GOAJ2: April 2018 update

April 30th, 2018

Here’s how things are going for GOAJ2: Gold Open Access Journals 2011-2016 and The Countries of OAWorld 2011-2016 and related stuff (all linked to from the project home page), through April 30, 2018 [noting that most of the last day of each month is missing because of how statistics are done]:

  • The dataset: 427 views, 84 downloads.
  • GOAJ2: 1,568 PDF ebooks (and two paperbacks), plus 1,101 copies of chapters 1-7 (C&I 17.4)
  • Countries: 627 PDF ebooks (no paperbacks)
  • Subject supplement (C&I 17.5): 1,624 copies

Looking at the rest of gold OA (beyond DOAJ), Gray OA 2012-2016 has now been downloaded 2,474 times, while Gray OA 2014-2017: A Partial Followup, released in October 2017, has 1,134 downloads. The respective datasets have 145 downloads and 17 downloads.

Cites & Insights 18:2 (April 2018) available

April 12th, 2018

Five months in the making*, it’s ready for downloading at https://citesandinsights.info/civ18i2.pdf: the April 2018 Cites & Insights, volume 18, number 2.

This 44-page issue includes:

The Front: Readership Notes, 2017  pp. 1-2

A belated set of notes on 2017 readership.

Technology: Wikipedia: Oldish Notes  pp. 2-16

Mostly items tagged when I was still tracking Wikipedia more avidly, with most items still (I think) relevant.

Words: Writing, Publishing and Stuff  pp. 16-44

Mostly-older (and still relevant) items about topics word-related topics other than ebooks and print books.

There were no February or March issues. There probably won’t be a May issue.

* Which is to say, part of this issue was written in December 2017, the rest in April 2018.

GOAJ2: March 2018 update

March 31st, 2018

Here’s how things are going for GOAJ2: Gold Open Access Journals 2011-2016 and The Countries of OAWorld 2011-2016 and related stuff (all linked to from the project home page), through March 31, 2018 [noting that most of the last day of each month is missing because of how statistics are done]:

  • The dataset: 408 views, 74 downloads.
  • GOAJ2: 1,503 PDF ebooks (and two paperbacks), plus 948 copies of chapters 1-7 (C&I 17.4)
  • Countries: 575 PDF ebooks (no paperbacks)
  • Subject supplement (C&I 17.5): 1,457 copies

Looking at the rest of gold OA (beyond DOAJ), Gray OA 2012-2016 has now been downloaded 2,366 times, while Gray OA 2014-2017: A Partial Followup, released in October 2017, has 992 downloads.

Malware in OA

March 29th, 2018

Update 2, 5/3/18: The third pass is complete. It cleared three more journals, leaving 198 as malware. Most of these–still 136–are from Indonesia. More than half are from six Indonesian universities, with two of those (Universitas Udayana and Universitas Diponegoro) accounting for 71. Nearly all are from universities. As far as I can tell–and I’m not as sure of my facts here–66 of the 198 are new to DOAJ in 2017, and none of the 132 others was flagged as malware last year.

While XM/malware journals account for just a bit less than 2% of the study, which is far too high, they’re mostly small journals even by OA standards. Although I have no article counts for some 23 of the journals (not in last year’s study and no article-level reporting to DOAJ), totals for the other 176 are 2,920 articles for 2017 (more incomplete than previous years); 5,250 for 2016; 5,016 for 2015; 4,335 for 2014; 3,698 for 2013; and 2,546 for 2012–that is, never more than about 1% of serious gold OA totals.

Some brave or foolhardy folks, and those without especially careful protective software, will find that some of these journals don’t seem problematic (and, of course, some universities may get around to cleaning up their code). That could include 80 “riskware” (lower threat level) and 67 “phishing” sites. along with the 49 “malware” and two security certificate problems.

Update 4/29: I’ve completed the second pass; the third pass will begin on May 1 (and with luck end on May 3; medical stuff will take up all of May 2).

The good news: the malware count has been roughly cut in half. There are now 201 journals where malware prevents me from getting full data–and another 30 where blocked subsites mean that I *can* get full data but that users not running good malware software might be infected. [A couple of new malware cases showed up during the second pass, and are included in the 201.]

The bad news: There are still 201 malware-blocked journals, which I’ll recheck starting May 1, in addition to the 30 “malware outbound” cases, 46 “X category” journals to get one final check (journals that yield 404s, parking pages, database failures or are otherwise not workable), and 20 miscellaneous rechecks. After that I’ll normalize the data, prepare the upload spreadsheet, add derived-data columns, and start on the book[s].

If you’re wondering: Indonesia still dominates with 136 malware cases, but that’s also the biggest drop. Brazil shows 27; Romania 10; Malaysia 9; Iran 4; Taiwan, Philippines, and Portugal 3 each; Chile and Italy 2 each; and singletons from Turkey and Ukraine. Two Indonesian universities account for 67 of the 136 cases, with domain-level issues.

Original post:

Here’s the short version: if you’re involved with gold OA and think you can contact useful people, download https://waltcrawford.name/mal_doaj_all.xlsx, a spreadsheet with all 410 journals flagged as having malware during my scan of gold OA journals (first pass just completed). Sites that are fixed by May 1, 2018 will be included in GOAJ3: Gold Open Access Journals 2012-2017. Those that aren’t, won’t.

CHANGES 4/4/2018: At DOAJ’s request, I’ve added ISSN and E-ISSN columns to the spreadsheet, both populated using Excel VLOOKUP on the URL column.

Slightly longer version:

I’ve finished the first pass. There are a lot of journals with malware problems: 410, as compared to 67 in last year’s run.

Yes, Indonesia makes up the bulk of them–but by no means all.

The acceptable number of infected journal sites is, of course, zero.

The spreadsheet is arranged by country, then publisher, then journal. A “note” column contains possibly-useful notes (e.g., did Malwarebytes flag an outbound request as malware or was it at the domain level?).

Thirty countries had at least one instance, but most were from a handful of countries:

Indonesia 287
Brazil 41
Ukraine 13
Romania 11
Malaysia 9
Portugal 5
Colombia 4
Costa Rica 4
Iran, Islamic Republic of 3
Philippines 3
Poland 3

These countries had two cases each: Argentina; Chile; Italy; Morocco; Nepal; Peru; Spain; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of.

These had one each: Bangladesh; Bulgaria; Ecuador; Georgia; Mexico; Mongolia; Paraguay; Taiwan, Province of China; Tunisia; United Kingdom; United States.

The spreadsheet includes a country page–and a publisher page for those (slightly normalized) with four or more malware journals.


The second pass will probably start around April 20, 2018–but journals still flagged as having malware will be tested once more, no earlier than May 1, 2018, but probably not long after that.

If I continue to hit malware, I’ll try an alternate access path (doing a journal name search in Bing or Google); if that doesn’t help, I’ll pick up numbers fro DOAJ if I can–but only for “bigger numbers.” I won’t include infected journals in the overall study, and certainly can’t recommend them.

Interestingly, only three of the journals were also infected with malware in last year’s study.

Cites & Insights: unclear when

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.

GOAJ2: February update

February 28th, 2018

Here’s how things are going for GOAJ2: Gold Open Access Journals 2011-2016 and The Countries of OAWorld 2011-2016 and related stuff (all linked to from the project home page), through February 28, 2018 [noting that most of the last day of each month is missing because of how statistics are done]:

  • The dataset: 379 views, 72 downloads.
  • GOAJ2: 1,452 PDF ebooks (and two paperbacks), plus 792 copies of chapters 1-7 (C&I 17.4)
  • Countries: 517 PDF ebooks (no paperbacks)
  • Subject supplement (C&I 17.5): 1,299 copies

Looking at the rest of gold OA (beyond DOAJ), Gray OA 2012-2016 has now been downloaded 2,261 times, while Gray OA 2014-2017: A Partial Followup, released in October 2017, has 838 downloads.

More OA malware, 2/3 of the way through

February 27th, 2018

I’ve reached the 2/3 mark (more or less) in the Gold OA Journals first scan–7,200 down, around 3,500 to go–and thought I’d look at the rest of malware (so far), since I’ve encountered a few clusters beyond the many in Indonesia and those already reported in Romania.

There are 43 (so far)–and, notably, it appears that none of them was infected last year.

If you know of someone who might be able to check and fix some of these, it would be good for anybody who wants to keep their computer healthy.

The country counts: Bangladesh 1, Brazil 8, Bulgaria 1, Georgia 1, Iran 1, Italy 1, Malaysia 5, Mongolia 1, Morocco 2, Nepal 2, Peru 2, Poland 1, Portugal 1, Tunisia 1, Ukraine 7 (six in the same domain), UK 1, US 1.

A hard-to-read table is appended. If you want to work on these and find this useless, send me email (waltcrawford@gmail.com) and I’ll send back an .xslx file. When I finish the first pass, I’ll post a spreadsheet with all of the malware (at that point); I’m sure I’ll encounter a few more, although I hope “a few” turns out to be the right term.

Title URL Publisher Note Country
Bangladesh Journal of Medical Science http://www.banglajol.info/index.php/BJMS/index Ibn Sina Trust Bangladesh
Revista Brasileira de Ciências Policiais https://periodicos.pf.gov.br/index.php/RBCP/ Academia Nacional de Polícia Brazil
Scientia Plena http://www.scientiaplena.org.br//ojs/index.php/sp Associação Sergipana de Ciências cert Brazil
Revista Espaço e Geografia http://www.lsie.unb.br/espacoegeografia departamento de geografia Brazil
Revista Brasileira de Educação Física e Esporte : RBEFE http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_serial&pid=1807-5509&lng=en&nrm=iso Escola de Educação Física e Esporte da Universidade de São Paulo (EEFEUSP) Brazil
Meridiano 47 http://www.meridiano47.info Instituto Brasileiro de Relações Internacionais Brazil
Educação Online http://educacaoonline.edu.puc-rio.br/ Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio) domain Brazil
Direito, Estado e Sociedade http://www.jur.puc-rio.br/revistades/ Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro domain Brazil
Revista Interamericana de Comunicação Midiática https://periodicos.ufsm.br/animus/index Programa de Pós Graduação em Comunicação domain Brazil
Idei http://ideas.academyjournals.com.ua Humanus. Center for personal development. Bulgaria hacked Bulgaria
Education Sciences and Psychology http://gesj.internet-academy.org.ge/en/title_en.php?b_sec=&section_l=edu Georgian Technical University Georgia
Ravish/hā-yi ̒adadī dar Muhandisī http://www.jcme.iut.ac.ir Isfahan University of Technology certif. Iran, Islamic Republic of
Ethnorêma http://www.ethnorema.it/rivista-presentazione-link/presentazione-e-copyright Ethnorêma Association Italy
Malaysian Journal of Microbiology http://mjm.usm.my/index.php?r=cms/entry/view&id=51 Malaysian Society for Microbiology domain Malaysia
International Journal of Asia-Pacific Studies http://ijaps.usm.my/ Penerbit Universiti Sains Malaysia domain Malaysia
Journal of Construction in Developing Countries http://web.usm.my/jcdc/index.html Penerbit Universiti Sains Malaysia web.usm.my Malaysia
KEMANUSIAAN:  The Asian Journal of Humanities http://web.usm.my/kajh/ Penerbit Universiti Sains Malaysia web.usm.my Malaysia
Tropical Life Sciences Research http://web.usm.my/kajh/ Penerbit Universiti Sains Malaysia web.usm.my Malaysia
Mongolian Journal of Biological Sciences http://mjbs.num.edu.mn National University of Mongolia domain Mongolia
Bulletin de l’Institut Scientifique, Section Sciences de la Terre http://www.israbat.ac.ma/?page_id=251 Mohammed V University of Rabat, Scientific Institut domain Morocco
Bulletin de l’Institut Scientifique, Section Sciences de la Vie http://www.israbat.ac.ma/?page_id=257 Mohammed V University of Rabat, Scientific Institut domain Morocco
Journal of Education and Research http://kusoed.edu.np/journal Kathmandu University domain Nepal
Journal of Lumbini Medical College http://jlmc.edu.np/index.php/JLMC Lumbini Medical College domain Nepal
Neumann Business Review http://www.journaltop.com/index.php/NBR Escuela de Negocios Neumann Business School Peru
Organic Photonics and Photovoltaics http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/oph De Gruyter Open Poland
Journal of Management and Business Administration, Central Europe http://mbace.eu/ Kozminski University Poland
Management and Business Administration. Central Europe http://mbace.eu Kozminski University Poland
Análise Social http://analisesocial.ics.ul.pt/ Instituto de Ciências Sociais da Universidade de Lisboa domain Portugal
Tunisian Journal of Plant Protection http://www.tjpp.tn Institution of the Agricultural Research and Higher Education instr Tunisia
Vìsnik Dnìpropetrovsʹkogo Unìversitetu: Serìâ Psihologìâ http://psyresearch.dp.ua/index.php/psy/index Dnipropetrovsk Oles Honchar National University Ukraine
Vìsnik Dnìpropetrovsʹkogo Unìversitetu: Serìâ Modelûvannâ http://www.model-dnu.dp.ua/ DNU Ukraine
Condensed Matter Physics http://www.icmp.lviv.ua/journal/ Institute for Condensed Matter Physics domain Ukraine
Biosystems Diversity https://ecology.dp.ua/ Oles Honchar Dnipro National University domain Ukraine
Regulatory Mechanisms in Biosystems https://medicine.dp.ua/index.php/med Oles Honchar Dnipro National University domain Ukraine
Vìsnik Dnìpropetrovsʹkogo Unìversitetu. Serìâ: Ìstorìâ ta Arheologìâ http://via.dp.ua/index.php/VIA/index Oles Honchar Dnipropetrovsk National University domain Ukraine
Vìsnik Dnìpropetrovsʹkogo Unìversitetu: Serìâ Bìologìâ, Ekologìâ http://www.ecology.dp.ua Oles Honchar Dnipropetrovsk National University domain Ukraine
Vìsnik Dnìpropetrovsʹkogo Unìversitetu: Serìâ Bìologìâ, Medicina http://medicine.dp.ua/ Oles Honchar Dnipropetrovsk National University domain Ukraine
Vìsnik Dnìpropetrovsʹkogo Unìversitetu: Serìâ Geologìâ, Geografìâ http://geology-dnu.dp.ua Oles Honchar Dnipropetrovsk National University domain Ukraine
Vìsnik Dnìpropetrovsʹkogo Unìversitetu: Serìâ Hìmìâ http://chemistry.dnu.dp.ua Oles Honchar Dnipropetrovsk National University domain Ukraine
Vìsnik Dnìpropetrovsʹkogo Unìversitetu: Serìâ Matematika http://vestnmath.dnu.dp.ua Oles Honchar Dnipropetrovsk National University domain Ukraine
Vìsnik Pridnìprovsʹkoï Deržavnoï Akademìï Budìvnictva ta Arhìtekturi http://visnyk.pgasa.dp.ua Prydniprovs’ka State Academy of Civil Engineering and Architecture domain Ukraine
EJC Supplements http://www.journals.elsevier.com/ejc-supplements/ Elsevier United Kingdom
Frontiers in Heat Pipes https://www.thermalfluidscentral.org/journals/index.php/Heat_Pipes Global Digital Central United States

The Romania malware situation and a brief “halfway” report

February 12th, 2018

In a post about the malware problem in far too many of Indonesia’s open access journals, I included a “PS” noting that Romania had the second largest number of infected journals in the first 4,000, although that number wasn’t very large (9)–and that Romania had the largest number of infected journals last year (11). I said I’d check the remainder of the Romanian gold OA journals and post a similar message with spreadsheets.

I’ve completed that scan (and I’m now not quite halfway through the first scan), and the story is that there are, in all, eleven Romanian OA journals flagged as malware by Malwarebytes Premium. That’s more than any other country except Indonesia, but it’s not a big percentage, and not really worth a spreadsheet. I provide the titles, URLs and publishers at the end of this post, in what is probably a clumsy table. (I believe that these 11 are entirely different than last year’s 11, but it’s possible that some secondary columns didn’t line up right, so I wouldn’t swear to that.[confirmed on 2/13: these are entirely different journals])

Other countries? A total of 14 of the first 5,340 journals–four in Brazil and one each in ten other countries.

Here’s the table, such as it is (if you want to work on these and find the table unusable, send me email at waltcrawford@gmail.com and I’ll send back an Excel spreadsheet):

Title URL Publisher
Romanian Review of Geographical Education http://rrge.reviste.ubbcluj.ro/index.html Universitatea “Babeş-Bolyai” Cluj Napoca
Studia Universitatis Babeş-Bolyai Negotia http://studia.ubbcluj.ro/serii/negotia/index_en.html Studia Universitatis Babes-Bolyai
Meta: Research in Hermeneutics, Phenomenology and Practical Philosophy http://www.metajournal.org/ Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi
Modelling the New Europe http://neweurope.centre.ubbcluj.ro/?page_id=103 Babes-Bolyai University
PedActa http://padi.psiedu.ubbcluj.ro/pedacta/ Babes-Bolyai University
Studia Universitatis Babes-Bolyai: Series Informatica http://www.cs.ubbcluj.ro/~studia-i/ Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca
Riscuri şi Catastrofe http://riscurisicatastrofe.reviste.ubbcluj.ro Casa Cartii de Stiinta Cluj-Napoca
Aerul şi Apa: Componente ale Mediului http://aerapa.conference.ubbcluj.ro/ Cluj University Press
Romanian Review of Regional Studies http://rrrs.reviste.ubbcluj.ro Cluj University Press
Studia Universitatis Babeş-Bolyai: Educatio Artis Gymnasticae http://studia.ubbcluj.ro/serii/educatio/ Cluj University Press
Studia Universitatis Babeş-Bolyai: Geographia http://studiageographia.geografie.ubbcluj.ro/ Cluj University Press

Indonesia OA: Can you help with a malware problem?

February 9th, 2018

If you know of someone involved with gold OA within Indonesia (probably working with universities), you might want to let them know about the situation described here. I normally just observe, measure and comment, but this case seems special enough to at least support action.

The Good News

Whether due to DOAJ‘s efforts or otherwise, the number of Indonesian gold OA journals within DOAJ grew rapidly during 2007, with 665 new journals (and a few apparently returned to the directory). I believe Indonesia now has more journals within DOAJ than any other country: 1,154 as of 1/1/2018.

The Bad News

Indonesia seems to have a problem with malware. Malwarebytes Premium, which I always run (alongside Windows Defender) after problems encountered with a few infected OA journals three years ago, finds an astonishing 286 Indonesia journals afflicted with malware–either the journal site itself or a site called by the journal site.

[How astonishing is that number? In the 2016 study, there were a total of 67 infected journal sites; so far, with almost half the journals checked, there are 21 outside of Indonesia.]

I do not ignore Malwarebytes warnings: I close the browser tab immediately. That means I don’t check the journal, and it won’t be included in the 2012-2017 Gold Open Access Journals report this summer–and, frankly, that any cautious user will avoid it.

I do recheck every malware-infected site during my second pass in April or early May (where I also recheck all other problematic sites–those unreachable, suspended, etc.–and the sites where it seems at least possible that late-2017 articles are being posted late). For journals that continue to be infected or problematic, I glean as much information as I can from DOAJ, but while I include these numbers in one or two “big numbers” tables, they’re simply excluded from the bulk of the report.

How to Help

People in contact with the publishers–mostly universities–could suggest that the site code be checked for problems, especially for subcalls. I’d start with Universitas Negeri Semarang, since the domain journal.unnes.ac.id shows as malware on nearly all that university’s OA journals–and also shows up as an infected call in quite a few other journals. Smaller domain problems include ojs.unud.ac.id at Universitas Udayana, ejournal.upi.edu at Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia and possibly others.

It’s possible that Malwarebytes is showing false positives, but I’m no malware expert, and since I’ve had malware problems directly traceable to journal sites in the past, I’m not willing to take the chance.

NOTE: These are not all new journals–indeed, most of them were in DOAJ before 2017 (102 appear to be new), but without malware.

You can download an Excel spreadsheet showing the title, URL, publisher and–in some cases–a note (“domain” means the URL up to but not including the first slash) as to the malware encountered. If you prefer, a comma-separated-values version is also available.

I hope someone’s able to clear these up; I look forward to rechecking the sites in late April or early May and finding few if any infected sites!

PS: About Romania

If you’ve read earlier progress reports on this year’s scan, you’ll know that Romania also had a number of malware issues: nine of the remaining 21 from the first 4,000 journals. Romania also had the most infected journals year, with 11. I am checking the remaining Romanian OA journals before going back to the alphabetical-by-publisher scan. Since there are only 137 more journals to check, I’d expect to finish this by next Tuesday (2/13) or so. If somebody out there would like to check on the Romanian journals–the probably-infected ones–send me email (waltcrawford@gmail) to that effect and I’ll provide a similar spreadsheet when it’s ready.

Note added 2/12/2017: I’ve done the Romanian scan, and it turns out there are only 11 infected journals in all. Here’s the discussion and a table.

GOAJ3: Third note

February 4th, 2018

I’m one-third of the way through the first pass.

Following up on the previous notes:

  • The rate of malware occurrences has slowed down (but I can see that a whole bunch of journals from the most problematic nation are coming up soon).
  • Indonesian OAstill seems to have a malware problem. At this point, of 120 Indonesian OA titles checked, 36 are flagged by Malwarebytes Pro as either being malicious or having malware-infected segments. That’s four more infections of 17 more journals.
  • Other malware: 9 of 155 in Romania: 57 more journals, no new infections. 4 of 329 in Brazil: 149 more journals. one more infection. Two of 13 in Ukraine–four more journals, no more infections. Six countries with one malware case each: five more than previously.
  • I’m hoping these will mostly resolve themselves on the second pass (or the third malware-only pass). I will not bypass Malwarebytes or Windows Defender protection. Period. Been there, done that, spent days fixing things.
  • Note that there were only 67 journals flagged as malware in last year’s pass. I now have 57 flagged out of the first 3,600–with more than 7,100 left to go. The rate has gone down dramatically–but it’s far too high.

And a new note, only indirectly about the study. As I’d noted elsewhere, I seem to be having occasional system instability problems (although doing a full shutdown or restart once every day or so seems to be helping and only costs 2-3 minutes of lost time).

I thought I’d try LibreOffice instead of Excel, to see whether that would help with the problem; I’ve long suggested LibreOffice as a substitute for people who want Office functionality but either (a) despise Microsoft or (b) legitimately can’t afford $100 for Office.

After the lengthy process of updating to the latest version, I tried opening both spreadsheets and working with them. Unfortunately, what I found was:

  • LibreOffice, faced with medium-sized spreadsheets (one’s about 400KB and currently has 3,600 rows of about 20 columns, with no formulas; the other has the same columns and lack of formulas but currently about 10,100 rows), was jerky: attempts to move around or adjust the window size were slow and erratic.
  • One or two functions that I use regularly (e.g., column autowidth) just aren’t there.
  • I found the integrated icon-based control bars confusing–but that’s because I’m now very comfortable with Office 2013’s contextual control bars.

After 10-15 minutes, always feeling that I was waiting for LO to catch up, I gave up.

(Notably, when I’d tried a similar experiment as a Word replacement, functions I consider necessary just weren’t there–but then, I create full-fledged books in Word, making more typographic control demands than the average user.)

I still think LibreOffice is a good no-cost alternative, especially for casual use. But, frankly, the price for Office seems like a bargain (no, I don’t use Office360: $100/year still doesn’t seem like a bargain.)