Author Archive

New and good study on “predatory” journals

Friday, September 11th, 2020

I just finished skimming through “How reliable and useful is Cabell’s Blacklist ? A data-driven analysis” by Christophe Dony , Maurane Raskinet, François Renaville, Stéphanie Simon, and Paul Thirion, appearing in LIBER Quarterly.

It appears to be well-done and worth reading. I’m biased, to be sure, since the study relies on my own work on questionable journals and the blacklist.

Gold Open Access, August 2020

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2020


Readership for GOA5, plus continuing reporting on GOA4.

All links available from the project home page, as always.

GOA5: 2014-2019

  • The dataset: 177 views, 28 downloads.
  • GOA5: 328 PDF ebooks. Two paperbacks (full color, highly recommended).
  • Countries 5: 34 PDF ebooks

GOA4: 2013-2018

  • The dataset: 759 views, 288 downloads.
  • GOA4: 3,459 PDF ebooks
  • Countries 4: 529 PDF ebooks
  • Subjects and Publishers: 421 PDF ebooks



Gold Open Access: July 2020 report

Sunday, August 2nd, 2020

The first report on readership for GOA5, plus continuing reporting on GOA4.

All links available from the project home page, as always.

GOA5: 2014-2019

  • The dataset: 120 views, 21 downloads.
  • GOA5: 278 PDF ebooks. Two paperbacks (full color, highly recommended).
  • Countries 5: 11 PDF ebooks

GOA4: 2013-2018

  • The dataset: 725 views, 268 downloads.
  • GOA4: 3,347 PDF ebooks
  • Countries 4: 500 PDF ebooks
  • Subjects and Publishers: 396 PDF ebooks

Gold Open Access by Country 2014-2019 available

Thursday, July 16th, 2020

Gold Open Access by Country 2014-2019 is now available as a free PDF ebook or nominally priced trade paperback.

How nominally priced? The book costs $7. I get $0.02 of that. (There’s a 15% discount through Friday, July 17,2020: discount code PUBLISH15 — and Lulu frequently does offer such discounts.)

As always, links are available at the project page, waltcrawford.name/goaj.html

GOA5: June 2020 report

Thursday, July 2nd, 2020

The first report on readership for GOA5, plus continuing reporting on GOA4–and the final report on GOAJ3. (Work on Gold Open Access by Country 2014-2019 continues; it should be out in late July or early August.)

All links available from the project home page, as always.

GOA5: 2014-2019

  • The dataset: 55 views, 12 downloads.
  • GOA5: 123 PDF ebooks. One paperback (full color, highly recommended).
  • Countries 5: in progress.

GOA4: 2013-2018

  • The dataset: 695 views, 245 downloads.
  • GOA4: 3,237 PDF ebooks
  • Countries 4: 486 PDF ebooks
  • Subjects and Publishers: 383 PDF ebooks

GOAJ3: 2012-2017

  • The dataset: 2,042 views, 375 downloads
  • GOAJ3: 4,022 PDF ebooks
  • Countries: 1,232 PDF ebooks

These will continue to be available, but this is the last report.

The Stranger in the Mirror: A mini-memoir during the pandemic

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2020

Random current personal observations on the day after completing GOA5 and the day before starting the Countries book…

My wife and I had an advantage going into the shelter-in-place (we’re in Alameda County, Calif., one of the six Bay Area counties to S-i-P before almost anybody in the US): we’re both introverts.

For us, s-i-p has meant missing the usual monthly dinner with our best friend, and more difficulties with shopping. Oh, and wearing masks whenever we’re in a public space (except walking, where we can always stay 6′ from other walkers). For me, it’s meant doing without the 2x/week going out to lunch I used to do–but am getting takeout once a week, from one of the same restaurants. And doing without library books and a weekly 2-5 mile amble with acquaintances (but my wife and I still do our daily 2-mile brisk walk). For my wife, it’s meant not doing the library-related work she was doing (volunteer) at the local history organization, because that’s been closed.

That doesn’t amount to much by most standards. We believe we both had Covid-19 around the start of the year, me a mild case, her a more severe but not quite hospital-grade case–but we’ll probably never know for sure. I’ve been tested twice for it within the past three weeks, for reasons that will come up later, and tested negative both times. And yes, we both take care–because we can’t be *sure* we’ve had it, because we don’t know whether we’re immune, and mostly because we don’t want to help spread it.

As for weight gain…well, I was in the hospital twice during the holiday season; the second time was an upper bowel obstruction which is probably always going to be with me to some extent (adhesions, probably from prostatectomy), and that had the effect of reducing my weight from 162 or so down to 148 or so. Well, and completely changing my diet in ways that make it difficult to get enough calories every day. (No rolled oats; no unpeeled fruit or vegetables; basically no raw vegetables; no nuts; pretty much nothing fibrous…and I stopped eating junk food and fast food, and sodas, a long time ago.) Once I regained the energy and stamina I’d been missing for months (that was the first hospitalization, a LONG one, from a massive staph infection resulting in a 60-day antibiotics regimen), I found that I was healthier at 148lb. than I had been at 162 (itself down from the 165-167lb. I’d been carrying most of my adult life). So I’m just trying to stay around 148-150lb. (I’ve shrunk to about 5’9″ from a former 5’11”, so I’m now at the lower side of a healthy BMI range, rather than the upper limit.) That, as it turns out, means averaging 2,200-2,400 calories a day; without Ensure, I’m not sure how I’d get there. (It also means five small meals a day instead of three larger ones. And aiming for “satisfied but not full” as a benchmark.)

The complicating factor in all this was that I needed cataract surgery in both eyes–and was scheduled for June 4, that schedule made just before S-i-P.

As it turns out, the opthalmologist’s office and the outpatient surgery center I planned to use reopened just in time–and, surprisingly, I was able to keep the dates (June 4 for one eye, June 18 for the other. Plus lots of associated office visits–and because the outpatient surgery center, part of Stanford Health Care/ValleyCare, is currently requiring a Covid-19 test the same week as any surgery, two visits to the drive-through test facility, one agonizingly slow, the other very quick, in both cases reported the next day to my healthcare account.

This was all much harder on my wife than on me, for a variety of reasons, in part because I can’t safely/legally drive until at least late this week.

Oh, and our 20-year-old dryer started leaving scorch marks on clothes, so add to that the need to acquire a new washer & dryer. Interleaved with everything else. And, of course, donning masks even indoors when delivery and maintenance people were here. (So far, in my experience, *almost* everybody wears the masks when they should, but there’s always a jackass or two…)

Oh: the title? I’ve worn glasses pretty much all my life, ever since I told my parents I was having trouble in first grade because I couldn’t read what was on the blackboard. So for, say, 68 years, I put on glasses first thing in the morning and took them off last thing at night, And they would be coke-bottle lenses were it not for the miracle of high-density plastic.

But with both eyes done, my eyes appear to be around 20:30 (they’ll be changing for another few weeks, but that seems to be where they are now). So I have drugstore glasses for the computer and for reading (different strengths), and dark glasses for outside for the moment, but otherwise don’t have glasses, Which means I see a stranger in the mirror–a stranger that looks something like my father, albeit less handsome. (We’ll stick with “readers” for a few months as everything settles down, then see whether prescription reading/computer glasses make sense. Because of difficulty getting consistent readings, only my right eye has a toric lens to correct astigmatism, but I don’t seem to have left-eye problems that would suggest serious astigmatism. We shall see.) Oh yes, and as you’d expect, things are much brighter than they were last year. Much. And apart from corneal edema, right eye only, that required a week or so to heal, the surgeries were just as painless as advertised.

So that’s my non-story. I was only slowed down on the Gold Open Access project by about a week, and will start on the Countries book tomorrow. The public library has started doing what looks to be a safe-for-them, safe-for-us circulation (place holds. make appointment, show up, call #, open trunk, they bring out the bag of books–and if you feel the need to return old ones, there’s an outside book drop, but they keep moving due dates forward, and they abolished fines last year), and I may start using it after I can start driving again. Which may be late this week or early next. I hope. Not because I love driving–I don’t–but because it relieves pressure & demands on my wife. I’m hoping we can go back to the occasional dinner with our friend in a month or so; a distanced version of the weekly hikes/ambles starts in early July; and maybe some day I can go back to eating lunch out from time to time. When it seems to be safe…or safer.

I feel sorry for the people really damaged by the pandemic. I do not feel sorry for the fools who did their damnedest to ignore Covid-19 for months, are now busily reopening, having beach parties, and generally risking their own and other people’s health. I guess the US needs to be #1 in something, and we’ve squandered moral and ethical leadership, so maybe MORE PREVENTABLE DEATHS AND ILLNESS is our big claim to fame. Whoopee.

[Not that anyone will read this. If you do, maybe leave a comment.]

Gold Open Access 2014-2019 (GOA5) available

Monday, June 22nd, 2020

The fifth edition of the GOA series is now available–as a free PDF ebook, a full-color trade paperback (color for the graphs is new, and raises the price to $11 or the near equivalent in other Lulu-accepted currencies), and a Figshare dataset.

All forms are, as always, linked from the project page at https://www.waltcrawford.name/goaj,html

[The www, should be optional.]

This edition includes 13,938 fully-analyzed journals with 854,018 articles in 2019, up from 774,427 in 2018; 697,390 in 2017; 631,977 in 2016; 571,627 in 2015; and 512,930 in 2014. Of the 13,938 journals, 12,901 published articles in 2019.

Once again, although most gold OA journals (70% of those active in 2019) do not charge fees, most articles (61% in 2019) do involve fees. The average cost per article was no more than $1,023 in 2019 and probably less, but that’s up considerably from 2018. Potential revenue for the year was a little over $863 million.

In addition to broader inclusion, changes this year include:

  • Because the pandemic made it less likely that files could be corrected, I did include journals with malware as long as a full set of figures was available.
  • The Growth and Shrinkage tables have been simplified (and will probably disappear altogether if there’s a GOA6, since they don’t seem useful).
  • Subject profiles are complete in this book, adding about 56 pages; there will not be a separate Subjects and Publishers book.
  • The trade paperback includes color graphs, printed in color, for the first time. That means a modest increase in the price, still rounded up from actual production costs, this time $11.00.

GOA4: May 2020 post (and GOA5 update)

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2020


Readership for the new edition and GOAJ3.

All links available from the project home page, as always.

GOA4: 2013-2018

  • The dataset: 653 views, 223 downloads.
  • GOA4: 3,049 PDF ebooks
  • Countries 4: 468 PDF ebooks
  • Subjects and Publishers: 355 PDF ebooks

GOAJ3: 2012-2017

  • The dataset: 1,971 views, 364 downloads
  • GOAJ3: 3,906 PDF ebooks
  • Countries: 1,215 PDF ebooks

GOA5 Progress

The data gathering is done. Normalization is done. I’m off to a good start on the main book (when it’s done, the dataset will also be uploaded).

My best guess is that I need 13 to 18 solid work days to finish it. But:

  • I’m having cataract surgery on June 4 and June 18. It’s not clear whether this and side-effects will keep me away from the computer two days, four days, or more.
  • Covid-19 and its effects are somewhat debilitating.
  • Flat-out murder and a so-called leader fanning the flames is a lot more debilitating. I used to live in a great country.

Anyway, given all that, I’d guess July is likely–when in July, well, depends on all of those. Perhaps mostly on the last, which is discouraging.

GOA5: Status and Questions

Monday, May 11th, 2020

As of today, I’ve completed the initial scan of 14,128 DOAJ-listed gold OA journals, the second scan (starting April 14) to pick up additional articles and do some follow-up, and a “pre-third” scan (starting April 29) to clear up as many problematic journals as possible. The final third scan will begin Friday, May 15, a deadline shared earlier, to see whether more malware and problematic cases have been cleared up. (There are 786 journals in that final scan, including around 140 malware cases where I was able to gather the data needed but am hoping that the malware will be cleared up.

Once that final scan is complete–around a week to ten days, barring other issues–I’ll start adding calculated data (e.g., 2019 journal revenue), then start in on the books. I’m still saying “July or maybe August” for completion, especially given the state of things (and some known causes of likely delay), but it’s possible that it could be done in late June. MODIFIED May 14: Things have opened up enough that I will be having cataract surgery during June, both eyes, two weeks apart. It’s likely that I’ll get either no work or very little work done on the project while resting my eyes…so don’t expect the books and dataset until late July or some time in August.

Oh, and if you’re wondering: almost certainly not more than 14,000 fully-analyzed journals (with articles later than 2013), but also certainly more than 800,000 articles for 2019, probably quite a bit more than 800,000.

Meanwhile, I’m looking at changes in the books/reports and would be delighted to get feedback (definitely before May 22, preferably by May 14) on a couple of issus. To wit:

  • Should I reduce the growth/shrinkage tables from seven rows to three? I did this for the Subject and Publisher book last year (which won’t be repeated due to lack of interest), using Grew 25% +, Even +/- 24.99%, and Shrank 25% + instead of the finer categories in the main book and Country book. My inclination is to make this change, but I’d love feedback.
  • Should I change the format to the Country style? Which is to say: drop the captions for tables and figures but add third-level headings with the same information. The differences are that headings appear above the tables and figures rather than below, that the tables and figures don’t have numbered captions (no “Table 10.43); that there’s some space savings; and that you don’t get commentary for one table appearing immediately above the next table. (A book designer would say that I’d also be violating a classic tenet, as many heading3 cases would appear without prior heading2 cases.) I can still create an index of the tables and figures, since the only heading3 instances would be these labels. [Page 57 of GOA4, the paragraph beginning “Table 7.11.,” is one case where the paragraph seems “attached” to the next table.] My inclination is also to make this change.
  • Should I move subject coverage to follow region coverage? Here, I don’t think there’s much choice, Since there is no Cites & Insights in which to provide expanded subject coverage, and since I believe it’s not enough to just provide three tables for each subject, and since ginormously long and complicated subject-group chapters seem absurd, I think the solution is to have what was Chapters 12-18 in GOA4 appear as Chapters 9-15 and have 31 subject chapters (three groups and 28 subjects) follow. Objections? Other suggestions?

I believe that’s it. There may be other tweaks, but for consistency the fee price ranges and article count ranges will be the same as in previous years.

Oh: if you’re wondering: no-fee journals are still right around 70% of all the journals, but the percentage of articles with fees seems to have gone up a bit, maybe crossing the 60% mark. In other words, on average fee-based journals have about twice as many articles as no-fee journals.

Responses welcome as comments here or as email to waltcrawford@gmail.com. Preferably by May 14, absolutely by May 22.

GOA: April 2020 update

Saturday, May 2nd, 2020


Readership for the new edition and GOAJ3.

All links available from the project home page, as always.

GOA4: 2013-2018

  • The dataset: 584 views, 106 downloads.
  • GOA4: 2,599 PDF ebooks
  • Countries 4: 461 PDF ebooks
  • Subjects and Publishers: 349 PDF ebooks [Note: based on an almost total lack of interest–two responses to repeated feedback requests, and only one of the two positive–there won’t be another subjects/publishers book.]

GOAJ3: 2012-2017

  • The dataset: 1,916 views, 358 downloads
  • GOAJ3: 3,843 PDF ebooks
  • Countries: 1,201 PDF ebooks