Paywall: The Movie–not a review

October 28th, 2018

I just finished watching Paywall: The Business of Scholarship, after hearing about it for a few weeks.

It’s the longest video I’ve ever watched on my notebook computer (I watch TV and movies on a proper TV).

I recommend it to others.

Yes, there’s a factual error (the description of green OA by one person).

As I say, this isn’t a review.

I thought it interesting that a so-called society publisher effectively acted as an Elsevier advocate.

I found it interesting because I could attach faces and voices to quite a few people I’ve dealt with online. (I have never been to an OA conference. That’s not likely to change.)

To my mind, only one participant came off as a tool–and it would be unkind to identify the person in question. (No, not the AAAS person.)

Overall, I thought it was a good flick and worth the time. If you haven’t seen it and can spare the 1:05, give it a watch. On my notebook, at least, expanded to full screen it was smooth and had no problems. And, of course, if you’re crazy an entrepreneur, you could legally turn it into a DVD and sell copies: it has a CC BY license. Unlike far too many articles on OA, it walks the talk,

How Open should I be?

October 26th, 2018

Here’s a question–and I’m specifically inviting answers–that may or may not be moot:

If there is a GOAJ4: Gold Open Access Journals 2013-2018, should I use LibreOffice rather than Word 2013 and Excel 2013 to produce it, thus being as Open as possible?

[I don’t know yet whether there will be a GOAJ4. I hope to hear soon…]

I’ve downloaded the most recent LibreOffice, just to experiment a bit…

The Issues

So far, the spreadsheet portion of LibreOffice seems to work just fine–for example, it handles very large pivot tables rapidly–but I haven’t tried graphs yet. Since GOAJ graphs aren’t especially fancy, I wouldn’t anticipate problems.

On the document side, however…

  • LibreOffice doesn’t seem to pick up tracking instructions when importing a .docx file–and doesn’t seem to kern by default.
  • As a result of this and possibly other issues, the country supplement shows up as 319 pages rather than 293; GOAJ3 itself shows up as 187 pages rather than 179 (in both cases ignoring front matter); and, just for interest, Cites & Insights 18.7 showed up as 73 pages rather than 70.
  • So far, I haven’t figured out how to say “always kern type,” which you can effectively do in Word by setting that in base styles.I imagine I could figure it out.
  • LibreOffice seems to offer lots more options than Word 2013 in some areas–but I must admit that I found the page views harder to read, sometimes with phantom bolding and the like.

In general, it just feels like LibreOffice 6 is typographically clumsy compared to Word–but, of course, I’m used to Word.

So: what do you think? Worth what may be some extra effort and clumsiness? (Am I missing some fundamental steps in LibreOffice?)

Comments open for two weeks, I believe.

Other Questions Still Open

NOTE [15 Nov 2018]: I’ve resolved all but one of the queries below.

I asked a series of questions at the end of the subject supplement and on Facebook. I’d still like to hear opinions. To date, there haven’t been any:

  • 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?
  • 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?
  • For GOAJ3 itself, is the Visibility measure useless, or should I either retain it or even expand it to a more granular measure?
  • For subject segments, should Psychology be lumped into Medicine, and should Anthropology be treated as part of STEM?
  • Do the publisher categories provide useful information?
  • 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?
  • Should the graph of free and pay articles by year be replaced by or supplemented with a table with the same data as numbers?
  • 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 this subject supplement offers more complete country lists, going down to 20 articles for all subjects except Medicine.
  • 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?
  • [Added at 4:40 pm] Or should I keep things as much like the 2012-2017 version as possible, to allow direct comparisons?

And, again, here are resolutions of all but one of these questions.

Comment here or by email to



Cites & Insights 18:7 (October 2018) available

October 2nd, 2018

Cites & Insights 18:7 (October 2018) is now available for downloading at

The 24-page issue includes:

Intersections: A Few Small Essays   pp. 1-13

Half of this section is an informal commentary on a remarkable new free list of >35,000 open access journals (and other things) in the humanities and social sciences (mostly) from Jan Szczepanski. There are also commentaries on “when good scholars go bad”–why I think the new spate of articles Viewing With Alarm scholars at serious institutions with articles in “bad” journals are looking at the wrong side of the equation; the colors, and why I think two is enough; why I do not (currently) plan to cover the new Hot Topic in OA; whether you can or should be an OA observer without being an advocate [for or against] or a skeptic; why “Intersections”; and a comprehensive guide to really useful applications of blockchain in libraries. [Omitted for space and because I’m a coward: A suggestion that societies that depend on subscription revenues aren’t necessarily better than commercial publishers…]

The Back: Audiophile System Prices 2018  pp. 13-24

This time around, I’m including median systems in each category: systems composed of median-priced components. You can assemble a complete (CD and LP) audiophile system for $1,918–or you can spend $832,223 before adding power conditioners and other extras.

GOAJ3: September 2018 report

September 30th, 2018

Readership figures for GOAJ3 (unfortunately missing most of today, 9/30, 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: 591 views, 67 downloads
  • GOAJ3: 2,259 PDF ebooks + 145 copies of first few chapters (C&I 18.3)
  • Countries: 631 PDF ebooks
  • Subject supplement (C&I 18.4): 184 downloads
  • No paperbacks

Goaj2: 2011-2016

  • The dataset: 570 views, 111 downloads.
  • GOAJ2: 2,273 PDF ebooks (and two paperbacks), plus 1,310 copies of chapters 1-7 (C&I 17.4)
  • Countries: 887 PDF ebooks (no paperbacks)
  • Subject supplement (C&I 17.5): 1,936 copies

Gray OA


Cites & Insights 18:6 (September 2018) available

September 2nd, 2018

The September 2018 Cites & Insights (18:6) is now available for downloading at

The 70-page issue consists of one essay/roundup:

Intersections: Predator!  pp. 1-70

The lists have ended, but the malady lingers on… There seems to be a burgeoning industry of Pointing With Alarm at the (usually wildly overestimated) array of “predatory” journals (usually identified as predatory based on one librarian’s typically-unsupported claims).

This roundup began with more than 130 tagged articles, most quite recent; despite narrowing it down, it still includes more than 60–and there are many more not discussed.

Erratum: I am informed by a reader (Marc Couture–thanks!) that there is a probable error on page 15, where I say

“What I have not done, ever, is to submit an article to an outlet with being fairly comfortable with that outlet”

I meant “without being fairly comfortable,” to be sure.

Can I blame my six-fingered typing since suffering nerve damage? Nah, didn’t think so: blame sloppy proofreading. I would fire the proofreader, but that won’t work either…

I usually won’t fix an error in a published issue (unless there’s a legal or other problem, as opposed to a simple goof), but in this case, adding the three letters didn’t affect the rest of the layout at all–not even the line wrap–so I’ve updated it.

GOAJ3: August 2018 report

August 31st, 2018

Readership figures for GOAJ3 (unfortunately missing most of today, 8/31, 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: 497 views, 57 downloads
  • GOAJ3: 2,187 PDF ebooks + 111copies of first few chapters (C&I 18.3)
  • Countries: 602 PDF ebooks
  • Subject supplement (C&I 18.4): 154 downloads
  • No paperbacks

Goaj2: 2011-2016

  • The dataset: 550 views, 105 downloads.
  • GOAJ2: 2,238 PDF ebooks (and two paperbacks), plus 1,300 copies of chapters 1-7 (C&I 17.4)
  • Countries: 856 PDF ebooks (no paperbacks)
  • Subject supplement (C&I 17.5): 1,911 copies

Gray OA

Note the big increase in Gray OA 2012-2016 PDF ebooks. If there was a plausible way to do a 2013-2018 report on non-DOAJ gold OA, and financial support to do it, I’d be tempted…

Articles more precious than gold?

August 7th, 2018

A discussion has taken place on Twitter (and on a more private site) regarding the idea that some gold OA seems to be “more precious than gold,” based on the idea that a typical article costs more for the APC than the paper to print it on would cost if it was solid gold.

The discussion involved Elsevier and only Elsevier. While I thought it was a neat discussion, it was a bit–well. more than a bit–misleading, because it took the median of Elsevier journal APCs (including the absurdly high “hybrid” APCs) rather than the average cost per article.

Aaron Tay noted that this wasn’t just about Elsevier–and it certainly isn’t. In fact, going back to the 2017 figures for journals in DOAJ (and, of course, ignoring “hybrid” journals, which appear to represent no more than 5%-10% of serious gold OA articles), it looks like Elsevier has the 22nd highest average APC per article, for publishers with at least 1,000 2017 articles in gold OA journals.

Highest? Frontiers.

Here’s the full list–noting that publisher names are exactly as in DOAJ, not normalized at all. (So, for example, Springer and Nature appear as two separate publishers, and at least one Elsevier journal isn’t included because it uses a Spanish publisher name.)

“$/article” is a weighted average, based on reported APCs when I checked websites in early 2018 multiplied by the number of articles in each journal. This is not at all the same figure you’d get by just looking at APCs on a journal basis, as one journal may have ten times (or 100 times) as many articles as another.

APCs stated in other currencies were converted to US Dollars at the time checks were done; while APCs were rounded to the nearest dollar, the $/article figures (again, weighted averages) may include cents. The table is sorted by average APC per article, highest to lowest; non-APC gold OA journals are included in the calculations.

Publisher $/article
Frontiers Media S.A. $2,724.78
eLife Sciences Publications Ltd $2,500.00
Nature Publishing Group $2,365.40
Wiley $2,254.51
JMIR Publications $2,210.21
Dove Medical Press $2,158.11
BioMed Central $2,139.08
Oxford University Press $2,118.45
Wolters Kluwer $2,045.54
BMJ Publishing Group $1,927.32
IOP Publishing $1,920.00
IEEE $1,750.00
Public Library of Science (PLoS) $1,612.87
Hindawi Publishing Corporation $1,549.61
AIP Publishing LLC $1,439.54
MDPI AG $1,402.06
Cogent OA $1,350.00
SAGE Publishing $1,292.62
Taylor & Francis Group $1,160.53
PeerJ Inc. $1,089.30
Karger Publishers $1,043.12
Elsevier $861.77
Copernicus Publications $707.30
Springer $677.84
AOSIS $675.03
American Chemical Society $617.95
Pensoft Publishers $580.06
PAGEPress Publications $393.49
JCDR Research and Publications Private Limited $275.00
Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais $236.63
Wolters Kluwer Medknow Publications $225.06
Termedia Publishing House $201.05
Universidade de São Paulo $107.83
De Gruyter Open $77.56
EDP Sciences $59.02

GOAJ3: July report

July 31st, 2018

Readership figures for GOAJ3 (unfortunately missing most of today, 7/31, 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: 379 views, 41 downloads
  • GOAJ3: 2,002 PDF ebooks + 82 copies of first few chapters (C&I 18.3)
  • Countries: 534 PDF ebooks
  • Subject supplement (C&I 18.4): 115 downloads
  • No paperbacks

Goaj2: 2011-2016

  • The dataset: 526 views, 100 downloads.
  • GOAJ2: 2,119 PDF ebooks (and two paperbacks), plus 1,285 copies of chapters 1-7 (C&I 17.4)
  • Countries: 806 PDF ebooks (no paperbacks)
  • Subject supplement (C&I 17.5): 1,867 copies

Gray OA

Note the huge one-month increases in GOAJ3 and Gray OA 2012-2016 PDF ebooks.

Cites & Insights 18:5 (August 2018) available

July 25th, 2018

Cites & Insights 18:5 (August 2018) is now available for downloading at

The 34-page summer-light issue includes the following:

Intersections: GOAJ: Commentary Examples  pp. 1-7

I could really use feedback on some aspects of the Gold Open Access Journals project, if it goes forward. Two decision points are whether to include my quick comments for each country as part of the Countries book, and whether to include quick comments for each subject as part of the Subject Supplement. This “article” includes some samples of such commentary.

The Middle: Futurism and Forecasts  pp. 7-21

Commentary on a combination of general futurism, library futurism and specific forecasts, ranging from 2014 to 2018.

The Back  pp. 22-34

Small snarky items on a range of things.


50 Classic Movie Warriors, Disc 4

July 18th, 2018

50 Movie Warriors, Disc 4



Colossus and the Amazon Queen (orig. La regina delle Amazzoni), color, 1960. Vittorio Sala (dir.), Dorian Gray, Rod Taylor, Gianni Maria Canale, Ed Fury. 1:30 [1:24]

There’s no Colossus, but there is Glauco (Ed Fury), strongest man in Greece as judged by an all-out battle royale that begins this mostly-humorous outing. Rod Taylor plays Pirro, conniving friend of Glauco who helps get them into and back out of trouble through a series of…well, escapades…involving the Queendom of the Amazons, where some men who arrive are married for one night then enslaved in bear-guarded mines while others seem to carry on as marketeers. Dorian Gray as Antiope is a continuing “Egyptian” inventor. There are holes in the plot, and some sequences seem to be missing endings, but this is mostly just peculiar good fun.

I guess the plot doesn’t much matter. A lot of sight gags, good scenery, slapstick, and mostly just fun. Music distinctly unlike a typical movie of this genre. If you treat this as a Serious Sword & Sorcery film it’s atrocious—but it’s really hard to do that. Not great, but $1.25.

Duel of Champions (orig. Orazi e Curiazi), 1961, color. Ferdinando Baldi & Terence Young (dirs..), Alan Ladd, Franca Bettoia, Franco Fabrizi, Robert Keith. 1:45 [1:29].

Maybe I’m getting soft in my old age, but I found this one richer and more subtle than I expected—specifically, more of a family-conflict plot and less pure action. It’s not a gladiatorial epic; it’s something quite different.

The setting: Rome and Alba have been fighting an exhausting war, as shown in the clumsy battle royale at the start and the successful ambushing of the 4th Legion, on its way to beef up the Romans. “Exhausting” in this case means that the resources of both city-states are pretty much exhausted—and, after some significant plot (the would-be future king has supposedly fled during the ambush; his wife, daughter of the king, is then immediately wed to the next future king—but the original future king was captured, escaped, and has been recuperating), both kings agree to see what their joint gods would have them do.

The sibyl proclaims that the war should be decided by three brothers from each city fighting a duel in one month’s time: to the winner goes the war. But the only plausible set of Roman brothers includes the recuperated one, who’s been denounced by his father for (supposedly) fleeing the battle and decides to go live peaceably outside the war zone. Lots of discussion ensues; at the last minute, he shows up to the fight. (The original title refers to the families: the Roman Orazis and the Alban Curiazis.) Without giving away plot turns, it’s fair to say that Our Hero not only triumphs (by himself) but takes steps to see that the two cities live in peace.

To my taste, this was a good family-conflict drama with some action thrown in. The sound track’s poor at times, but the print’s pretty decent. You’re only seeing part of the widescreen picture, but the pan-and-scan was competently done. [I see why many IMDB reviews are negative: as a traditional sword-and-sandals movie, it’s not great.] I could see watching it again (unlikely though that is), so by the relaxed standards of these flicks, I’ll give it $1.75.

Hero of Rome (orig. Il colosso di Roma), 1964, color. Giorgio Ferroni (dir.), Gordon Scott, Gabriella Pallotta, Massimo Serato. 1:30 [1:27]

The Romans have ousted and exiled evil king Tarquin, becoming a republic—and, of course, the king wants Rome back, allying with Etruscans to do battle. Enter a strongman hero (Mucius), following which all sorts of betrayal and battles ensue. There’s a happy ending.

I don’t think the plot deserves more. There are elements that aren’t followed up, but mostly there are strong men, treacherous men, beautiful women, lots of scenery, and battles galore. I should note one thing about Mucius’ typical one-huge-man-defeats-ten-warriors bouts: he does a lot of tossing people over his shoulder, and sometimes it’s just a leetle too obvious that the other person has set up the stunt, unless appropriate fighting style was to place your foot on top of your opponent’s outstretched hand. Decent pan & scan. Not great, not terrible: $1.00.

Thor and the Amazon Women (orig. Le gladiatrici), 1963, color. Antonio Leonviola (dir. & screenplay), Susy Andersen, Joe Robinson, Harry Baird, Janine Hendy. 1:35 [1:26]

On one hand, there’s some interesting scenery. On the other…

Really vicious misogyny, not just saying that a violent female dictatorship is bad but—explicitly, several times—that women should never lead a government. Of the two blacks in the movie, one is the vicious Amazon queen; the other, who seems to be more muscular than Thor, is mostly a comic figure. All men are slaves…except for the men who are guards. The gladiatrices (that’s how they say it) don’t so much engage in battles as in bloodbaths, and despite the fact that they are also essentially slaves, they’re loyal to the queen (until they aren’t)..

Oh, and it’s a terrible pan&scan: at times, both actors in a scene are off to the sides and either invisible or barely visible. For that matter, the big “fight” between 100 trained gladiatrices and Thor turns out to be a tug-of-war, “settled” because the flames between the two sides burn through the rope.

If I didn’t look at what’s being said in the flick, it might be worth $0.75; as it is, at best $0.25.