For over a decade, Walt Crawford been writing books about open access. With one exception published by ALA, they are all freely available as PDF files. What makes Crawford’s books stand apart is his in-depth, incisive investigation of key global open access trends. Some of the recent books were sponsored by SPARC. These books belong in every academic library’s cataloged collection.
This book looks at the long tail of gold OA—for 2021, the 13,714 DOAJ-listed journals that are not published by one of what I call the Big Eleven: eleven publishers or publishing groups, including two university presses and one society, that dominate fee-based OA. You could think of them as Corporate OA, except for the society and universities, and the fact that several traditional publishers such as De Gruyter are included in the long tail.
Chapter 6 of Gold Open Access 2016-2021: Articles in Journals (GOA7) discusses the Big Eleven and the Long Tail; the Big Eleven are named on page 45. The group publishes 17% of the serious journals, but 55% of the 2021 articles and 89% of potential fee (APC) revenues.
Gold OA continues to grow: by around 1,500 active journals, 170,000 articles, and nearly half a billion dollars in fees in 2021. This study attempts to answer questions about the state of serious gold OA publishing in 2021 (and how it’s changed over the past few years).
The overall picture in 2021:
- 1,275,212 articles, up from 1,104,179 in 2020 (for the current set of journals), an increase of 15.5%. My estimate is that around 2,200 journals were added to DOAJ during 2021 and around 700 were deleted during the year.
- 16,620 fully-analyzed journals, of which 15,643 published articles in 2021, for an average of 82 articles per journal (up from 75 in last year’s report).
- The usual articles-vs.-journals split continues: 68% of active journals are no-fee, but 69% of articles appeared in fee journals The average cost per article was $1,374 in 2021, up around $170 from 2020.
The rest of this book provides more detail and ways of looking at gold OA. The book is patterned after previous editions.
While some discussions and tables involve the full 16,620 journals, most—where 2021 article counts are fundamental—address only 15,643, ignoring 977 journals with no 2021 articles when checked.