2019 in review and what’s coming in 2020

It’s a new year and a new decade. This year, DOAJ turns 17 and much like a teenager, we have seen a major growth spurt over the last 4 years, peaking at a total of 14.25 million unique users at the end of 2019. 2020 will see further transformation into a maturer, more rounded service.

A chart showing the growth of DOAJ from 2015 to 2019 in millions of unique users

Usage of DOAJ, 2015 to 2019 (Source: Google Analytics)


2019 was another busy year, focussed on preparing DOAJ for adulthood. We added muscle to the bones by increasing our capacity in the platform and in our editorial team and thereby increasing our throughput. Never before has DOAJ been such a lean operation on such a large scale.

Much of the process to get to where we are today was written about in September, in a guest post by Richard Jones from Cottage Labs, so I’m just focussing on the last quarter here.

Since October 2019, we updated the DOAJ search interface–a program called Edges–and upgraded to Python 3. We extended our automated testing scripts and fixed a variety of bugs or discrepancies which they subsequently uncovered.

I am pleased to say that these pieces of work have been so successful that in 2019 we had 99.999% uptime, a huge improvement on previous years.

On the front end, we added more translations of the COPE/DOAJ/OASPA/WAME co-authored Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing which is now available in 20 different languages. We cleaned up our articles database by removing many old, malformed or duplicated entries.

We also improved our crawler which is pointed at Europe PMC’s API and added 13,200 PLoS articles which were missing from the database.

The start of the redesign project saw us focussing our efforts on design research:

  • getting in touch with users
  • doing exhaustive inventories of our content and information architecture
  • understanding DOAJ’s offers and services on a deeper level
  • setting realistic goals and metrics for the website’s design
  • benchmarking / looking at how other open access orgs and not-for-profits present themselves
  • finding visual inspiration from external sources / moodboarding
  • setting ourselves up for a more modular design mindset to facilitate development of new services on DOAJ.org

We also inaugurated our Advisory Board and Council.


During the first quarter of 2020, the following pieces of work will be released live to the site:

  • Some additional language codes will be added to our XSD file.
  • A Spam reCAPTCHA module is being added to the feedback form.
  • The form for publishers to manually provide article metadata to us is getting an overhaul.
  • The addition of Crossref XML compatibility so publishers can send us Crossref XML if they wish.
  • A reconstructed, redesigned application form with improved functionality and usability.

Away from the platform, we are extending our partner program, after what is proving to be a successful pilot project with our friends at TSV in Finland.  More projects like this will result in an increase in the number of journals indexed in DOAJ, the goal of the work we wrote about when we reached our first SCOSS funding target in May 2019.

The aim of these projects is to:

  • Maintain the recency and relevancy of the database by targetting specific journals which are not yet indexed in DOAJ
  • Recruit back into DOAJ as many of the 2850 journals as possible which we removed during the Reapplication Project,
  • Increase our coverage of journals from the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities.
  • Increase our coverage of non-English language journals.
  • Increase our coverage of journals from specific subject areas.

DOAJ will also continue its work with its partner program Think.Check.Submit which is developing it tools and resources.

If you have any questions about any of this work, do please leave a comment!

I wish all our readers a happy and healthy 2020.

WANTED Portuguese and Spanish speakers: a call for volunteer DOAJ Associate Editors

DOAJ has a network of 130 skilled, voluntary Associate Editors and Editors who spend a few hours a week processing new journal applications for us. Would you like to join us? We are now recruiting volunteers who understand Portuguese and Spanish (You do not have to be a native speaker.) You must also be proficient in written and spoken English. 

As a DOAJ Associate Editor, you will be expected to do a few hours of voluntary, unpaid work a week. You will be provided with training materials to help you carry out your duties. The work you do will directly contribute to the quality, reputation, and prominence of open access, scholarly publishing around the globe. 

If you are interested, please complete this form. 

Requirements of the Role Your role as DOAJ Associate Editor will be guided and supervised by an Editor and a Managing Editor. 

Successful candidates will: 

  • have good knowledge about Open Access (OA); 
  • be passionate about OA; 
  • have good knowledge about OA developments in scholarly publishing; 
  • have a working understanding of OA publishing practices. 

In your work you must: 

  • be confident working online and have stable access to the internet; 
  • support and promote DOAJ and its goals, and be a DOAJ advocate; 
  • maintain confidentiality around information you have access to in the DOAJ database and shared Google Drive, particularly applications you review; 
  • assist in evaluating journals suggested to DOAJ in your specialist language; 
  • adhere to the recommendations around keeping personal data secure and confidential, as laid out by the DOAJ privacy policy

Applications are open to anyone with the requested language skills but please note that if you are associated with a journal in DOAJ, you may not be selected due to a conflict of interest. 

Thank you for considering volunteering for DOAJ!

[CLOSED]: DOAJ Database Assistant

doaj logo

Applications are now closed.

DOAJ is looking for a person to join its dynamic team as Database Assistant.

The role is a part-time role, working remotely. The number of hours required is 25 hours per week. 

The role is responsible for maintaining the accuracy and recency of the DOAJ database, and ensuring a steady flow of work reaches the DOAJ Team. The role is split into two main parts: processing new applications and update requests, and reviewing existing journal metadata for accuracy and recency.

The DOAJ is a virtual organisation with members of the DOAJ Team working across the world, primarily in Europe. Applicants for the Database Assistant role must be located in Europe due to the nature of the work. Applicants must be available for work and meetings at some point daily during the hours of 9 am and 5 pm UTC, Monday to Friday;

The tasks associated with this role are:

  • Processing newly submitted applications and update requests on a daily basis;
  • Ensuring that DOAJ’s volunteer editor groups have applications assigned to them;
  • For accuracy and recency:
    • Regularly reviewing lists of journals or subsets of journal data;
    • Adding missing information to the database;
    • Making corrections to the metadata when needed;
    • Communicating with journal contacts;
    • Flagging problematic records.

In order to carry out his/her duties, the Database Assistant should have the following experience or skills:

  • be extremely detail orientated; be able to work methodically and quickly and still pay attention to detail.
  • have relevant study or work experience, for example: database administration, previous DOAJ work, librarianship, journal publishing, information studies.
  • Be fluent in English, both orally and written;

The following experience or skills would be beneficial but are not obligatory:

  • Speak more than one language;
  • Some previous experience with large sets of data is advantageous, particularly processing data in spreadsheets;
  • Familiarity with global open access, its drivers and recent developments;
  • Ability to use project management tools such as Slack, GitHub, Google Apps for Business
  • Publisher relations.

The deadline for applications is Wednesday 22nd January 2020, 5 pm UTC.

To Apply/Questions
Applicants should email a copy of their CV which highlights relevant experience and a SHORT covering letter to Dom Mitchell, Operations Manager:
dom@doaj.org. Any questions should also be emailed to Dom.

DOAJ is an adopting organisation of the C4DISC Joint Statement of Principles. Adopting the Joint Statement of Principles is a show of support for improving diversity and inclusion in scholarly communications.

About DOAJ

DOAJ is a community-curated online directory that indexes and provides access to high quality, open access, peer-reviewed journals. DOAJ is entirely independent and all its services are free of charge including being indexed in DOAJ.

The DOAJ was launched in 2003 with 300 open access journals. Today, the independent database contains 14,000 open access journals covering all areas of science, technology, medicine, social science and humanities.

DOAJ is co-author to the Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing.