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How many (peer reveiwed) journals are there?

David, This was not a dig at OA, and it is unfortunate that you 
view it this way.  The journal market responds to multiple 
influences.  Michael Mabe and others interested in the metrics of 
science look at how external influences (like number of 
professional researchers, number of doctorates granted, 
government sources of grants, etc.) can predict the growth of 

But journals are composed of *articles*.  In the subscription 
world, you cannot go on publishing 1, 2 or 3 articles per year. 
Librarians would line you up in their next serials cut.  Serials 
subscription agents, acting in the interest of libraries, are 
also on the lookout for signs of failing journals, such as when 
publishers are late in delivering promised issues, or combine 
several issues into one. In other words, the subscription model 
is a process that constrains the growth of journals.

When we remove subscriptions and move to an author-pays model we 
also remove the processes that constrain the growth of journals. 
This is why we can have a journal that publishes few if any 
articles each year and still continue as a journal as long as 
someone keeps the server plugged in.  If we keep this argument 
going to its extreme, there is no reason why we cannot have a 
journal for each article.  Mabe's straight line on his plot of 
the trajectory of journals will then go through the roof.

--Phil Davis

David Prosser wrote:

> Joe was careful to make clear that his question was not to do
> with the business model of journals, so it is unfortunate that
> Phil could not resist the dig at OA publishers.  Having looked at
> the first 20 titles listed by BMC I can't see one that hasn't
> published papers this year.  Some have only published a few
> papers, some have published many.  Maybe I've just missed the
> 'scores' of titles that publish no papers, but frankly I'm not
> going to check them all.  I'll just wait for Phil to produce some
> evidence to back-up his claim.
> David
> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
> [mailto:owner-liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu] On Behalf Of Phil Davis
> Sent: 05 November 2008 22:25
> To: liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
> Subject: Re: How many (peer reveiwed) journals are there?
> I'm sorry to be coy, but I don't understand how this question is
> meaningful.  Journals are defined (mostly) by the community they
> serve. While we like to think of journals as collections of
> articles, "article" also requires some definition.  And while we
> consider peer-review to be a universal standard of rigor, it is
> based on *whose* peers you are talking about.  A journal can
> still be a journal even though it publishes so infrequently, one
> would question whether calling it a journal is even appropriate.
> Look at scores of BioMedCentral or Bentham Science journals that
> seem to maintain their presence in spite of attracting no
> articles.
> To the question of "what is a journal anyway?" we should add
> "what is the sound of one hand clapping?" and ponder this for
> some time.
> --Phil Davis