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Comments for Walt at Random

The library voice of the radical middle.

Last Build Date: Sun, 01 Oct 2017 17:22:08 +0000


Comment on Coffee (an OFP) by Walt Crawford

Sun, 01 Oct 2017 17:22:08 +0000

[From Simon P J Batterbury via email]: I was 8 years in the US drinking coffee that looked like it had sat in one of those glass flasks under a percolator for hours. Pretty nasty for the most part. Then 13 years spent in Australia, during which we only drank expresso machine coffee. Melbourne was colonized by Italians after WWII and they, before and after that date, are largely responsible for the wine industry and coffee houses - the first imports of the machines were from Italy. In the inner city, there are coffee places everywhere. people are extremely fussy. Even Europeans are impressed. Now I live in a small town in the UK, Lancaster, and there is an equivalent place in this rather unlikely venue for 'proper' coffee. I run and OA journal and we published a paper on fair trade coffee in the US - Peets gets an important mention and aparently Starbucks stole a key employee from them "The roots of the specialty coffee revolution in California and the US. In a related series of events, Northern California became an epicenter for the birth and growth of the specialty coffee industry, including pioneer specialty coffee roasters like Peets Coffee in Berkeley, and Thanksgiving Coffee in Fort Bragg. This industry was small throughout the 1980s before the rapid Expansion of Starbucks and Peets Coffee brought it into the mainstream by the late 1990s. In fact, Starbucks' first roastmaster was hired away from Peet's coffee. The San Francisco Bay Area was an important node for both the specialty coffee industry and the Central American Peace and Solidarity Movement (CAPSM). Many international solidarity delegations, led by organizations like Witness for Peace, traveled to Nicaragua, and picked coffee in war zones (Burbach 2009). These experiences changed the perspectives and awakened the Bacon Fair Trade coffee networks political consciousness among thousands of people that later returned to their Western countries to become academics, business leaders and politicians. They often returned home with several bags of terrible tasting coffee (product quality was not an issue among those interested in politics at the time) and attempted to sell solidarity-based coffee to their friends, church congregations, and political allies. Others would go on to build businesses and certification agencies (e.g. Paul Rice, CEO of TransFair USA). Some people, like Paul Katzeff, would dramatically influence the structure of the coffee industry. Originally from New York, Paul Katzeff is a self-described 1960s radical who claims to have once run Hunter S. Thompson's campaign for Sheriff in Aspen, Colorado, before moving to Northern California to found one of the earlier artisan coffee roasting companies in 1972. Katzeff's life and work tell the story that connects the Central American Peace and Solidarity Movement with sustainability innovations, and Fair Trade coffee more than anybody else. After studying agronomy at Cornell University and later employment as a social worker, he returned to New York City to work in his father's grocery store. He also became active in tenant housing organizing efforts. The combination of a broken heart, Beatnik poets and the ocean were enough to inspire Katzeff's continued Westward migration. He eventually moved to Mendocino, California, co-founded Thanksgiving Coffee Company (TCC) with Joan Katzeff and spent plenty of time in the Bay Area. "

Comment on Cites & Impasse: feedback desired by Walt Crawford

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 15:22:23 +0000

I think there are two somewhat separate issues here. One is whether the OA-related work, and specifically the research, is worth doing and is effective. The answer there is certainly "yes" for Gray Open Access Journals--the 2011-2015 study has been downloaded and presumably read more than anything I've done in the last decade (I think March 2017 downloads have passed 3,000!) and I'm sure it's being used. I've been (and am) frustrated on my apparent inability to move the discussion of "predatory" journals by doing a 100% survey, but it's clear that other OA-related work has done better. The gray-OA study wouldn't happen again in any case (although I might do a partial update this summer in order to get a "total" picture of gold OA activity): too much work, too little readership, and the source list isn't being updated. The second issue is Cites & Insights--which was never intended as a "mostly Open Access" publication. (Indeed, I stopped writing about OA at C&I altogether for a couple of years). I could change C&I into a "mostly OA with digressions" thing, or I could continue with it on a less frequent publication dealing with libraries, technology, media and policy--and their intersections, such as OA. That's still up in the air.

Comment on Cites & Impasse: feedback desired by Marc Couture

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 15:07:27 +0000

I think I didn't understand well (not even sure I now do, though) what you meant by "C&I isn’t entirely going away [yet], but could become a mostly-OA-supporting-material outlet. Or not." Im my previous comment, I focused on your rather bleak, but totally unjustified, assessment of your role and influence ("not worth doing"; "repetitious and irrelevant"). It's true that your very detailed analyses and syntheses/reviews, of the type that one usually finds in limited-readership documents like theses and research reports, are not designed to become the most read around. But they are *extremely* valuable, even irreplaceable, for those (like me) who read them. To get to the point, what do I think of the inclusion of non-OA-related subjects in C&I from time to time? Well, it doesn't harm, and it often makes for pleasant reading (I particularly enjoy your sense of humour). The bottom line is that I hope it doesn't distract you from what you do better than anybody. I haven't seen any sign of this so far.

Comment on Cites & Impasse: feedback desired by Walt Crawford

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 21:31:47 +0000

Thank you for that comment. I won't just throw in the towel; one question (so far not much addressed) is whether Cites & Insights should continue to be about more than OA. Still thinking. I'll revisit this to think more.

Comment on Cites & Impasse: feedback desired by Marc Couture

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 20:15:37 +0000

First, I must say that I find your work truly invaluable. I wrote that much in various comments on blogs and other media, for instance here What you do is the kind of work (or hobby) I could envision as a recently retired researcher used to do such thorough analyses, but I’m not sure I would have your patience and dedication. I also understand well why “younger, more energetic people” (I leave out the ‘and probably brighter’ part) don’t rush to do it: too much work for too little results that count, academically speaking. I’m sad to see that, focussing on your download data (which don’t seem bad to me, considering the sheer size of your always relevant discussions) and continuing dominance of the Shen & Bjork (S&B) result, you think that you don’t influence the discussions regarding “predatory” journals. On the contrary, I notice that both your more technical studies (OA landscapes) and your other works (syntheses, opinion pieces), though not peer-reviewed, are regularly mentioned, and most often praised in these discussions. These are found mainly on blogs and the like, but they are also cited in peer-reviewed papers (see , for instance) and prestigious venues (Nature News, This can be related to the ongoing debate about scholarly journals in general, and peer-review (open or not) in particular. It demonstrates that researchers are more and more prone to consider works found in alternative, non-peer-reviewed venues, if they them interesting and rigorous. It’s a type post-publication peer-review, along the more formal types seen on PubPeer, where there is one on the S&B paper (which refers to a detailed discussion on Retraction Watch, where someone mentioned your work, and to which you contributed). So I can just hope you don’t “throw in the towel”, and keep on providing us all these so badly needed information, data, and exhaustive reviews. Returning to the specific issue of the Shen & Bjork surprising figure, that they refused to discuss on Retraction Watch, I had told you privately that, ideally, it should be challenged in another peer-reviewed paper, that I was considering writing. I’m now revising my intentions, in part because such a paper would have to include much more than only another, certainly more accurate, value of this figure. It should discuss, for instance, the very notion of predatory/ illegitimate/ greyOA journals, the various criteria and methodologies used or proposed by organizations to build black or white lists and, hence, their purpose, value, and relevance. However, I realize that many recent papers have been published around these same issues. Furthermore, I wonder if, assuming this article would eventually be published, it would really settle the issue. If the main goal is to determine rigorously the number of articles published by fraudulent, deceptive or illegitimate journals, then the large inaccuracy of the S&B results, which they acknowledge in a way by describing them as “rough estimates”, is much less important than the fragility of their main assumption, namely that all Beall’s lists journals are predatory. As you pointed out, S&B high numbers shrink again when one restricts itself to cases in which Beall ‘made a case’. The only useful thing I could see is to take every opportunity to add, when feasible, some nuance to the oft-repeated simplistic statement “420 k articles were published in predatory journals in 2014”. For instance, one could explain that a more rigorous statement would be: “Reported estimates of the number of articles published in predatory journals in 2014 vary widely, from abo[...]

Comment on Cites & Impasse: feedback desired by simon batterbury

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 08:28:02 +0000

I have found your work very insightful and today I am giving a presentation about OA and journals to the Institute of Social Futures at Lancaster University UK. Anything that shows trends in the sector is very welcome - we have a fight on, still , in social sciences with about 65% of WoS journals controlled by five publishers. Thanks for your work. I only go though about 300 journals for my website on reliabel social sci journals - you do 10000... (and yes I did pay for the book I downloaded!)

Comment on Cites & Impasse: feedback desired by Walt Crawford

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 15:06:06 +0000

Cameron: I don't know how I'd go about getting C&I articles (not scholarly, not refereed) into a database or getting DOIs, but I suspect either/both would require significant time/energy. (DOIs aren't free...and I'm not sure what kind of database would be appropriate for C&I.) In practice, C&I is searchable through the search box on the home page (http://citesandinsights,info), although that also gets results from this blog. Google itself also indexes both C&I and the blog, to be sure. I'm not sure what more I can do in that regard...for that matter, if/when I stop doing C&I it's unclear how long I'd retain the domain, although it is or was archived by at least one agency [and there's always IA]. Also, I stopped doing HTML separates because there was very little readership and no additional support, and they represented extra hassle. It does appear that there's *some* broader longterm value: at least so far, when I do the monthly stats, every issue shows at least one download. As for GOAJ, I'm sure there are ways to automate some or most of the work, but we'r not there yet (and possibly because I spent five decades as an analyst/programmer, I find myself reluctant to resume programming!). Meanwhile, I'm trying to find the balance. Sorry for the slight delay: I can't imagine why, but the filters I used trapped this comment as spam. Fortunately, I check such comments almost every day.

Comment on Cites & Impasse: feedback desired by Cameron Neylon

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 10:54:20 +0000

This may or may not be helpful, but I wonder if one aspect of C&I which is worth considering is their long term historical value. I actually find myself not infrequently dipping back into an old issue to try and understand what the state of play was at a particular time. Is it worth for instance getting the individual articles into an index to make them searchable and get them DOIs etc? I do think that data work on GOAJ is crucial and as you say not being done elsewhere (I do keep meaning to go back to the question of whether there are ways to automate some of that). I also think under the circumstances of the current external environment that taking time to burrow, catch up on reading or whatever activity is most effective is an extremely valid use of time.

Comment on Hybrid OA: 2-3% of gold OA? by Valerie Hawkins

Sat, 24 Dec 2016 08:02:27 +0000

You're welcome, Walt! Open access is the way forward!

Comment on Cites & Insights Nov/Dec 2016 (16:9) available by Kate W

Sun, 06 Nov 2016 03:32:43 +0000

I appreciate all your work and so many years of interesting writing, Walt.