bad ideas–as usual, to (or in the comments(,

Malware instances

I’m planning to drop the recheck of journals flagged as malware. It’s a slow process and doesn’t seem to be yielding results. Exceptions: journals flagged for bad/expired security certificates will still be rechecked.

Gold Open Access by Country

This book doesn’t seem to get a lot of use. I still plan to do it, but with a subtitle: Gold Open Access by Country (2016-2021): The Long Tail. The book would exclude journals from the Big 8 (see pages 45 and beyond in GOA6).


GOA6: September 2021 Report

Sunday, October 3rd, 2021

As of October 23, 2021, as far as I can tell:


  • Overall report: 1,162 PDF copies (no books other than my copy)
  • Countries: 80 PDF (no books)
  • Dataset: 231 views, 34 downloads


  • Overall report: 788 copies (two books)
  • Countries: 190 copies (no books)
  • Dataset: 781 views, 132 downloads

GOA6: August 2021 report

Friday, September 3rd, 2021

As of September 2, 2021, as far as I can tell:


  • Overall report: 1,117 PDF copies (no books other than my copy)
  • Countries: 67 PDF (no books)
  • Dataset: 137 views, 23 downloads


  • Overall report: 763 copies (two books)
  • Countries: 175 copies (no books)
  • Dataset: 715 views, 124 downloads

GOA6: July 2021 report

Monday, August 2nd, 2021

As of August 2, 2021, as far as I can tell:


  • Overall report: 1,073 PDF copies (no books other than my copy)
  • Countries: 46 PDF (no books_
  • Dataset: 105 views, 25 downloads


  • Overall report: 737 copies (two books)
  • Countries: 162 copies (no books)
  • Dataset: 671 views, 114 downloads