Friday 23 May 2014

The Wonderful World of Open Access

I'm one of the editors of an open access journal, but that's not what this post is about. Instead, it's about the wider world of open access, which I've blogged about before, with some charts and stats. The web is full of opinions on open access, with comments from sceptics, advocates and others somewhere in between. I'm really excited by open access publishing, but of course - like any publishing model - it's not perfect. What I've been doing over the past few years is trying to learn a lot more about the world of open access and really understand what the open access landscape looks like. 

In doing so, I've become pretty familiar with where to find information and for this purpose DOAJ is my first port of call. What you find out very quickly is that there are literally thousands of open access journals - about 10,000 - and that they constitute a very diverse, colourful group. One way to demonstrate this is to look at the metadata on the DOAJ website. Here you can find, amongst other things, a list of URLs. So, I took a screenshot of them all - the results of which you can see here (or by clicking the image below - it takes a while to load).

Why on earth did I do this? Partly as a little spare time project to see how easily it could be done but mostly because I wanted a quick way to see what all the websites looked like - i.e. how many are full-blown fancy websites backed by international publishing houses and how many are more small-scale ventures. It also allows you to more easily identify families of open access journals (scroll down and you'll see quite a bit of this). This doesn't necessarily say anything about the quality of journals (that's for readers to decide) but it does provide a visual overview in a more accessible way. Looking through the full list of 10,000 websites would take a little longer! I used a Firefox extension for this task, and it did take quite a while. The DOAJ spreadsheet I used is from late in 2013 so some more recent journals are not included. To finish with, here are some of my favourites...

'Fast Capitalism' - I love the name and the musical intro:

'Studies in Social Justice' - nice cover shot:

'International Journal of Dental Clinics' - so many languages:

'Reading in a Foreign Language' - I just like this idea:

Not sure what caught my eye about this one, but I like it: