Archive for the ‘Cites & Insights’ Category

Cites & Insights: unclear when

Tuesday, March 13th, 2018

A brief non-status report on when the next issue of Cites & Insights might appear. I’d originally planned a slightly longer and perhaps more plaintive note, but circumstances argue for brevity.

The very short version: not dead, but there might not be an issue until Gold Open Access Journals 2012-2017 is complete, and that, in turn, might not be until June or maybe even July.

Why? Originally a combination of time pressures, lack of inspiration and some disappointment that my work on telling the truth about non-DOAJ OA journals and various lists has turned into a convenient checkmark for anti-OA articles, citing the earliest and least conclusive of several articles and essentially saying “There: We looked at the other side.” (According to Google Scholar, that 2014 piece has been cited 34 times–and not one of the other pieces has been cited at all.) (And let’s not even start on the fact that the fatally flawed but peer reviewed “420,000 predatory articles in 2014” nonsense continues to be The Accepted Story, with my carefully-done demonstration of the real numbers–about one-tenth to one-fourth as many, depending on assumptions–having no impact that I can determine, at least on the published literature.) But personal medical issues have added to that melange, making things even fuzzier.

The time pressure: GOAJ3, the new study, is turning out to take longer than expected (in the investigation phase) for at least three reasons:

  1. There are a lot of newly-added journals: 2,538 in all. Those take longer.
  2. Since there should be no journals with missing/hidden fee information, given DOAJ’s new requirements, I decided to check transparency along with verifying fee existence and amount: that is, to record whether it’s reasonably clear from a journal site whether there’s a fee and what it is, or whether you essentially need to rely on DOAJ. That’s going to be valuable information, I think, but it’s taking longer than expected.
  3. Life interferes with research, as it should, and that seems to be more the case this year. (Where 18 months ago I felt considerably younger than my chronological age, now I feel every day of 72.5 years..and this latest situation isn’t helping. Details unimportant, but old California hands might note that it relates to the initials/common name of one long-gone regional airline…)

I originally thought I’d be well enough along to pause the study in mid-February and do a short March issue (indeed, one essay’s ready and another’s half-done). That wasn’t true–and I found that I’d rather slog away at the journals thann write an issue. The next opportunity would be late March/early April, cross fingers, after completing the first pass and waiting at least two weeks before starting the second pass. That might still happen, but it might not

I know this may not be helpful. Sorry about that. Meanwhile, back to the hundreds of Universidad… journals.

Cites & Insights 18:1 (January 2018) available

Tuesday, December 19th, 2017

The January 2018 Cites & Insights (18:1) is now available for downloading at

The 48-page (6″ x 9″) issue includes:

The Front  pp. 1-2

Announcing the C&I Annual for 2017, the most booklike annual to date; why you should buy a copy and support C&I; and brief “plans” for the 2018 volume. (Note: there’s also a 20% sale on that annual and all other Lulu print books, good through December 25, 2017: use coupon code LULU20.)

Intersections: Open Access Issues  pp. 2-42

Issues other than economics and ethics (and “predatory” stuff), that is.

The Back: Audiophile System Prices, 2017  pp. 42-48

This annual feature–this time based on the October 2017 Stereophile–appears as a standalone The Back this time around. Did you know that you can assemble an audiophile-approved CD-only (and probably bass-shy) system for $624, a similar vinyl-only system for $874, or a more typical system with both CD and vinyl for $2,861–or, if you’re rolling in it, spend $853,688 (yes, that’s for a stereo system).


Cites & Insights 17 (2017) now available as paperback–and a brief sale

Friday, December 1st, 2017

Volume 17 of Cites & Insights is now available, including indexes, as a 492-page paperback.

Cites & Insights 17 Cover
The 6″ x 9″ trade paperback sells for $30, $15 of which goes to support Cites & Insights.

Brief sale: If you buy this book (or any other print books from Lulu by Monday, December 4, 2017, such as prior annual volumes), use the coupon code BOOKCALSAVE to save 10% on the price. (That savings does not reduce the $15–it’s a Lulu sale.)

If you care about gray OA–the gold OA journals that aren’t in DOAJ–you should buy this volume, as it includes the first (Gray OA 2012-2016) and probably the last (Gray OA 2014-2017) comprehensive studies of these journals–including an analysis of why the Shen/Bjork “420,000 2014 articles in predatory journals” is badly wrong, a case of sampling gone bad.

The volume also includes the subject supplement for GOAJ2; “The Art of the Beall”; “Gray OA Portraits” offering some notes on the “largest” gray OA publishers; economics and access; and a few non-OA essays as well.

Last year’s reduction of C&I Annual prices to $35 will continue indefinitely. (I haven’t updated the C&I Annuals page yet, so use the direct link to buy Volume 17.

In case it wasn’t obvious already: there will not be a December 2017 issue of Cites & Insights. The first 2018 issue might appear in December 2017–or it might not.

Priorities: Why C&I may not appear in December

Sunday, November 19th, 2017

See, here’s the thing…

My wife had surgery for degenerative arthritis on her left thumb joint about 10 days ago–much-needed surgery that involves replacing a bone with an extra tendon (did you know you have extra tendons in your arms?).

For a few weeks, that means her left hand’s essentially useless; for some time after that, it may be less useful. So, after she’s taken care of me for just shy of 40 years, I’m stepping up. (We’ve always done our own laundry, shared the household laundry, and done our own weekday meals & cleanup–but while most of my meals are quick & easy, hers are more healthful and involve more peeling and cutting and trimming and cleanup. Now, I’m doing as much of the prep work as requires two hands and all of the dishes, and providing help elsewhere when two hands are needed.)

I’m not complaining. If anything, it’s rewarding to know my work is directly benefiting one person I know & love rather than hoping it’s of some use to friends and strangers. But it does take up two or three hours a day, sometimes less, sometimes more.

Which reduces available writing time and energy to very little if any.

So…I have an essay with the source documents tagged for sections and the first 11 or 12 (out of 87, but that number always comes down during the process) handled. Including zero in the last four days. With additional doctor’s appointments and, oh yes, hosting Thanksgiving for the family (but at a restaurant), I don’t see the situation improving soon.

I haven’t made a final decision, but if my higher-priority stuff and the fun/reading I need to have continue to crowd out the essay, I’ll choose a point in December, massage the index for issues 1-10, publish the annual volume (the thickest ever, but that’s because it’s the first 6″ x 9″) and continue working on the essay for a January issue.

Of course, come January, a renewed project will take up much of my attention–GOAJ3 2012-2017, for those familiar with this. So C&I may continue to be even more erratic than usual (a comment that could apply to its editor/publisher/writer as well!). Not abandoned, not yet, but occasional.

Cites & Insights 17.10 (November 2017) available

Wednesday, November 1st, 2017

The most colorful issue of Cites & Insights to date, November 2017, is now available for downloading at

This 36-page (6×9″) issue includes two essays:

Intersections: Gray Portraits  pp. 1-26

A brief portrait of each of the 29 publishers and “publishers” with 100 or more journals and “journals” in Gray OA 2014-2017. You can draw your own conclusions as to whether 12 of the “largest” 14 (and 13 of the 29) are different “publishers” or one “publisher” with many aliases.

Social Networks: Remember Facebook?  pp. 27-36

A roundup of Facebook-related items from four to seven years ago, which may or may not be of any interest now.

Cites & Insights October 2017 available: Gray OA 2014-2017

Sunday, October 15th, 2017

Gray OA 2014-2017: A Partial Followup, the October 2017 Cites & Insights (17.9), is now available for downloading at

The single-essay issue is 42 pages long (38 numbered pages).

It updates article-count and status-code information (but not APC/fee information) for gray OA journals not in DOAJ, adding full-year 2016 article counts and January-June 2017 counts, doubled for ease of comparisons. Journals in Gray OA 2012-2016 that have been added to DOAJ have been removed from the new report.

Cites & Insights: September 2017 issue (17:8) available

Thursday, September 14th, 2017

The September 2017 issue of Cites & Insights (17:8) is now available for downloading at

A very personal and very short issue (12 6″ x 9″ pages) includes two essays:

The Front: Maybe I’m Doing it Wrong  pp. 1-4

Hat-tip to Randy Newman for the title, and–although this was written over the weekend and it’s not referred to in the essay, even indirectly–to CHE for once again making my point.

Perspective: Where I Stand: OA, “Predatory,” Blacklists, the Bealllists and Thought Leadership  pp. 4-12

That’s not even the full title. There’s a subtitle, “or why 140 characters is less than 1% of what I need to say about this cluster of topics,” which relates to the Twitter “conversation” that resulted in this somewhat-redundant commentary being written.

Enjoy. Or not.

Modified 9:10 a.m. to fix link-ruining typo. Thanks, Linda Ueki Absher

Cites & Insights 17.7 (August 2017) available

Sunday, July 30th, 2017

The August 2017 Cites & Insights (volume 17, issue 7) is now available for downloading at https://citesandinsights,info/civ17i7.pdf

The 32-page (6″ x 9″, designed for online/tablet reading) issue includes:

The Front: The Summer Issues  pp. 1-2

An ode to stone fruit season and a note on lack of deeper significance.

Media: Mystery Collection, Part 8  pp. 2-16

Three years in the making, this set of mini-reviews covers discs 43 through 48 of the 250-movie collection.

The Back  pp. 17-31

Audio oddities: catching up with almost a year’s worth of peculiarities–plus a tally of International Journals of Stuff.

What’s that you say? What’s on page 32? Overhead: the ongoing nearly-pointless “Pay What You Wish” and the masthead. The last page is short, and I chose not to write a couple of paragraphs to pad it.

Cites & Insights 17:6 (July 2017) available

Saturday, July 1st, 2017

The July 2017 Cites & Insights (17:6) is now available for downloading at

This 60-page (6″ x 9″) issue consists of one essay:

Intersections: Economics and Access 2017  pp. 1-60

A roundup of various items relating to the cost, price, fees and other aspects of scholarly journals, with an emphasis on open access.

Cites & Insights 17.5 available: GOAJ Subject Supplement

Tuesday, June 6th, 2017

Cites & Insights 17.5 (June 2017) is now available for downloading at

The 84-page issue (6″ x 9″ pages designed for online/device reading) includes:

The Front: The Countries of OAWorld 2: 2011-2016  pp. 1-11

Announcing The Countries of OAWorld 2: 2011-2016 (links at the usual place) and adding some comments on the cover–specifically, a copy of the heatmap, a table with the data used for the heatmap (combined 2015-2016 OAWorld articles per 100,000 population of each country), and another heatmap and table including APCLand articles (which mostly boosts Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands to three of the top four spots).

Intersections: Subject Supplement to GOAJ2  pp. 11-84

There won’t be a separate paperback and PDF for subjects this year; this long article expands the one-page-per-subject coverage in GOAJ2 itself, adding up to six more tables and two graphs for each subject.