This is a guest post by Kamel Belhamel, DOAJ Ambassador, North Africa
The importance of Open Access (OA) was recently recognised by Algerian scientists, libraries and publishers. Until recently, Algerian researchers preferred to publish their papers in European journals with an impact factor, in order to achieve certain personal goals (e.g. better career opportunities and advancement, CV fortification, etc.), however the Western system of scholarly publishing often stigmatizes developing country research as local rather than international.
One of the most important OA journal promoters in Algeria at this time is DGRSDT (National Council of Scientific Research and Technology of Algeria). Since 2015, the DGRSDT has organised workshops and supports Algerian editors in the implementation of open science. Many of those editors don’t have the experience of ensuring the quality and the transparency of the editorial process. Out of 359 Algerian scientific journals listed by the DGRSDT, only 7 are indexed in the DOAJ (or 1.95 %). Most of the scientific journals, supported via institutional memberships, don’t have a website and are only published on paper. So there is a need to develop a method for determining the quality of these journals and to help Algerian scientific journals to become more visible on the internet, thereby making them accessible and discoverable for the international community.
In response to the important need of access to scholarly content by the Algerian research community, the DGRSDT has started a project with the goal of collecting and publishing all information about Algerian editors and their scientific journals, thereby ensuring that research publications and research data will be publicly available on the internet. This project seeks to achieve, a) development of training programmes with editors, b) promotion of the exchange of ideas and experience among Algerian editors, c) establish global collaborative efforts by co-operating with international editors and organizations in the advancement of open access. Furthermore, following a recent meeting with myself, the DGRSDT has published a recommendation that all Algerian journals become familiar with the DOAJ criteria and apply for indexing in DOAJ. This is an important step toward the visibility of Algerian journals at an international level.
Since printed journals are costly and have very low visibility, one of the initiatives that is especially interesting is the launch a portal of Algerian scientific journals by the Research Centre on Scientific and Technical Information (CERIST). This portal, named Webreview, is open to anyone wishing to publish journal content online, either open or closed access, allows the development of scientific research in Algeria and will increase its visibility. Although DGRSDT is aware of the importance of OA repositories, they are still too small and there remains something to be done at both institutional and national level.
The Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research has already decided that PhD students can defend their theses by publishing their papers in Algerian OA journals indexed in Scopus, Web of Science, DOAJ, etc. This positive initiative will surely increase the number of Algerian OA journals and will generate considerable added value to science.