Refining GOA 1: Subjects

This is the first (and longest, I think) of three (or more) posts discussing possible changes and refinements in how the data for the Gold Open Access/Diamond OA reports is gathered and reported, assuming that the reports continue.

I’m hoping for fast feedback: the refinements involve scanning the full dataset, and I hope to startt that by mid-July. If you have comments, make them now.

Assigning one of 28 subjects to each journal has always been a little haphazard for ambiguous cases, which I’m guessing involves a few hundred journals. I’m planning to use the notes below to (slightly) formalize these assignments.

Anthropology and Sociology

As I currently understand it, anthropology deals with individuals and humanity, past and present, while sociology deals with semi-formal groups of people, that is, society. Based on that understanding, subject assignments would change or be maintained as follows:

  • Sports moves from anthropology to sociology.
  • Labor moves from economics to sociology.
  • Tourism and archaeology stay in anthropology.
  • Area studies belong in anthropology (?)
  • Urban studies belong in anthropology (?).

History, Religion, and Education vs. Other Topics (X)

  • The history of X belongs in X (so history of religion belongs in religion).
  • X Education belongs in X.
  • Religious X may belong in X (Islamic Economics is economics).

Choosing between Arts & Architecture, Media & Communications, and Language & Literature

  • Visual arts are arts, but broadcasting is media.
  • The performing arts are difficult: movies and TV are media, but… here and below, the “focus” may be determinant. Advice especially welcome.
  • Are plays literature or arts?
  • In some difficult cases, which aspect comes first may be the determinant.


I believe I went overboard in tagging anything with “sustainable” in the title or description as ecology. The Ecology tag may make sense if sustainability appears to be a principal focus.

Earth Sciences

I’ve been putting geography, geology, mining, and space all into earth sciences. I plan to continue that, but advice is welcome.

Other advice/suggestions? (Expanding or completely rebuilding the whole subject list does not seem to be feasible–expanding would make the tables too unwieldy and, frankly, a complete reworking might result in only four subjects–medicine, science & technology, social science, and humanities–and that strikes me as worthless.)

Please get comments to me by July 7, 2023: email at or reply uere.

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