Archive for December, 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