Gold Open Access Journals 2011-2015: October update

October 31st, 2016


It’s October 31–the last day of the month, when I fetch usage statistics for my websites (as always, omitting about 18.5 hours of that last day), so here’s an update on GOAJ–just the total numbers this time:

  • Paperbacks: Yay! Two copies of GOAJ itself sold. So far, none of the others (I recommend the one pictured here).
  • Dataset: 914 views, 433 downloads:.
  • GOAJ: 39 Lulu copies, 8,040 copies from my site: total 8,079. That’s more than 8,000 copies even missing around 3% (those downloaded between 5:30 a.m. and midnight on the last day of each month).
  • Subjects: 17 Lulu copies, 190 other copies, 207 total.
  • Countries: 8 Lulu copies, 999 other copies, 1,007 total.
  • C&I: To date, 1,101 copies of the excerpted GOAJ version (16.5) and 3,874 copies of “APCLand and OAWorld” (16.4.)

So that’s more than nine thousand copies of the full or excerpted report…

As a sidenote, the most downloaded issue of Cites & Insights for the period since October 2012* is issue 14.4, with 15,499 copies, half again as many as the second most downloaded. The primary essay is The Sad Case of Jeffrey Beall. Unfortunately, more recent and probably more important related commentaries have not reached anywhere that audience…and it’s clear that many librarians and even more scholars take Beall’s word (typically offered without a shred of evidence) as gospel. [Look to the third essay in the hyperlinked issue–the one with “Trust Me” in the title.]

*The most downloaded C&I will probably always be the Library 2,0 and “Library 2.0” essay, with nearly 34,000 downloads before I added a speed bump.

Gray OA and C&I – a quick “progress” report

October 23rd, 2016

At about this time, I anticipated being done gathering data for the “Gray OA 2012-2016: Gold OA Beyond DOAJ” project–and taking time off to do a worthwhile November 2016 Cites & Insights, then starting in on the report itself.

I didn’t reckon with the sheer density (and frequent awfulness) of the so-called “independent” journals (many of which are actually from smaller multjournal publishers) and how long it would take to plow through them.

At this point, I’ve checked 540 and have about 365 left to do (more than 100 of the original list turn out to be duplicated within publisher listings). That could take as little as three more days or as much as six days or longer…

And I’ve now realized that, if I want to do a careful discussion of the real volume of articles in possibly-sketchy journals, I’ll have to go back and count articles in “FA” journals–those I regard as failures because they don’t specify the processing charges. And there are more than 1,100 of those…

I still believe the actual possibly-sketchy article volume for 2014 will be far below 420,000–but not as far below as all my partial studies suggested. (Since the dataset I’m using is considerably larger than the one used in the 420K study, a direct comparison may not be feasible.)

Best guess at this point is that the study won’t be done until some time in December…and it could creep out a bit into 2017.

So what about C&I?

At this point, I suspect there will be a combined November/December issue, quite possibly a fairly short one–both because I’m busy with this study (and everyday life) and because I now think it makes sense for the results, which should be Issue 200, to come out as the first 2017 issue, for reasons that will become obvious in The Front essay in the November/December issue.

[Hint: if you currently use the “online version” the proposed change won’t bother you at all…]

Anyway, that’s where things stand. Now back to yet another in a seemingly endless stream of International Journal of…s

Gold Open Access Journals 2011-2015: September update

September 30th, 2016


It’s September 30–the last day of the month, when I fetch usage statistics for my websites (as always, omitting about 18.5 hours of that last day), so here’s an update on GOAJ–just the total numbers this time:

  • Paperbacks: Still just my own copies.
  • Dataset: 876 views, 430 downloads.
  • GOAJ: 36 Lulu copies, 6,912 copies from my site: total 6,948. Since the stats miss a bit less than 3% (that last day), it’s fair to assume that more than 7,000 copies have been downloaded. That’s remarkable,
  • Subjects: 17 Lulu copies, 171 other copies, 188 total.
  • Countries: 8 Lulu copies, 907 other copies, 915 total.
  • C&I: To date, 994 copies of the excerpted GOAJ version (16.5) and 3,724 copies of “APCLand and OAWorld” (16.4.)

Gray at 700: Getting Past the Monster

September 22nd, 2016

Just a quick informal update on my “gray OA” research, having achieved two milestones:

  1. Getting past row 655 of the publisher spreadsheet, the Publisher Who Shall Not Be Named (actually four imprints). It didn’t show up as 700+ full-OA journals when I checked it out (at least not from the APC table, the easiest way to deal with it), but as 618 journals, 54 of which were hybrid “OA” and 19 empty, leaving 545 with at least one article between January 2012 and June 30, 2016. Articles (using the publisher’s DOI scheme, which leaves out editorials in most cases): 9,041 for the first half of 2016; 14,198 for 2015; 10,798 (in 337 journals) for 2014. That’s about 20% of all the active journals for the first 655 rows and 15% of the 2016 articles, but only 13% of active-in-2014 journals and 10% of 2014 articles.
  2. Getting to row 701 (that is, 700 publishers of 1,027 total).

Roughly, the first 700 show 2,718 journals with at least one 2016 article, for slightly under 60,000 articles January-June–and 2,723 journals with at least one 2014 article, for slightly under 105,000 articles for the full year.

It is, of course, possible that the remaining 327 publishers and 1,000+ “independent” journals will provide the 315,000 articles for 2014 you’d need to get to the frequently-flouted peer-reviewed number of articles in 2014 in “predatory” journals–but it’s a tad unlikely. (This also assumes that all gray OA is predatory, despite the lack of any evidence at all in 85+% of cases. That’s another discussion.)

Now for the rest of them…

Cites & Insights 16:8 available

September 13th, 2016

The September/October 2016 Cites & Insights (16:8) is now available for downloading at

The print-oriented two-column 8.5×11″ issue is 24 pages long. If you plan to read the issue on a computer, tablet or e-reader, you may prefer the 47-page 6×9″ single-column “online version” at

The content in both versions is identical.

This issue consists of a single essay:

Intersections: Ethics and Access   pp. 1-24

A much shorter roundup than the previous Ethics and Access piece, still covering a lot of ground, including DOAJ, NEJM and Data Sharing, Sci-Hub, Identifying “Bad Guys,” Questionable?, The Aginners, Speaking of Beall… and Miscellany.


Gray OA: Another snapshot

September 4th, 2016

As noted in August, I’m trying to determine the actual size and flavor of “gray OA”–that is, gold OA journals that weren’t in DOAJ as of 12/31/15.

I’ve now reached roughly the halfway point: 500 publishers and “publishers” (and ones that are neither) out of slightly more than 1,000.

Here’s what I find:

  • There are 10,044 journal names so far–excluding ones that are in DOAJ, but…
  • Only 2,655 of those have published at least one article between 1/1/2011 and 6/30/2016, and can be properly analyzed.
  • 6,402 “journals” are entirely empty–and most of those consist of nothing more than template-generated webpages.
  • 587 might have articles, but don’t state APCs–and most that I’ve checked have very few articles.
  • 402 either can’t be reached, don’t work, aren’t OA at all, are “hybrid” or otherwise don’t belong.

You may notice that those numbers are nowhere near being 25% larger than in the August update, although they include 25% more “publishers.”

Article counts? 38.666 for the first half of2016; 79,787 for 2015; 75,608 (approximately) for 2014; 56.040 (approximately) for 2013; 40,593 (approximately) for 2012.

Are there some paper mills here? Yes, I think so, although not many (and I’m guessing most of the authors know exactly what they’re doing). To wit, the ten journals with the most 2015 articles (that’s ten of 2,655, or less than 0.5%) have between one-sixth and one-fifth of all the articles–e.g., 15,870 for 2015 and 14,678 for 2014.

Still not willing to suggest what the final numbers will be.

And now setting it aside to write the big essay for the next C&I…and take care of other business.


Gold Open Access Journals: August summary

August 31st, 2016

cntcvr6x9Here’s an update on download numbers for GOAJ–noting as usual that, other than Lulu, numbers are probably about 3% low because the last day of each month doesn’t get counted (after 5 a.m.)

  • Paperback books: Still zero.
  • GOAJ PDF: 35 copies from Lulu; 5,637 from (that’s three and 1,765 more than at the end of July).
  • Subject PDF: 14 from Lulu; 133 from (one and 30 more than at the end of July)
  • Country PDF: Five from Lulu; 904 from (five and 827 more than at the end of July)
  • Dataset: 826 views–but 412 downloads (340 more than at the end of July).
  • And 915 copies of C&I 16.5 (an excerpted version) plus 3,553 copies of C&I 16.4 (APCLand and OAWorld).


The new Mikado

August 29th, 2016

Yesterday, we saw the closing performance of the Lamplighters’ production of The New Mikado: Una Commedia Musicale! at Livermore’s first-rate Bankhead Theater.

It was excellent.

Set in Tirmisu, a sweet little town near Renaissance Milan (and ruled by Milan’s emperor, Il Ducato, who aims to make the punishment fit the crime), it tells the complicated story of Niccolu, son of Il Ducato but disguised as a wandering minstrel (or second trombone in Tirmisu’s municipal band), Amiam, his beloved, and how love eventually conquers…nah, you can’t really recount the plot.

What? Renaissance Milan?

Yep. I’m sure you can find material on why the Lamplighters staged this production. (We saw their production of The Mikado a few years back. It was also excellent.) I won’t dwell on that. I’ll just say the commedia dell’arte-style production (including street entertainers before the curtain and actors reacting to scenery changes involving trees being lifted out of or restored into the scene) was absolutely first-rate. Mason Gates was especially good, but others–including F. Lawrence Ewing as Coco–weren’t far behind.

Sigh. Unfortunately, for whatever reasons, the Lamplighters won’t visit Livermore for the rest of the 2016-2017 season.


Gray OA: Going Beyond DOAJ?

August 26th, 2016

To date, Gold Open Access Journals 2011-2015 has been downloaded more than 5,000 times (including more than 1,200 so far this month). (The link is to the $6 paperback, where you could be the first on your block–or anywhere other than at my house–to own one.)

GOAJ covers serious gold OA, journals listed in DOAJ. But there’s more–some of it sketchy, some of it just not in the directory for one reason or another. How much? Nobody knows–although one paper came up with what I regard as an improbably high number (that paper, which also seemed to assume that this is all “predatory,” has predictably been used as an anti-OA weapon).

As it happens, while there’s probably no complete list of “all gold OA journals that aren’t in DOAJ,” there is a list–actually two lists, one of publishers and one of standalone journals–which, while worthless and unfortunate for the purpose it purports to serve, is probably a pretty good starting point.

So, slightly obsessive and curious “researcher” that I am, I’ve set out to find out what’s out there–that is, how many active OA journals not in DOAJ published how many articles in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and the first half of 2016? (I grabbed the lists at the start of July 2016.)

I think of this group–journals not in DOAJ that are gold OA (not hybrid), that disclose author-side charges or explicitly deny them, and that don’t consist entirely of one-article single issues where the article’s clearly plagiarized from another journal–as gray OA.

So far…

I’ve looked at 405 publishers and “publishers” out of around 1,000 total. I’ve set aside two of those as being too difficult to deal with, and analyzed the rest.

I hope to do the rest, and the independent journals, over the next three months–and write up the results as the 200th issue of Cites & Insights, possibly also available as a PDF ebook. Target is the end of the year (which, if you’re a C&I reader, will also tell you that there will only be two other issues between now and then).

So far, I’ve found 2,372 journals with at least one article; 5,969 “journals” with no articles (most of them existing only as nearly-empty template-generated pages); 584 failed journals (mostly ones with charges that aren’t stated); 353 journals that are excluded for various reasons (e.g., subscription journals); and 322 journals in DOAJ (omitted, of course). Will I wind up with 2.5 times as many? Probably not–but who knows? (Of those 2,372, fewer than 1,000 are actually active–that is, have published 3 or more 2016 articles.)

As for article counts, I believe I have good reason to avoid making any projections.

  • First 4,400-odd journals: 4,737 articles in Jan-June 2016; 11,845 in 2015; 10,786 in 2014; 5,391 in 2013.
  • Second 4,700-odd journals: 21,335 in Jan-June 2016; 42,715 in 2015; 37,886 in 2014; 29,556 in 2013.

So for 2015, I could plausibly project around 60,000 articles–or 210,000 articles. I’d guess the “truth” is somewhere in between but I don’t know. (Numbers anywhere near those of that article? Not impossible, but…)

From here on out…

I do not have funding for this project. I do not plan to <shudder> start a crowdfunding campaign </shudder>. Based on past experience, I can assume that attempting book sales would yield almost no sales–and almost no exposure. So I do plan to give the report itself away.

The data? Not likely. Without funding, I’m not motivated to do a lot of extra work to pretty up the dataset–and, unlike GOAJ, I don’t see much potential for derivative projects.

If somebody wants to come forth with an appropriate offer, that might change–and I might be motivated to do the hard extra steps to make the effort truly complete. You know my email address ( I won’t be holding my breath.


The next C&I will be late, and there will be fewer issues. That might be true anyway. Looking past 200 is difficult…

By the way, the Countries of OAWorld book really is worth owning–and I’m not saying that to get my share of the $8 price. ($0.02–two cents.)

[Added a bit later:] Some quick notes:

  • This is a quantitative study. Other than failure to disclose APCs, obvious plagiarism and simply not being OA, I’m not evaluating journals–not looking at editorial boards, turnaround time or grandiosity.
  • I’ve seen a few likely papermills, a little crackpottery (but then, there’s arsenic-based life, so that’s a tricky term), and some other nonsense. I’ve also seen some focused operations that make me wonder why they’re not in DOAJ.
  • I have not gotten to the “o” segment yet. No comment required.


How terribly strange…

August 14th, 2016

I can only reasonably use the post title above for one more month, so this is as good a time as any. If you don’t get the reference, you may not be a S&G fan.

Semi-appropriate sidebar 1: For Paul Simon, it was more than four years ago.

The more significant item this year: the Fourth Official Sign of Growing Old in the U.S.:

  1. More than 20 years ago: AARP eligibility.
  2. More than five years ago: Medicare eligibility.
  3. More than four years ago: full Social Security eligibility.
  4. This year: Turning seventy-and-a-half.

If you don’t get that fourth one, you’re either much younger or don’t have a 401(k) or 403(b): this is when the government says “if you don’t take it, we will”–not unreasonably.

Semi-appropriate sidebar 2: For Sir Elton Hercules John (or Reginald Kenneth Dwight), it was nine years ago, and my best guess is that John has changed his mind.

This is the year I’ve decided “old” isn’t such a terrible word for me. Maybe because a couple of things have me feeling oldish…

Semi-appropriate sidebar 3: For Sir James Paul McCartney, it came twelve years ago, but his has always been more upbeat. He does not apparently have grandchildren, whether Vera, Chuck, Dave or otherwise–but he can probably afford to rent a cottage on the Isle of Wight. (Right around $270/night, AFAICT.) [No, that’s not the canonical version; UMG has done a pretty good job of locking out official versions.]

So what’s got me feeling old? Apart from waiting for forms to fill out (hey, Lincoln!) and that sort of thing? Well…

  1. This is the year I had my first surgery lasting more than 30 seconds or so, having a benign nerve sheath tumor (a Schwannoma) removed from my right forearm…and had the unexpected side effect of, so far at least (4.5 months later), a partly dysfunctional right hand. (Floppy fingers is one term; I have nothing but good words for the physical therapists at ValleyCare Livermore, and am getting good at six-finger typing. I do use chopsticks like a clumsy eight-year-old, though…) Yes, I know I’m damn lucky to have gone 70 years with no significant surgeries. And that I’m ambidextrous enough that this mild inability is just that.
  2. This is the year that, after some nudging, I clarified where I stand on speaking travel, given my health, my wife’s health, our cats’ health and other issues: Starting with “unlikely” and clarified to “Simply not doing it.”
  3. Not sure if this is a sign of age, but I’ve been blocking a lot more people on FB–mostly friends of “friends,” and almost always for misogynistic, bigoted, racist, stupid attitudes or support of such attitudes.

On the other hand…

  1. This is the year I completed a full in-depth analysis of article publishing by Gold OA journals listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals, with sponsorship from SPARC. Considerably more than 4,000 copies of the book-length results have been downloaded–and, unfortunately, very few copies of the Subject and Country supplements.
  2. It’s now clear that $6 is a prohibitive price for an easier-to-use paperback copy of that same report. I’d say the ratio of PDF to paperback (excluding my own copy) is more than 4,000 to 1, but it’s actually infinity.
  3. I’m still married to my best friend, we’re still in the nicest house we’ve ever owned, and in a city we’ve come to like even better–this odd mix of fifty-odd wineries, cattlemen (still a few) and scientists (still thousands).

I said there was no deeper significance. I don’t find it terribly strange, but then I spend more time on long (4-5 mile weekly) walks with friends and short (1.3 mile daily) walks with my wife than I do sitting on park benches.