Should there be a Gold Open Access 8?

It’s mid-August; in another few weeks I’ll need to decide whether to propose (to SPARC) Gold Open Access 2017-2022 (GOA8). I’m inviting feedback, as it’s not an entirely easy decision. Feel free to comment (but those close after two weeks) or send me email at

The factors or questions involved:

Is it feasible?

Probably yes. As of today, DOAJ shows 18,135 journals, with around 31o removals and 940 additions during 2022. Of course, DOAJ could add thousands more journals between now and December 31, but I’m assuming that won’t happen–that there would wind up being around 19,000, including around 1,800 not in previous editions.

That’s probably too many to complete as rapidly as this year, when there were 17,270 journals of which around 2,200 were new and 16,620 could be fully analyzed, and data gathering was completed on May 6, but should be doable by the end of June or, at worst, mid-July. Massaging the data and preparing the books should take about as long as this year. So, barring health and other unforeseen issues, GOA8 should be complete by late summer, and possibly early summer.

Is it feasible for me to do?

Not automatically the same question. I’m getting older every year*, and my own and family health and other issues can be less predictable every year.

I worked faster this year than last, partly because of better familiarity with datasets, partly because of  tools that worked well. I don’t anticipate a similar improvement next year, but not necessarily any big slowdown either. Assuming, of course, my mind and body keep functioning fairly well…

During the first half of each year, I devote as much time to the GOA project as I can without disrupting all the other aspects of life–chores, shopping, daily walks, weekly hikes, evening TV and reading. My guess is that I average about 20-25 hours a week of data gathering during that time**.

Is it worthwhile?

Ah, there’s the question. I find it interesting, but only if it’s both useful and being used. I’d earlier suggested that one sign that people found my datagathering and analysis worthwhile might be a few of them buying the nominally-priced books. On that basis, I should stop: Nobody (but me) has purchased any copies of any GOA6 or GOA7 book (there were two sales for GOA5).

As for the free PDF versions, so far there have been about 220 downloads of GOA7 and about 45 of the country book. (GOA6, to date, has about 2,000 downloads, and about 270 of the country book. Back in the good old days, GOA3 and GOA4 each had more than 4,600 PDF downloads.)

The dataset shows 19 downloads and 91 views to date; I think only the download figure means much. GOA6 has 106 downloads so far.

OK, these are early days, but those are discouraging figures.

Basically: if it’s not worthwhile to other people, then it’s not worthwhile to me. So I could use some feedback.

Will SPARC keep sponsoring it?

That’s a separate question, one that won’t arise until I decide whether to propose another edition.

Your thoughts?


*Don’t we all? In my case, I’ll turn 77 in mid-September. My physical health is, I believe, no worse than it was a year ago and probably better than two years ago. My mental health? Not for me to say.

**So what do I do with those 20-25 hours a week during the latter part of the year? The last two or three years, I did more book reading–five or six books a month instead of the two or three a month I average while working on GOA–and spent more time watching TV, catching up on never-seen series or extras for series/movies we own; we only watch one show a night (and one movie a weekend), and there are shows we don’t both want to see. Last year, for example, I watched all of Schitt’s Creek. Oh, and I probably spent WAY too much time on Twitter and Facebook. This year has been different: in an effort to improve/retain mental flexibility, I picked up a collection of NYT Sunday crossword puzzles and have been doing one a day–and enjoying it enormously, while getting better at it. Also reading a lot more books and spending a little more time on social media–but not, at least so far, watching more TV. Not that y’all need to know this.

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