Archive for the ‘open access’ Category

Malware in Gold Open Access Journals 2018: Part 3, Romania

Monday, January 21st, 2019

In last year’s study, Romania had around 290 OA journals, of which eleven had malware–but two of those had the kind of “outbound malware” that didn’t prevent analysis.

This time around, there are around 320–of which 13 have malware. That includes all eleven from last year (I don’t try workarounds until a third pass), so there’s been no improvement.

This Google Sheet shows the 13, arranged by publisher. Note that six journals are from one university (with three publisher names) and four are from another.

Because the “XX” rows (journals not available for other reasons) weren’t interspersed with the same publishers, there’s no reason to believe they’re related, so I’ve only included XM/Malware.

I’ll contact DOAJ (as I did with the Indonesia list and will do with Brazil, probably next week), in the hopes that their contacts can get these squared away. It’s not reasonable for an OA journal to threaten the computers used to access it.

The spreadsheet link again:

Malware in Gold Open Access Journals 2018: Part 2, Malaysia

Sunday, January 20th, 2019

This one’s all good news. That’s why I’m reporting it separately, instead of grouping it with Romania (which I haven’t processed yet).

To wit: in last year’s study, Malaysia had nine instances of malware along with 32 journals reported fully.

This year, with quite a few more journals–63 in all–I encountered no (zero) cases of malware. That isn’t because last year’s infected journals disappeared: they were all there, but none had malware.

So these things can be fixed. Malaysia’s gold OA publishers show that.

Malware in Gold Open Access Journals 2018: Part 1, Indonesia

Friday, January 18th, 2019

When I prepared GOAJ3: Gold Open Access Journals 2012-2017, I found an unfortunately large number of OA journals that Malwarebytes Pro flagged as being or calling to malware–and most of the problems were in Indonesia, with significant numbers as well in Brazil, Malaysia and Romania. I reported on those issues and alerted DOAJ; some of them were fixed before I did the final check of problematic journals.

I was hoping that this year’s scan (which began January 3) would find most of these problems fixed–but within the first 1,500 journals, there were still a significant number of malware hits from Indonesia and a few others.

So, in the interest of seeing if these problems can be fixed, I detoured from my normal testing order (alphabetic by publisher) to finish the four problematic countries first.

I’ve now finished the scan of Indonesia’s gold OA journals–1,373 of them. Unfortunately, what was a widespread problem last year (in the end, 136 infected journal sites) is now even worse, with 198 journals flagged as malware (and another 88 that were unreachable, many of which may also be malware).

The good news is that 55 of the problematic journals in 2017 are now OK. The bad news is that 145 previously-OK journals are now infected (usually at the domain level–that is, before the slash) or otherwise unreachable, as are 556 newly-added journals.

Almost all of these–all but six–are published by universities, Five universities account for 106 of them.

I will retest all malware-infested and unreachable journals after the overall scan is complete, but no earlier than April 15. I’m hoping that many (all?) of these will be fixed.

I’ve made a Google Sheets spreadsheet of the problematic journals available at

The spreadsheet is arranged by publisher, and interleaves XX (other problems) and XM (malware). For XX, most journals have a note describing the problem–e.g., “dns” for server resolution problems, “refused” for refusal to connect, “db” for database failures.

I’ll post either one or two separate notes and spreadsheets after scanning Malaysia and Romania (which should be done within the week) and Brazil (a HUGE set of journals with very few problems), which should be done in early February. NOTE: Make that three more notes, but at most two more spreadsheets. I’ve finished scanning Malaysia’s OA journals, and as discussed here, it’s all good news: there were no malware infections.

Note: a few of the XM journals have second-level malware: outbound calls that Malwarebytes Pro prevents from occurring while leaving the joiurnal’s home page available. That’s still dangerous if you’re not using really good malware prevention, but I’ll code these differently in the second pass.

Also note: a few (dozen?) journals have a different issue that Malwarebytes Pro did NOT flag, and I didn’t penalize them: the first time you click on any menu item, an ad pops up, but then it’s OK. Except for one case, the ad’s always the same: an English-language free dating service. These popovers (the ad takes up the whole window) should be eradicated and represent sloppy software security, but they fall into a different category.

If you know of folks in Indonesia who might be able to fix these security issues, please pass this on. The spreadsheet, once again, is at

GOAJ3: December 2018 report

Monday, December 31st, 2018

Readership figures for GOAJ3 (unfortunately missing most of today, 12/31, 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: 862 views, 123 downloads
  • GOAJ3: 2,540 PDF ebooks + 201 copies of first few chapters (C&I 18.3)
  • Countries: 782 PDF ebooks
  • Subject supplement (C&I 18.4): 259 downloads
  • No paperbacks

GOAJ2: 2011-2016

  • The dataset: 667 views, 125 downloads.
  • GOAJ2: 2,403 PDF ebooks (and two paperbacks), plus 1,378 copies of chapters 1-7 (C&I 17.4)
  • Countries: 1,026 PDF ebooks (no paperbacks)
  • Subject supplement (C&I 17.5): 2,027 copies

Gray OA

Diminished Online Presence in Early 2019

Sunday, December 30th, 2018

Apologies in advance to Twitter folks I mute or unfollow and to Facebook “friends” I unfriend. I’m reducing the flow of online input, while trying to retain some library, open access, family, literature and political stiff–for a reason that should be obvious to anyone following my stuff.

For the same reason, I won’t be posting much here (not that I do anyway), and Cites & Insights may disappear or have mini-issues for a few months.

The Reason: GOAJ4

The reason is GOAJ4: Gold Open Access Journals 2013-2018, which I’ll start visiting journals for around January 2 or 3. There are nearly 12,400 journals to visit (12,378 as of December 18; I won’t know how many more until late tomorrow), more than 1,500 more than the last time around.

It’s neither the largest nor the most difficult of these surveys, but it’s by far the largest for serious OA journals. (The largest was the survey of “grey” OA, which involved more than 18,000 journal titles–most of them empty. The most difficult was probably the first DOAJ-based study, since everything had to be done from scratch, but that was spread over more than a year.)

To get the research done in a reasonable amount of time, so I can move on to the fun stuff (analyzing the data and producing the reports), I have to spend less time elsewhere, and “social media” is the obvious candidate.

In other words: it may not be you; it may be GOAJ.

Visibility: One last time

Monday, December 3rd, 2018

I need to decide whether to include a more granular Visibility measure in GOAJ4: Gold Open Access Journals 2013-2018 or whether to drop the measure altogether.

Here’s the discussion of the measure and the choices.

Comments are open for two weeks. If comments between now and December 16 are the same as they’ve been so far–that is, nonexistent–I will take absence of evidence to be evidence of absence: that nobody cares about the measure.

In which case I’ll drop it, to save some work, one spreadsheet column and a few pages in the books.

Comments can go here or directly to

GOAJ3: November 2018 report

Friday, November 30th, 2018

Readership figures for GOAJ3 (unfortunately missing most of today, 11/30, 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: 761 views, 97 downloads
  • GOAJ3: 2,466 PDF ebooks + 186 copies of first few chapters (C&I 18.3)
  • Countries: 737 PDF ebooks
  • Subject supplement (C&I 18.4): 241 downloads
  • No paperbacks

GOAJ2: 2011-2016

  • The dataset: 642 views, 119 downloads.
  • GOAJ2: 2,345 PDF ebooks (and two paperbacks), plus 1,359 copies of chapters 1-7 (C&I 17.4)
  • Countries: 967 PDF ebooks (no paperbacks)
  • Subject supplement (C&I 17.5): 1,998 copies

Gray OA


Visibility: The remaining GOAJ4 question

Thursday, November 15th, 2018

There’s still one open question for GOAJ4: Should I retain and expand the Visibility measure introduced in GOAJ3, or is it a waste of time?

Here’s an excerpt from GOAJ3 that says what I meant by Visibility:


Fee/APC Free % Pay %
Visible 5,982 83.5% 2,981 95.7%
Obscure 1,184 16.5% 133 4.3%

Table 1.6. Visibility, overall

Table 1.6 offers a crude measure of the transparency of a journal’s fee status and amount (that is: is there a fee at all, and if so, how much?). “Visible” is perhaps too generous, including cases where the information is buried within a paragraph somewhere in journal information or requires linking out to a master table. “Obscure” means I was unable to locate clear text (not saying there is a fee is not the same as saying there is no fee!) on the journal’s site—and if there was a link back from DOAJ, checking the link did not yield clear text. There’s an unfortunately high percentage of obscurity among free (no-fee) journals.

I included Visibility tables for each region and each subject group.

If I keep Visibility (or Transparency, which may be a better name for it) in GOAJ4, it would be a more granular measure, probably very much like this

  • 4. Transparent: Whether the journal has a fee (APC or otherwise) and the amount of that fee is either on the home page or in an obvious location no more than one click away.
  • 3. Fairly transparent: No more than three (or four?) clicks away from the home page, and in a reasonably clear location, and not buried within text.
  • 2. Somewhat obscure: Buried within text, or misleading (e.g., a big obvious statement that there are no submission fees, with a note at the end of a discussion that there are acceptance fees), or requires going to another site or opening a PDF or spreadsheet–but still findable within a reasonable time. Journals that require membership and don’t link that requirement to a clear statement of membership dues fall into this category.
  • 1. Obscure: Hidden so well that I had to rely on DOAJ’s information, but at least following the link in DOAJ yielded a page with the information.
  • 0. Hidden or missing: Like 1, but either there is no link back from DOAJ or that link does not yield the information. In earlier volumes, such journals would be excluded for missing or hidden APCs. (That is, before DOAJ required APC information.)

So: worth it or not? Comments open for two weeks…

Toward GOAJ4: Some questions resolved, one still open

Thursday, November 15th, 2018

First off, an announcement: there will be a GOAJ4: Gold Open Access Journals 2013-2018, and its companion Gold Open Access by Country 2013-2018. The first should be out around July 2019 (health, etc, permitting); the second, a few weeks later. There will also probably be a single-essay issue of Cites & Insights offering a subject supplement. Thanks again to SPARC for continuing to sponsor this. GOAJ4 will cover journals in the Directory of Open Access Journals as of early January 1, 2019 (that is, I’ll download the spreadsheet mid-afternoon on December 31; DOAJ uses UMT.

Second, I have received some feedback on questions I posed in the subject supplement to GOAJ3 and again in two posts here. The bulleted questions follow, with the resolutions as unindented paragraphs. It’s fair to say that one principal I ended up following was to retain consistency unless there was a good reason to change, especially since I plan to include some four-year discussions (that is, how the current state of the DOAJ universe changed over the years(.

  • Would it make more sense to categorize journal sizes based on the latest year’s volume, rather than the peak article volume over the six-year period?

I’ll retain peak article volume to categorize journal sizes.

  • Does the split between APCLand and OAWorld (used this year in GOAJ3 and this subject supplement, but not in Gold Open Access Journals by Country 2012-2017) make sense, or is it a distraction?

While I will still have a chapter on APCLand and OAWorld and note the differences as appropriate, the Country book will not make the distinction (true for the most recent version) and region chapters will probably focus primarily on overall patterns.

  • For GOAJ3 itself, is the Visibility measure useless, or should I either retain it or even expand it to a more granular measure?

This one’s still open. I’ll either drop it or make it more granular. A separate post will be forthcoming.

  • For subject segments, should Psychology be lumped into Medicine, and should Anthropology be treated as part of STEM?

After discussions with a number of sources, I’ll keep both subjects in Humanities and Social Sciences.

  • Do the publisher categories provide useful information?

I’ll keep them for now.

  • For country listings, should I continue to use names as provided in DOAJ or normalize to shorter forms used in Wikipedia and elsewhere—that is, Iran, Taiwan, Russia, Macedonia, Moldova, Bolivia and Venezuela? If so, what forms should I use for the Republic of Korea (South Korea?) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo?

In this case, it seems clearly advantageous to use the shorter and more common forms. Still not sure what to do about the Democratic Republic of the Congo–perhaps Congo (DRC) or Congo, Dem. Rep.? Feedback welcome.

  • Should the graph of free and pay articles by year be replaced by or supplemented with a table with the same data as numbers?

No feedback received. I’ll keep the graph for consistency.

  • How about commentary? Last year’s subject supplement included my brief comments about what seemed most interesting in each subject’s tables—but the room left by removing commentary means that [the 2012-2017] subject supplement offers more complete country lists, going down to 20 articles for all subjects except Medicine.

I’ll add some commentary.

  • Similarly, the last two country-oriented publications have eschewed commentary in order to avoid even longer/larger publications. Would you like to see commentary restored?

I’ll add some commentary, which may make the Country book even larger (but since nobody but me seems to want a print copy, the likely rise to as much as $8 or $9 for a copy may be irrelevant).

  • [Added at 4:40 pm] Or should I keep things as much like the 2012-2017 version as possible, to allow direct comparisons?

That’s generally the principal I’ve followed.

GOAJ3: October 2018 report

Wednesday, October 31st, 2018

Readership figures for GOAJ3 (unfortunately missing most of today, 10/31, 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: 678 views, 84 downloads
  • GOAJ3: 2,348 PDF ebooks + 170 copies of first few chapters (C&I 18.3)
  • Countries: 680 PDF ebooks
  • Subject supplement (C&I 18.4): 222 downloads
  • No paperbacks

Goaj2: 2011-2016

  • The dataset: 598 views, 114 downloads.
  • GOAJ2: 2,315 PDF ebooks (and two paperbacks), plus 1,339 copies of chapters 1-7 (C&I 17.4)
  • Countries: 923 PDF ebooks (no paperbacks)
  • Subject supplement (C&I 17.5): 1,979 copies

Gray OA