Author Archive

GOA: Seven years of fee/cost increases

Thursday, September 22nd, 2022

To start a new series of GOA comments here and on the GOAJwcc Twitter account, here’s a table that isn’t directly available in any GOA edition because it combines figures from all seven. To wit, the growth in average article fee (for articles in fee-charging journals), average article cost (which includes all DOAJ journals), and plausible total revenue.

Here’s the table:

Year Average fee Increase Cum Inc Revenue ($K) Increase Cum Inc Average cost Increase Cum Inc
2015 $1,192 $376,733 $665
2016 $1,407 18% 18% $419,887 11% 11% $803 21% 21%
2017 $1,557 11% 31% $493,242 17% 31% $876 9% 32%
2018 $1,569 1% 32% $649,415 32% 72% $913 4% 37%
2019 $1,673 7% 40% $873,263 34% 132% $1,023 12% 54%
2020 $1,848 10% 55% $1,277,135 46% 239% $1,203 18% 81%
2021 $1,997 8% 68% $1,752,551 37% 365% $1,374 14% 107%

Note that “Average fee” includes all journals that charge some sort of fee (usually APCs, but also submission and membership fees) while “Average cost” includes all articles in DOAJ-listed journals. The average is always weighted: all likely fees divided by all articles.

Note that the year-to-year increases in average fees are, while almost always higher than inflation, not typically outrageous. The huge numbers are the overall revenue increases, because most article growth in gold OA has been in fee-charging journals.

GOA7: September 8, 2021 stats–and a note on GOA8

Thursday, September 8th, 2022

As of September  8, 2022, as far as I can tell:


  • Overall report: 258 PDF copies (no books)
  • Countries: 53 PDF copies (no books)
  • Dataset: 126 views, 24 downloads


  • Overall report: 2,342 PDF copies (no books other than my copy)
  • Countries: 282 PDF (no books)
  • Dataset: 677 views, 112 downloads

Toward GOA8?

I’ve received from quite helpful feedback on how GOA7 is being used. I could use more (, and comments here will be open for two weeks). Of course, I’d love to see one or two purchases of the books: I believe they’re the best way to look at what the study is all about, and they’re essentially priced at production cost. All data and books have links at

Should there be a Gold Open Access 8?

Tuesday, August 16th, 2022

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.

GOA7: August 3 statistics update

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2022
As of August 3, 2022, as far as I can tell:


  • Overall report: 178 PDF copies (no books)
  • Countries: 15 PDF copies (no books)
  • Dataset: 84 views, 16 downloads


  • Overall report: 1,946 PDF copies (no books other than my copy)
  • Countries: 239 PDF (no books)
  • Dataset: 638 views, 106 downloads

GOA7: Usage Statistics

Friday, July 1st, 2022
As of July 1, 2022, as far as I can tell:


  • Overall report: 115 PDF copies (no books)
  • Countries: 8 PDF copies (no books)
  • Dataset: 57 views, 11 downloads


  • Overall report: 1,928 PDF copies (no books other than my copy)
  • Countries: 223 PDF (no books)
  • Dataset: 602 views, 104 downloads

Gold Open Access by Country 2016-2021 is out

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2022

Gold Open Access by Country 2016-2021: The Long Tail is now available as a free PDF ebook or a $7.50 trade paperback.

As always, links to the PDF and to the paperback are at

I’ll have more to say about it later, probably. For now, I’ll say that focusing on the long tail offers what I regard as a more realistic view of where OA is happening, by excluding the “big eleven” megapublishers. [For one example: including all publishers, Switzerland is by far the largest source of OA articles and Brazil is fourth; for the long tail, Brazil is first, Indonesia is fourth, and Switzerland is 32nd. The UK and US are 2nd and 3rd in both cases–but the US is second in the long tail, while the UK is second including all publishers. For another: the average cost per article is $1,374 for all publishers and $336 for the long tail.]

No graphs, a ridiculous number of tables, 259 pages on 60lb. cream paper, with what may finally be an interesting heatmap on the front cover.

Doing another project this year?

Saturday, June 4th, 2022

I’ll be done with GOA7 in a few more weeks (late June or early July barring major surprises), and will probably spend a few months reading a lot more, watching a little more TV, possibly dealing with some household and personal maintenance issues, and determining whether to propose GOA8.

That last depends on whether I believe I can do a good job (am up to it mentally, physically, and in terms of other demands), whether it still seems to be valuable, and whether I’d still have funding.

Meanwhile–let’s say in the time between July 15 and December 15–I could take on another project, if there was one that made sense for all concerned. That is: something where my remaining skills would yield worthwhile results, that wouldn’t be stepping on Proper (Paper-Oriented) Research, that would be financially supported, and would interest me.

I don’t know what that might be, if anything, but thought I’d put it out there. I thought about investigating the “rest of ROAD,” that is, what are all those other OA journals, why aren’t they in DOAJ, do they publish a lot of articles…etc, But ROAD doesn’t appear to have downloadable metadata, and I’m not sure where such a project would lead.

That’s one example. There might be others. If you’re interested, get in touch ( I won’t be holding my breath.

GOA7: It’s out!

Monday, May 30th, 2022

I’m pleased to announce publication of the first three of four deliverables for Gold Open Access 2016-2021: Articles in Journals (GOA7).

The color paperback is available for $10.50 US$, and comparable amounts in other currencies supported by Lulu. The link’s a little long, but going to and searching goa7 will get you right to the page. (Here’s the link: ) I profit by anywhere from $0,10 to $0.60 depending on what currency you use (sorry, Canadians).

The pdf–exactly the same body content as the book, but preceded by the front and back covers–is available for free from my website.

The spreadsheet is available at Figshare, but you can also download it from my website.

These are all CC-BY licensed: do what you wish with them, as long as you name the source–and it’s kind to point people to the originals, so I have some idea of usage.

[I’d love to see a few copies of the paperback sold–and I’m almost a bit surprised that some i-school or library school that cares about OA doesn’t have a set of these studies, but that’s just ego on my part, I guess.]

All of these links, and links to all past studies, are at

The fourth piece? (Gold Open Access by Country 2016-2021: The Long Tail) I’ll be starting on that later this week. The next post on this blog asks pertinent questions about that study.

Gold Open Access by Country: two quick questions

Sunday, May 29th, 2022

[UPDATE June 3, 2022: No responses were received here. Two responses were received to a shorter related tweetstream. Neither response convinced me that either table is particularly useful in the Country book, and they won’t be included there. The data remains, and I’ll probably retain it in future datasets if any.]

I’m close to finishing GOA7 and thinking about the country book. I have two questions. Responses (email or comment) by May 2 would be most helpful. (Relatively few people download the country books, but I’m hoping…)

1. Are the starting-date tables useful?

They’re already tables with five broad date ranges rather than graphs with two-year increments, but I wonder whether they serve any purpose at all.

[Inclination: to remove them.]

2. Are the publisher category tables useful?

This is especially a question given that this country book excludes the Big 11–but then, the fact that the Big 11 include one society, two universities, and two OA publishers along with six traditional publishers–and that one OA publisher now has more articles and revenue than the biggest traditional publishing group, which swallowed up at least two OA publishers–make me really question the usefulness of these tables.

I’m going to be asking that second question about GOA8 as well (if there is one).

In this case–for future GOA editions, if any–dropping the tables would also mean dropping the PubCat column, but not publisher names.

[Inclination: to remove them.]

Removing both may reduce the book size slightly, by making it possible to do more two-page profiles, and will leave a bit more room for commentary in other cases.

Let me know what you think. If you’re not aware that the country books exist, well, that’s a different issue.

GOA6: Usage Update

Wednesday, May 25th, 2022

As of May 26, 2022, as far as I can tell:


  • Overall report: 1,457 PDF copies (no books other than my copy)
  • Countries: 205 PDF (no books)
  • Dataset: 553 views, 94 downloads


  • Overall report: 1,034 copies (two books)
  • Countries: 253 copies (no books)
  • Dataset: 1246 views, 172 downloads

GOA7 should be out within the next two weeks. I’ll stop tracking GOA5 at the end of the summer.