Re: Request for journal/article/field statistics from Ulrichs and ISI

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Thu, 4 Sep 2003 14:59:47 +0100

> On Thu, 4 Sep 2003, Gerritsma, Wouter wrote:

> We ought to get the numbers straight. You used to quote 20,000 peer
> reviewed journals, based on Ulrich.

Correct. That was the (rounded-off) figure I was given by Ulrich's a few
years ago. The new (exact) figure from Ulrich's is 24,116 (see reply from
Yvette Diven, below). I again rounded it off: 24,000

> Using Ulrichsweb I made a quick check
> (this morning), and only found 18,846 refereed active academic/scholarly
> serials. I can't see why you increased your quote on the number of
> serials to 24,000 today, the FAQ you refered to comes with other
> figures altogether:

There seem to be several different ways of estimating total refereed
journals in Ulrichs. Web queries give one outcome; a direct query to
Ulrich's another. (Perhaps Yvette can clarify?)

> Q What does the "Ulrich's Core" consist of?
> A The "Ulrich's Core" consists of approximately 50,000 active titles
> that represent academic and scholarly journals, refereed serials,
> titles reviewed in Katz's Magazines for Libraries, and major consumer
> and trade publications.

I don't know about "Ulrich's Core" but I think Ulrich's total serials
coverage is closer to 200,000.

A recent reply from Gene Garfield, by the way, refers to
total of about 15,000 refereed *scientific* journals worldwide, of which
ISI indexes about half (the core?).

    "The key to all this is a proper definition of a journal and it
    varies all over the lot. I think 15,000 scientific journals is good
    enough. ISI covers half of these which means that they are covering
    about 75% of the... probably 1.5 million [articles published]

Garfield also uses 100 articles as his rounded-off estimate of the
average number of articles per journal (ISI's current exact figure
is about 107, and higher for science than for non-science).

That would mean, roughly, 24,000 x 100 = about 2.5 million refereed
articles annually (again rounding off for simplicity).

> It is hard to believe that the major consumer and trade publications
> consist of more than half of "Ulrich's core"

I can't follow any of that. I am interested only in estimating the
total number of refereed journals, both scientific and scholarly.

> So how many peer reviewed scholarly publications are out there?

Somewhere in the vicinity of 24K still sounds right, and about 2.5
million articles annually.

The purpose of soliciting these data was in order to estimate what
proportion of the annual 2.5 million refereed-journal articles is
open-access because it appears in open-access journals, what proportion is
open-access because it is self-archived by its authors, and how quickly
open-access is growing via these two complementary routes:

There are 500 (low-end estimate -- ) to 1000
(high-end estimate) open-access journals (i.e., 50,000 to 100,000
articles), so that means at most 5% of the annual refereed literature
of 2.5 million.

For self-archiving, Kat Hagedorn has replied that OAIster's
count for their 2002-dated self-archived full-texts
is already 115,000 (indexing nearly 200 OAI archives)
But this is really only the tip of the iceberg: OAIster does not include
all OAI archives, and even all OAI archives would not include the
much vaster quantity of research full-texts that are self-archived
on authors' ordinary websites rather than in OAI archives. (Citeseer alone harvests at least 50,000 per year
in computer science alone.)

(On the other hand, for our purposes, the OAIster figure does include some
double-counts because it also harvests some of the open-access journals,
and Kat Hagedorn replied that she still has no way of getting separate
counts for journal archives vs institutional archives.)

I am still drawing together the data received in response to my query,
so as to estimate the absolute and relative growth rate for the two
complementary sources of open-access articles (open-access publishing and
open-access self-archiving). The two are, even on the most conservative
estimates, about neck-and-neck at 5% each, but the crucial difference is
that open access through open-access publishing is also at ceiling at 5%
-- its counts can only be increased if more of the 23,000 non-OA journals
convert to OA or more new OA journals are founded and capture the 23,000
non-OA journals' authorships, giving authors more open-access journals to
publish in. The rates at which that is taking place can be extrapolated
too, but they are bound to be slow, because journals are not easy to
found, fill or convert.

In contrast, open-access through self-archiving is nowhere
near its ceiling -- which, even on the most conservative
estimate is at least at 55% currently (and actually much higher)

My guess is that it will be much easier and faster to convince the
research community and its institutions to self-archive than to found,
convert or fill new OA journals. That is why I am trying to correct the
disproportionate hopes that are currently being placed on the 5% solution
(open-access publishing) while missing the potential of the
complementary 55%-95% solution (open-access self-archiving).

> Is it an important question we have to ask ourselves anyway? I think
> it is good to have a yardstick on which we can measure the progress of
> adopting the open access model.

It is indeed an important question and yardstick. Now let us compile and
examine the comparative time-series data and projections that result!

Stevan Harnad

Date: Fri, 29 Aug 2003 12:15:01 -0400
From: "Diven, Yvette" <yvette.diven AT>
To: Stevan Harnad <harnad AT>

Dear Professor Harnad,

My apologies for the delay in getting this information to you.
Following are active-status refereed serial counts from
as of Thursday, August 28. (The data is updated weekly
with all of the past week's new and changed records.) The numbers for
refereed serials include refereed conference proceedings as well as
refereed journals. The subject headings listed below are the top-level
Ulrich's headings, and the counts for each include the counts for all
of the sub-classifications within those headings. So, for example,
"Biology" includes "Biology (General)", "Biology - Biochemistry",
"Biology - Bioengineering", "Biology - Microbiology", etc.

I hope that this information is useful to you in your Open Access Journals
research. As Director of Product Development for Serials at Bowker, I
would be thrilled if you could mention in your posted results and analysis
that the numbers are from Ulrich's. We are focused on making Ulrich's a
stronger database to aid serials research, and knowing that Ulrich's is
helping to contribute to a better understanding of the changing serials
environment is gratifying. We welcome your comments and suggestions as
to the types of additional serials data that you as a researcher would
like to see in Ulrich's. Please feel free to contact me at any time.

Kind Regards,

- Yvette



BIOLOGY -- 2,373
PHYSICS -- 660

Yvette Diven
Director, Product Management, Serials
R.R. Bowker LLC
630 Central Avenue
New Providence, NJ 07974
Local Office Phone: 415.861.3080
Received on Thu Sep 04 2003 - 14:59:47 BST

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