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Making sense of flipping data

Simon Hart (University of Otago – Dunedin Campus, Dunedin, New Zealand)
Scott Nicholls (University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia)
Howard Amos (University of Otago – Dunedin Campus, Dunedin, New Zealand)
Jill Benn (University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia)

Performance Measurement and Metrics

ISSN: 1467-8047

Article publication date: 11 October 2019

Issue publication date: 3 December 2019




The purpose of this paper is to detail the approach used in a project that worked with journal publication, subscription and article processing charges (APC) data. The project aim was to test if the resources allocated by the Matariki Network of Universities, a group of seven medium-sized universities, would pay for APC at the current level of publishing activity.


Data were collated and analysed from three years (2015–2017) for each of the seven partners.


A range of assumptions were made in dealing with the data. It was difficult to identify a subscription package that was common to all the partners. Data were not always consistent and in some instances it was incomplete. An iterative and flexible approach was required in this project. Even though testing had been carried out during planning, changes had to be made as the project was carried out. The timetable had to be flexible as those working on the project dealt with their day-to-day operational priorities and to enable each of the partners to contribute as resources allowed.

Practical implications

As alternative models of scholarly journal publication are evolving, it is important that the implications of these be tested to inform planning. Details of this testing need to be shared so that others can confirm the results, consider the approach and apply lessons learned.


This paper focuses on the details of the investigation so that others interested in repeating this project, or carrying out a similar project, can consider this in their planning.



Hart, S., Nicholls, S., Amos, H. and Benn, J. (2019), "Making sense of flipping data", Performance Measurement and Metrics, Vol. 20 No. 3, pp. 159-167.



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