Archive for the ‘Cites & Insights’ Category

Final two issues of C&I delayed, future uncertain

Friday, November 29th, 2019

I had planned to release the December issue of C&I around now–and the final issue near the end of December 2019.

An eleven-night stay in the hospital (sepsis/staph, to be followed by six weeks of daily antibiotic injections and some period of draining) changed all that.

Based on energy and more important matters, the final issues will probably get done. Eventually. The spirit is good, but needing to keep legs elevated a third of thetime, and still not-quite-back-to-normal energy, and being homebound…isn’t helping.

Beyond that, I now learn that my web host is shutting down in a few months, and have to figure out, how, where, or whether to move this blog (tricky because the sitename is based on a domain that’s presumably going away), (where I feel obliged to retain some pages/pointers related to the GOA project for a few years), and C&I (which I’d planned to retain for three years).

Anyway: I’m not dead yet. We shall see what happens.

Cites & Insights 19.7 (November 2019) available

Thursday, October 24th, 2019

The penultimate or, more probably, antepenultimate issue of Cites & Insights, to wit Volume 19 Number 7 (November 2019), is now available for downloading at

This 44-page issue contains two essays:

Intersections: What’s the Big Deal? pp. 1-34

Most of this is about one particular Big Deal, and the heading for that section (actually three sections) should be a clue: Fiat Lux.

The Back pp. 34-44

The final set of little snarky items about a range of things–including a small set of updates on audiophile-approved system prices. The short version: leaving out digital sources and cables, you can get an audiophile-approved system (with speakers and turntable) for as little as $750…or as much as $694,000. For that matter, if you want a Class A (the best, price no object) system and $694,000 seems a bit steep, you can get by for $21,600.

Cites & Insights 19:6 (October 2019) available

Tuesday, October 1st, 2019

Cites & Insights 19:6 (October 2019) is now available for downloading at

The 39-page issue consists of a single essay

Intersections: Preditorials and Other Questionable Items pp. 1-39

In what’s probably the last C&I essay on The Lists and so-called “predatory” publishing, this roundup begins with a look at a few of the many preditorials–my neologism (or portmanteau) for editorials and other commentaries based on the notions that The Lists are infallible and that “predatory” publishing is undermining scholarly communications. The rest of the roundup deals with related issues.

This may or may not be the antepenultimate issue of C&I (The Limelighters will never die…); even if–as seems likely given the volume of comments received–C&I disappears at the end of Volume 19, there might be one final farewell issue.

Cites & Insights 19:5 (September 2019) available

Thursday, September 5th, 2019

The September 2019 issue of Cites & Insights (19:5) is now available for downloading at

The 28-page issue–probably the last one that does not feature OA–includes:

The Front pp. 1-4

Two little essays: Why I’m not pursuing an analysis of ROAD, and “should C&I be saved?”

The Middle pp. 4-12

Nine items that didn’t fit elsewhere and don’t deserve the snarky treatment of The Back.


A range of tech-related items, some mostly nostalgia, some still relevant.

Cites & Insights 19:4 (August 2019) Available

Tuesday, August 13th, 2019

Cites & Insights 19:4 (August 2019) is now available for downloading at

The 42-page issue consists of a single essay:

Intersections: Open Access Issues pp. 1-42

Thirty-odd items in six subtopic groups, not including items for future roundups (“preditorials,” colors and licenses, DOAJ, and Big Deals including the UC/BigE situation).

Cites & Insights 19:3 (July 2019) available

Friday, July 19th, 2019

The July 2019 Cites & Insights (19:3) is now available for downloading at

This 48-page issue includes the following:

Policy: A Copyright Miscellany pp. 1-33

Four years of items on First Sale, Public Domain and CC0, Piracy and Nostalgia.

The Back pp. 33-48

A year’s worth of audiofollies and a variety of other items from 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Cites & Insights June 2019 (19:2) available

Tuesday, June 25th, 2019

The June 2019 Cites & Insights (19:2) is now available at

The 72-page issue includes:

The Front: Some Notes on GOA4 pp. 1-12

A discussion of the new Key Facts tables, and a much longer discussion of how I use pivot tables in a template to make it possible to produce all three books from GOA4 within a few weeks after finishing the data gathering.

Intersections: Economics and Access 2019 pp. 12-72

Probably the last Economics and Access roundup, since 2019 is probably the last year for Cites & Insights.

Why is this a very late June 2019 issue rather than a slightly early July 2019 issue? Because I don’t know how many issues it will take to shut things down nicely. This gives me a little flexibility.

What would it take to keep C&I going, I hear almost nobody asking?

  • A lot more readership
  • Some useful feedback
  • Perhaps some sales of the annual paperback issues
  • And, of course, some sense that it still matters to hundreds of people.

I do plan to keep the GOA series going as long as SPARC finds it worth supporting and I believe I can do it well. I also plan to keep this blog going for a while–and I continue to be active on Facebook, Twitter and Mokum.

If plans do not change, I’ll keep the Cites & Insights site up for at least two years after the final edition of GOA or the final issue of C&I, whichever comes last. (And up for at least that long.)

GOAJ3: February 2019 update

Thursday, February 28th, 2019

Readership figures for GOAJ3 (unfortunately missing most of today, 2/28, and the last day of each month)–and, for now, I’ll keep reporting on GOAJ2 as well.

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

GOAJ3: 2012-2017

  • The dataset: 959 views, 141 downloads
  • GOAJ3: 2,840 PDF ebooks + 237 copies of first few chapters (C&I 18.3)
  • Countries: 873 PDF ebooks
  • Subject supplement (C&I 18.4): 296 downloads
  • No paperbacks

GOAJ2: 2011-2016

  • The dataset: 695 views, 129 downloads.
  • GOAJ2: 2,459 PDF ebooks (and two paperbacks), plus 1,390 copies of chapters 1-7 (C&I 17.4)
  • Countries: 1,064 PDF ebooks (no paperbacks)
  • Subject supplement (C&I 17.5): 2,047 copies

Gray OA

OA and Malware: A halfway post

Friday, February 8th, 2019

You might think of this as a really tiny issue of Cites & Insights–and it’s the only one you’ll see in February or, almost certainly, March.

I’m roughly halfway through the initial scan of DOAJ journals for GOAJ4: Gold Open Access Journals 2013-2018 (“roughly”: I’ve done 6,000 and have 6,415 left to do). Seemed like a good point to pause, save off the first 6,000 (so I can save the “done” spreadsheet faster–in a second instead of two or three) and comment on a few things.

Malware So Far, Everybody Else

See this post: nearly all malware cases, including all from Indonesia and Malaysia, have been fixed.

Still Avoiding PlanS

In the October 2018 Cites & Insights, one of a group of small essays was titled “One I Do Not Plan to Cover,” explaining why I was ignoring PlanS (at least for the moment)–not even tagging items for later discussion.

Briefly, the reasons were that too much was being written for me to follow; that it’s European and I’m not; that I don’t know that I understand all the issues; that I’ve never published in APC-based OA journals (or in any peer-reviewed journals in quite a while); that I was seeing growing honesty from scholars of a sort I found disheartening; and that there was stuff about “academic freedom”that struck me as remarkable.

All those reasons are still valid, especially the penultimate one–and there’s another one that I predicted to myself and wanted to avoid.

That last one: I suspected the long knives would come out in force, attempting in various ways to undermine serious OA or any attempts to upset the current regime. That was a pretty safe prediction, to be sure…

As to the penultimate one: We’re seeing a lot of the Yabbuts come out: That is, “Oh, I’m all for OA, but...” Pretty much like “Some of my best friends are X, but…”

I suspect that around 705-80% of scholars-who-publish just don’t care (or in some cases know) about OA as something that affects them. They have their access, coming out of the library’s budget (aka Somebody Else’s Problem) and they don’t much care about wider distribution for their scholarship–as long as it gets cited and/or helps them get promoted.

I don’t think there’s anything new about the Yabbuts. I do think they’ve been made aware that something serious might actually happen, making the BUT more important.

There’s also another reason I’m staying away: I haven’t read PlanS, and from what I’ve been unable to avoid hearing about it, I suspect I wouldn’t be wholly in favor (e.g., provisions that effectively make it unfeasible for the thousands of very small academic and society journals with no formal funding) to keep going. And since I haven’t read the thing, I may be wrong…

So I’m staying away.

Really Unfortunate, If True

One final and somewhat blind note. I tagged an article that, if I didn’t misunderstand it in a brief skim, seemed to be seriously suggesting that one retired librarian should determine what articles should be included in review articles, and specifically biomed articles. Oh, not in those words, but arguing that articles in “predatory” journals–defined only by reference to The Lists–shouldn’t be included in review articles.

If I read it correctly, this is appalling. Here’s a counter proposal: no articles in any journal published by a publisher with an article that’s probably caused more lost lives (and recurrence of supposedly-obliterated diseases!) than all articles in Listed journals put together should be considered for reviews. Whoops: There goes 10% of the literature.

And, of course, I don’t really believe all Elsevier journals should be tarred because of one article that The Lancet took a long time–twelve years–to fully retract. That would be like smearing thousands of articles and hundreds of journals because one person thinks one of the journals looks bad, without providing any reason. Which is, of course, the whole thing with The Lists. [You can read a pretty good summation of the killer-article history in Wikipedia.)

Now I see that the Master of the Lists is writing for THE (Tabloid on Higher Education? I may have that wrong). And far too many people still treat the lists as significant.


Enough of this. Back to the journal scan: 9,415 left to go.

C&I readership in 2018

Monday, December 31st, 2018

Since there may not be another Cites & Insights for several months, I thought I’d do a quick wrapup of C&I readership for 2018–noting, as always, that counts are typically about 3% low (because all but the first five hours of the last day of each month are missing).

It hasn’t been a great year: only two issues so far have cleared the 1,000-download mark, and only one the 2,000-download. Oddly enough, the subject supplement to GOAJ3 was not one of them–and, in fact, has done very poorly. Month-to-month trends suggest that shutting down C&I may be happening on its own, little by little–but, including the oddity that every single issue gets some downloads each month (an oddity that makes me wonder whether some of those hits are crawlers that the statistics package fails to recognize as such), there were 150,223 downloads over the course of the year.

Here are the 2018 issues sorted by downloads:

civ18i2.pdf2,268Writing, Wikipedia
civ18i1.pdf1,716OA issues, audio prices
civ18i7.pdf427audio prices, small essays
civ18i5.pdf260futurism, GOAJ commentary
civ18i4.pdf259GOAJ3 subject supplement
civ18i3.pdf201GOAJ3 ch, 1-7
civ18i9.pdf137books and media

Top issues by 2018 downloads

These issues had at least 1,600 downloads in 2018 (including counts for “on” versions):

civ17i1.pdf3,233gray OA 2012-2016
civ14i7.pdf2,239investigating the lists
civ14i4.pdf2,173the sad case of jeffrey beall
civ13i3.pdf1,985acad. Library circ/
civ16i1.pdf1,971ppppread. Article counts
civ12i4.pdf1,930futurism, public library closures
civ12i3.pdf1,872public library closures
civ13i10.pdf1,842books and library ROI
civ12i11.pdf1,670Google book settlement
civ12i5.pdf1,638fair use

Top issues, 2015-2018

These issues have had at least 7,000 downloads since 2015 (including counts for “on” versions but not individual articles):

civ14i4.pdf21,781the sad case of jeffrey beall
civ14i7.pdf12,564investigating the lists
civ10i8.pdf10,321books and publishing
civ12i2.pdf9,153social networks, misc.
civ15i9.pdf7,068gold oa 2011-2014
civ14i5.pdf7,036ethics and access: the “sting”