Chronos

Chronos is a new Gates Foundation website, offering a closed list of open access journals to publish in…

“Gates-funded researchers and Gates employees will use this service [to] search for journals offering open access options”

It’s non-public, and is presumably in the form of a whitelist. It’ll be interesting to see if the list becomes public at some point.

Another predatory journal sting

Predatory journals recruit fake editor, a new sting published by Nature. The sample in the study was a…

“pseudo-randomly select [of] 120 English-language journals that matched Szust’s expertise from each list. [JCR, DOAJ, and Beall’s List]”

The fake editor’s profile seems somewhat skewed toward the result the researchers may have been hoping for, having purported expertise in…

“the theory of science and sport, cognitive sciences and methodological bases of social sciences”.

It doesn’t seem that the proportion of the psuedo-random pick from each list was weighted, to account for the relative numbers of journals on each list which matched the editor’s profile. But since it’s been published by Nature, one has to assume that maybe the methodology was sound. The results are about what one might expect…

“40 predatory [Beall’s List] and 8 DOAJ journals appointed her as an editor … Of the 8 DOAJ journals that accepted Szust as editor, 6 remain on the directory as of March 2017.”

I note that, though perhaps it’s a co-incidence, the DOAJ has just thrown out a great many Bentham journal titles from their directory, citing ‘Suspected editorial misconduct by publisher’.

I should probably note here that Bentham has never been directly indexed in JURN, and that JURN doesn’t actively seek to directly index social studies or psychology or general education studies journals. Although some university titles in those areas will be incidentally included via general direct indexing of multi-journal OJS installations and repositories at universities. Such titles will also be included via JURN picking up article records from the DOAJ, Paperity, J-Stage and similar trusted aggregators.

DuckDuckGo MultiColumns fix – March 2017

The old DuckDuckGo MultiColumns v.5 script no longer works with the Duck’s search results page. Upgrading to DuckDuckGo – Multi-Columns v.7 fixes the problem.

1. You first need to remove the 0.5 script, which is found under: Tools | Addons | User Scripts.

2. Install version 0.7. This will show up is a new place, under: Tools | Addons | UserStyles.

3. The script’s garish results numbering will default to ‘visible’, but it’s easy to fix this. Click on Edit to edit the script. Change both results numbering colour codes to the same neutral colour hex code…

The result of this change is that the distracting red/gold flash of the results numbering becomes a simple light blue-grey dot, which gently aids the eye in passing across the results but which doesn’t distract…

4. To also change the garish tomato + violet colours of the domain + link URL in each result, to the more restful blues shown above, fix the colour hexes in the script here…

For a traditional green look, try a colour combination like #089000 and #479458

5. To fix the colour of the highlighted word(s) in the results snippet, fix the colour here. I’ve set it to a dark blue that’s not quite black…

Then press Save to save the changed script.

Then, to prevent such changes being overwritten, turn off automatic updates for the script.

That’s it. Enjoy multicolumn desktop-friendly searching in DuckDuckGo…

Open Access Classics Serials catalogue

Excellent, there’s going to be a dedicated public catalogue for Open Access Classics Serials, building on the outstanding work done by AWOL. Although its planners note that…

“A certain amount of iteration and even manual curation of data is likely to be necessary.”

Indeed. A vision of ‘herding cats into a library, and then asking them to sit in neat rows’ springs instantly to mind. If it were me, I’d consider skipping past the years of fiddling with trying to make/align/cajole automated inputs which are ‘library science friendly’ from over 1,500 journals — and instead go straight to the crowd and their keyboards. Via outreach to Fiverr-like $5 gig-workers, especially to needy scholars in places like Bangladesh1 and Africa, to do the few months of manual keyboard bashing required to make such a catalogue totally comprehensive.

What would the cost of that be? Well, at $10 per manual input of data/links on 50 articles, adding AWOL’s 50,000 articles into an OJS setup… that’s a piffling $10,000 and would have a usefully-searchable catalogue done in a few months. I’m assuming an OJS installation can scale to provide a unified mirror for the TOCs/abstracts/metadata of 1,500+ journals, but perhaps Persee’s WooCommerce template system might scale better (as well as being much more elegant to look at). Then perhaps add another $5,000 for volleys of curator-directed $10 gigs to ’round up the strays’, and to get second-opinion proofreading and error-correction.

Of course, AWOL’s posts sometime list volumes alone rather than volumes + articles, so there would be a certain amount of additional build-out and extra cost beyond the initial scooping of AWOL into catalogue form. But that might not cost a great deal extra on top of the initial $15k. Even with management and web-hosting costs the v1.0 version of the catalogue could probably all be done very comprehensively for less than $30,000. A small Foundation, a Kickstarter, or even a private consortium of 60 classics professors (x $500 each) should be able to easily raise that.


1. A skilled Bangladeshi purchasing and inventory clerk, a job which seems an apt comparison for data entry, currently earns an average of around $250 U.S. per month. A Bangladeshi teacher earns about $180 per month. Assuming a carefully-done entry of data and links on 50 articles (paying $10) per day, over 28 days such work would pay a needy scholar a good local monthly wage of $280.