WARNING: doaj.co, doaj.net


Two URLs have been brought to our attention which I wanted to alert the community to. The first, doaj.co, has been made to look just like DOAJ and the second, doaj.net, has been set up to look like a journal. Please be extremely wary of both of these URLs. Neither of these sites are related to DOAJ or are sanctioned by DOAJ in any way.

doaj.co is clearly a bad screen scrape of our site. At the time of writing, it has no functionality whatsoever. We have made contact with the site owner but have received no response.

doaj.net purports to be a journal. DOAJ does not publish journal content and has no connection whatsoever with the company, Modern European Researches(!), which claims to be behind doaj.net.

It has become almost standard practice when registering a URL to buy up all of the alternatives or variants. This is a costly process (and extremely lucrative for some!) and something for which DOAJ doesn’t have the funds. The best we can do is monitor what variants on our URL are up to and alert our community to anything suspicious.

If you spot any other doaj URL variants then do please let us know by leaving a comment below.

Dom Mitchell
Operations Manager

DOAJ’s Mission (updated March 2018)

DOAJ has just updated its mission to take into account our new Education and Outreach program. I thought that this would be a good opportunity to highlight and explain the elements of the mission in detail.

DOAJ’s mission is to increase the visibility, accessibility, reputation, usage and impact of quality, peer-reviewed, open access scholarly research journals globally, regardless of discipline, geography or language. DOAJ will work with editors, publishers and journal owners to help them understand the value of best practice publishing and standards and apply those to their own operations. DOAJ is committed to being 100% independent and maintaining all of its services and metadata as free to use or reuse for everyone.

…to increase the visibility, accessibility, reputation, usage and impact of quality, peer-reviewed, open access scholarly research journals…

DOAJ’s aim has always been to increase the international reputation of open access publishing. Over the past couple of years, DOAJ has become a kite mark of quality, signifying that a journal a) meets the high criteria laid out in our application form and b) that a journal or publisher adheres to best practice as laid out in the Principles of Transparency and Best Practice. DOAJ encourages 100% open journals over hybrid journals, altmetrics over impact factors, any form of peer review to verify journal content quality, the use of permanent article identifiers and long-term digital preservation systems.

…research journals globally, regardless of discipline, geography or language…


Top 10 Countries in DOAJ

DOAJ realises that open access isn’t confined to the Global North and certainly not the English language. (A quick look at the top 10 countries with journals indexed in DOAJ will show you that.) Indeed, we see most advances in open access publishing coming from the Global South where open access is a default and is often mandated at government level. Open access isn’t limited to scientific, technical or medical journals (STM) but runs the entire gamut of scholarly publishing to include social sciences and humanities (SSH) titles too. DOAJ’s Education and Outreach program ensures that the DOAJ message remains globally relevant.


DOAJ will work with editors, publishers and journal owners to help them understand the value of best practice publishing and standards and apply those to their own operations.

DOAJ understands that standards and best practices can be daunting and that achieving those takes resource and can be hard to do alone. DOAJ wants to improve the overall quality, or perceived quality, of open access and believes that to do this, it must help journals and publishers to raise their game. Therefore DOAJ has a “helping hand” policy under which it will work with publishers, journal owners and editors to show them the value of best practice and standards and how to meet certain levels required to be accepted into DOAJ.

DOAJ is committed to being 100% independent…

DOAJ is owned by an independent C.I.C. (community interest company) called IS4OA. The statutes of the CIC ensure that DOAJ may not be sold. IS4OA was formed for the sole purpose of ensuring that DOAJ could continue as an independent entity after it moved away from Lund University in 2013. DOAJ is funded entirely by voluntary donations, either via membership or sponsorship and IS4OA is committed to keeping it that way.

…maintaining all of its services and metadata as free to use or reuse for everyone.

In the true spirit of open access—the BOAI definition of open access on which the DOAJ has built its criteria —the entire corpus of metadata in DOAJ will always be free to everyone. DOAJ will never charge for the provision of its metadata or for any of its services, be they online or in person. Other content on the site is licensed with a Creative Commons license and the codebase which DOAJ is built on is open source.

Dom Mitchell
Operations Manager

Copyright and Licensing – Part 3

In 2016, we published 2 blog posts on copyright and licensing: Part1 and Part 2In these posts we explained and illustrated that copyright and licensing are two different things linked by the fact that licenses can only be granted by copyright holders. Here is Part 3, a guest post by our Editor-in-Chief, Tom Olijhoek.


In this post I want to discuss the practice by some open access publishers of not using Creative Commons licenses but using their own constructions for publisher specific licenses. A reason for this may be, for example, that the government of the country of the publisher does not recognise the (American company derived) Creative Commons licensing.

DOAJ accepts journals that do not use CC licensing ONLY if the specifics of the publisher licenses match the conditions of Creative Commons licenses. That is to say that licenses need to be compliant with the BOAI conditions of Open Access and need to allow for immediate access to all materials, with implicit permission to download , share, distribute and use the material for lawful purposes.

To better explain what DOAJ will and will not accept, I want to highlight some real life examples.

Example 1:  Copyright transfer agreement in conflict with open access

Let’s have a look at a case where the publishers use a copyright transfer agreement conflicting with the conditions of the Creative Commons License applied to the same work.

Publisher [x] has a copyright transfer agreement (CTA) saying:

The Author(s) agree that all copies of the Work made under any of the above rights shall prominently include the following copyright notice: “© XXXX [year] X. One print or electronic copy may be made for personal use only. Systematic reproduction and distribution, duplication of any material in this paper for a fee or for commercial purposes, or modifications of the content of this paper are prohibited.”

This is in clear conflict with the conditions of BOAI Open Access and also with the use of the CC BY-NC license used by the very same journal.

After discussions with the publisher, two passages in the CTA now read:

[x] shall make the final, published version of the article freely available on the [x] Publishing platform without charge to the user or his/her institution. Users are allowed to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full text of the article, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without asking prior permission from the publisher or the Author(s). This is in accordance with the BOAI definition of open access
Copyright Notice The Author(s) agree that all copies of the Work made under any of the above rights shall prominently include the following copyright notice© XXXX [year] [x] Users may use, reuse, and build upon the article, or use the article for text or data mining, so long as such uses are for non-commercial purposes and appropriate attribution is maintained. All other rights are reserved.

I also want elaborate on the point that publishers often demand a copyright transfer agreement with a range of arguments like:

[x] needs copyright for an article because, as publisher, [x] is in the best position to defend the article legally. In addition, transfer of copyright assures [x] that the work in question is entirely the author’s own. Once again, the purpose of transfer of copyright is not to prevent the author from reuse of his or her own work, as long as this doesn’t involve republication in a competing journal or other competing resource.

DOAJ holds the policy that leaving the copyright with the author is best practice. The publisher will only need publishing rights. For this reason journals of publishers who leave the copyright with the author are eligible for the DOAJ Seal.

Example 2: Copyright statement in conflict with open access:

© Copyrights of all the papers published in Journal of XXX are with its publisher, [x] [Country]. Users have the right to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of articles in the journal, and that users can use and reuse material in the journal as long as attribution is given when appropriate or necessary. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the publisher.

Example 3: License in conflict with open access:

You may read, download, print, copy, search, link to the full text, or use them for any lawful purpose not otherwise prohibited here. You may not modify, create derivative works from, participate in the transfer or sale of, post on the World Wide Web, or in any way exploit the Site or any portion thereof for any public or commercial use without the express written permission of [x]

Example 4: License  in conflict with open access:

Reproduction, posting, transmission or other distribution or use of the article or any material therein, requires credit to the article author as copyright holder. Permission does not need to be obtained for downloading, printing, or linking to [Repository] content. Individuals have the right to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of articles in the Journal XXX and to use them for any other lawful purpose…

/// same document:
Libraries interested in printing a paper from Journal of XXX for their permanent collection should contact the journal editors responsible for posting the paper. The requesting library can then gain copyright clearance from the paper’s author(s). People seeking an exception, or who have questions about use, should contact the editors.

It may be evident from the statements above that the use of non-Creative Commons licenses and the use of copyright transfer agreements make the evaluation of open access  journals on acceptable copyright and licensing conditions difficult and time consuming. At the same time the different conditions created by publishers in these cases make it very confusing for authors and users to know their rights.  I realise that the issue of copyright and licensing ranks among one of the most difficult issues of open access publishing. Therefore I strongly recommend that publishers make use of the excellent Creative Commons licensing schemes and also leave copyright for published works with the authors. Again, these conditions are the key requirements for obtaining the DOAJ Seal of Excellence in open access publishing.

I sincerely hope that the number of DOAJ Seal journals in DOAJ will continue to rise!

Tom Olijhoek

(Copyright and licensing information specific to completing an application is also available.)

ISSN and DOAJ: a renewed partnership

DOAJ is delighted to announce the renewal of its partnership with ISSN. DOAJ is heavily reliant on issn.org (the ISSN database) as having a fully registered and confirmed ISSN is one of the first checks that the Editorial Team undertakes when considering applications. For DOAJ, obtaining an ISSN for a journal is the first of many steps that a publisher can take to show that a journal intends to adhere to Best Practice.

As well as using the ISSN database as a reference point, DOAJ and ISSN are committed to assist each other in improving the quality of each database. DOAJ will send corrections to ISSN; ISSN will help ensure that DOAJ always has correct and up-to-date ISSNs. Furthermore, DOAJ metadata is used to enrich the ISSN’s daughter service, ROAD.

Launched in 2013, ROAD, Directory of Open Access Scholarly Resources, is a service which provides:

“free access to those ISSN bibliographic records which describe scholarly resources in Open Access: journals, monographic series, conference proceedings, academic repositories and scholarly blogs. These records, created by the ISSN Network (89 National Centres worldwide + the International Centre), are enriched by information extracted from indexing and abstracting databases, directories (DOAJ, Latindex, The Keepers registry) and journals indicators (Scopus).”

DOAJ is delighted to work in partnership with ISSN and is looking forward to a continued fruitful collaboration.

Open Access in the Francophone Global South: Between Collective Empowerment and Neocolonialism

This is a guest post by Florence Piron from Université Laval, Québec, Canada.


An anthropologist and ethicist, Florence Piron is a professor in the Department of Information and Communication at Université Laval where she teaches courses on ethics and democracy. She is the founding President of the Association for Science and Common Good and its open access publishing house. She is interested in the links between science, society and culture, both as a researcher and advocate for a science that is more open, inclusive, socially responsible and focused on the common good. She’s doing research on open science, and cognitive justice with universities in Africa and Haiti.


Two major issues are often lacking within the general conversation about open access, whether in blogs, discussion lists or papers. Indeed, their invisibility is in itself a symptom of the problem that I want to briefly expose here.

The first issue is the difference between openness and accessibility. Depending on where a person lives or what their resources are, they may forget that there exists such a difference, whereas it is obvious to others. A door may be open, but if a person does not have the ability to walk or find the path that leads to it, if many obstacles prevent them from moving forward, they will not be able to go through it: what then is the value or the meaning of the door’s openness? In other words, are articles and books in open access always accessible  and, if not, what does openness really mean? This question demands that more precise social and political analyses of accessibility be added to the usual discussions of publishers, copyright or policies.

The second issue concerns what lies behind the door, in other words what kind of knowledge is so precious that the opening of the door to get it justifies all kinds of fighting and arguing and huge amounts of money? This fundamental epistemological debate seems to me very seldom dealt with within the general conversation about open access. Should all types of knowledge be covered by the open access movement? Or only the “science” that lies within the boundaries of the Web of Science, Google Scholar and Scopus databases, that is to say the “centre” of the science world-system? Should knowledge produced outside these boundaries, for instance non-English non-indexed knowledge produced in universities from the periphery of the science world-system, be left out of the fight for open access because it is not “properly scientific”?  Should the invisibility of knowledge coming from minorities or the Global South continue to be seen as not a problem?

A detour to the Global South, particularly Haiti and Francophone Sub-Saharan African universities where I have been doing research for several years through the SOHA project (Piron et al. 2016, 2017), can open eyes and ears. In the North, open access is equivalent to effective access because a researcher or a student always has a computer, web access, electricity and a basic digital literacy that enable them to have immediate access to everything that is open. But this is not the case in the Francophone Global South, where our SOHA project has identified and documented several huge cognitive injustices. In this part of the world, not only is Internet access far from being generalized and remains very expensive, but students often touch a computer for the first time when entering university, lecturers rarely know how to use the web in their teaching and sometimes mistrust it, electricity can be cut for several hours a day, the quality of the connection is usually very low and connectivity is often not the priority of university leaders. Most important of all is the fact that digitalization of African theses and journals is very rare, which contributes to their invisibility. We have also met African academics who still hope to compensate for their meagre salary by selling books and are thus opposed to open access in general. Let’s add that very few of these countries have a research and innovation policy able to fund research, libraries and equipment, so that they usually depend on “partners” from the North who have their own research agenda, a neocolonial situation in itself (Mvé-Ondo 2005). That many people manage to do brilliant research there, without leaving to the North, is a feat in itself! Believing that “open access” is the grand solution to problems of research in the Global South is therefore a huge mistake, mirroring the general ignorance of the centre about the periphery. Open access is a necessary, but not at all sufficient, condition.

The second issue may be more complex to grasp, since it is of a socio-epistemological nature. Let’s just recall here the postcolonial and feminist scholarship that has shown that “science” is in fact a situated (fascinating) knowledge anchored in European male white history which became hegemonic during Modernity and its colonial project. This knowledge carries a specific epistemology based on the hope of producing a decontextualized (“universal”), neutral (value-free, culture-free, gender-free), explicative, predictive type of knowledge which I call “positivist” in short. Such a knowledge, defined as a normative ideal, obviously considers any mention of cultural/political context as irrelevant or even anti-science, anti-truth. Let’s do it anyway. If open access only concerns the hegemonic positivist science that is produced and showcased in journals obeying the norms and rules created in the North, it would contribute to maintaining other epistemologies or knowledges not quite following the said rules in their state of invisibility and inaccessibility, whether in the North or in the (Francophone) Global South. Yet these knowledges are indispensable to overcome the challenges in these countries, each country needing local relevant nuanced knowledge that could help its action, that “speaks” to local social actors.

In summary, if open access reinforces the visibility and usability of papers, theses and books from the North (even if only because they have a digital life), knowledge from the (Francophone) Global South, mainly constituted by un-digitized theses and research reports (Piron et al. 2017), will remain invisible and little used, unless published in journals from the North. This is why, if open access is only interpreted as facilitating access to “science” without any analysis of material conditions of access and without any conscience of the necessity of maintaining a “knowledge diversity” within an ecology of knowledges (Santos 2007), it could become just another tool of neocolonialism.

Conversely, open access can become a formidable tool of collective empowerment for the Global South – and of improvement of world science –  if its leaders and proponents make a sincere commitment to creating and maintaining within “science” a real openness to the plurality of epistemologies, of knowledges (in the plural form) and of normative frameworks. My African and Haitian colleagues and I have been working on numerous concrete projects in this regard, notably a pan-African open repository. We are convinced that DOAJ could also play a major role not only in showcasing African and Haitian journals without necessarily imposing on them a rigid normative positivist framework, but also in helping journals from the North become more open to epistemologies, languages and ideas from the Global South.

Let me conclude with a sad paradox: many critics of hegemonic science, whether from a decolonial, feminist or constructivist standpoint, do not care whether their own work is available in open access or not, and therefore accessible or not to the people suffering from cognitive injustices… The road is long!

References Continue reading

New Sponsorship Model from 2018

From January 2018, DOAJ has introduced a tiered system of sponsorship – a structure which is tried and tested and that, we believe, will meet our current sponsors’ expectations and hopefully raise our appeal to new sponsors. To make sure that the model remains realistic, we have tiered pricing for both commercial and non-commercial entities.

Read the report on our main achievements in 2017, as well as developments for the year ahead.

All sponsors are able to use our new logos below on their web sites and promotional materials etc. The logos are coloured according to the level of sponsorship. A new logo will be issued each year.

If your organisation would like to sponsor us, or if you have any questions about your current sponsorship, our work, or what sponsorship money goes towards, please contact  our Managing Director and Founder, Lars Bjørnshauge, directly: lars@doaj.org.

DOAJ launches the DOAJ Best Practice Guide

DOAJ has launched the DOAJ Best Practice Guide.

The Guide is a web resource that provides selection criteria, resources and tools for the identification of reputable open access journals to support researchers, publishers and librarians in their search of best practice and transparency standards. It is also an attempt to collect discussions about open access to publications and its development. It is developed by, and updated regularly by, the DOAJ team based on existing and new information.

The Guide complements the work of the DOAJ Ambassadors as well as academics, librarians and publishers worldwide. Based on the information provided on the For Publishers page on the DOAJ website and the Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing, the Guide aims to do the following:

  • Highlight issues surrounding questionable publishing practices;
  • Provide a checklist of criteria to help identify questionable publishers based on guidelines for editors working with applications to DOAJ;
  • Identify other tools that assist in making informed decisions on where to submit articles for publication. based on the ThinkCheckSubmit initiative;
  • Contain case studies and examples gathered by DOAJ over 13 years of operation.
Initial work with the Best Practice Guide was funded by IDRC  as part of the Ambassadors’ programme. If you know of other resources that should be included in the Guide, then do please contact us or leave a comment here.