Gold and Diamond open access journals landscape

By Victoria Ficarra, 23/09/2020

This work was prepared by Maurits van der Graaf of Pleiade Management & Consultancy in collaboration with our Director, Rob Johnson at Research Consulting. The aim of this work is to bring awareness and accessibility to the dataset produced by Walt Crawford on OA journals (GOAJ) and his accompanying publications.

The interactive dashboard below, prepared by Maurits van der Graaf, with input from our director, Rob Johnson, was recently presented at the OASPA Conference 2020.

The dashboard

The dashboard uses the dataset produced by Walt Crawford on OA journals (GOAJ), which is based on DOAJ data but with added information, for instance on the number of articles published and the types of publishers. Recently, the dataset has been updated with 2019 data and its results are extensively described in the book Gold Open Access 2014-2019.

The purpose of this dashboard is to stimulate usage of this dataset, as this is a resource which is, in our view, currently underused by the Scholarly Communication community. The dashboard is fully interactive and clickable, and, with the Ctrl key, it is possible to click several items simultaneously. With the symbol in the bottom right corner, it is possible to enlarge the dashboard for greater visibility (as circled in red below).

The dashboard offers four key perspectives. These are:

  1. Journals: the numbers of Diamond and Gold journals, the number of articles published in 2014-2019 and a timeline of newly started journals since 2000;
  2. Disciplines: the number of journals and articles per discipline; and the percentage of journals per subject;
  3. Publishers: the number of publishers per category; the 21 big publishers (>5000 articles in 2019 published) versus the rest; and
  4. Regions and Countries: the numbers of journals per world region and per country.

Readers of this blog are invited to discover the landscape of Gold and Diamond journals via the dashboard below. (Please note that this is best viewed via desktop).

Note: For the purpose of this work, we define Gold journals as OA journals based on the APC-model (also called APC-Gold journals) and Diamond journals as OA journals without any costs for the authors, supported by other financial means (also called sponsored OA journals).

The majority of OA titles are Diamond, but the number of articles published by Diamond journals is levelling off…

  • Diamond more titles, Gold more articles: Of the 13939 OA journal titles, over 70% of them are Diamond. However, most articles (>60%) are published by Gold journals.
  • Gold grows, Diamond levels off: The number of articles published by Gold journals is growing rapidly, while the number of articles published by Diamond journals is levelling off. The number of newly started Diamond journals has also been declining since 2013.

Prominence of Diamond differs dependent on subject…

  • SSH: In the Social Sciences and Humanities, Diamond journals are predominant, publishing more than three quarters of articles.
  • Biomedicine: The number of Gold and Diamond journals in Biomedicine is about the same but Gold journals publish many more articles.
  • Science: In Science, there are more Diamond than Gold journals but Gold journals publish many more articles.

Just under 5,000 publishers publish Diamond journals…

  • 6310 publishers: 4982 of these publishers are publishing Diamond journals, 1008 are publishing Gold journals and 320 are publishing both journal types.
  • Four categories: Crawford has categorised each publisher into five categories: University-related, society/government, OA publisher, traditional publisher and miscellaneous. There are three main observations when looking at these categories:
    • University-related publishers publish a large number of journals (8357), predominantly Diamond.
    • OA publishers publish Gold and Diamond journals, with the Gold journals publishing over half of the articles published.
    • Traditional publishers publish chiefly Gold journals with over 20% of the articles published in that journal type.
  • 21 Big publishers and the long tail: 21 publishers published over 5000 articles in 2019. These 21 publish 50% of the articles (87% in Gold journals) in their 2593 journal titles. The other 13,917 publishers publish the other half of the articles, chiefly in Diamond journals.

Number of OA articles published changes by geographical region…

  • Europe: Nearly half of the OA journals and 60% of the articles are published in Europe.
  • Latin America: Latin America gets the second place regarding the number of journals. The large majority of those journals is Diamond.
  • Asia and the Middle East: In Asia, a mix of Diamond and Gold journals are published, while in the Middle East Diamond journals are dominant.
  • North America: Only 6% of the journal titles are published in North America, publishing 12% of all articles. 

We hope that this dashboard will enable greater accessibility to, and awareness of the data pulled together by Walt Crawford and his accompanying publications. More widely we hope that its findings will aid those working towards greater accessibility to scholarly information.

Disclaimer: The GOAJ2019 dataset was downloaded in August 2020 from Figshare. Microsoft Power BI was used to make the dashboard and to adapt the dataset with regards to the world regions[1]. In addition, we sometimes used different terminology than Walt Crawford[2].

[1] East- and West Europe were combined into Europe. A combination of USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand was split in North America (USA, Canada) and Australia/New Zealand.

[2] No fee journals = Diamond journals; Fee journals = Gold journals.