Thanks to all who’ve helped —
(Andrea, apm, Catherine Fitchett, Sarah Gallagher, Alison Fields, KNB, Manja Pieters, Brendan Smith, Dave, Hadrian Taylor, Theresa Rielly, Jacinta Osman, Poppa-Bear, Richard White, Sierra de la Croix, Christina Pikas, Jo Simons, and Ruth Lewis, plus some anonymous benefactors)
— all the conferences I was investigating have been investigated. 🙂 I’ve since checked everything for consistency and link rot, added in a set of references that I had to research myself as I couldn’t anonymise them sufficiently in the initial run; deduplicated a few more times – conference names vary ridiculously – and finally ended up with a total of 1849 conferences which I’ve now published at https://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.3084727.v1
The immediately obvious stats from this dataset include:
Access to proceedings
- 23.36% of conferences in the dataset had some form of free online proceedings – full-text papers, slides, or audiovisual recordings.
- 21.85% had a non-free online proceedings
- 30.72% had a physical proceedings available – printed book, CD/DVD, USB stick, etc, but not including generic references to proceedings having been given to delegates
- 45.27% had no proceedings identifiable
(Percentages don’t add to 100% as some conferences had proceedings in multiple forms.)
Access to free online proceedings by year
This doesn’t seem to have varied much over the 6 years most of the conferences took place in:
2006: 39 / 173 = 22.54%
2007: 39 / 177 = 22.03%
2008: 62 / 258 = 24.03%
2009: 63 / 284 = 22.18%
2010: 105 / 428 = 24.53%
2011: 123 / 520 = 23.65%
Conferences attended by country
Conferences attended were in 75 different countries, including those with more than 20 conferences:
New Zealand: 429
I won’t break down access to proceedings here, because this data is inherently skewed by the nature of the sample: conferences attended by New Zealand researchers. This means that small conferences in or near New Zealand are much more likely to be included than small conferences in other parts of the world. If a small conference is less resourced to put together and maintain a free online proceedings – or conversely a large society conference is prone to more traditional (non-free) publication options – this variation by conference size/type could easily outweigh any actual variation by country. So I need to do some thinking and discussing with people to see if there’s any actual meaning that can be pulled from the data as it stands. If you’ve got any thoughts on this I’d love to hear from you!
Further analysis now continues….