At DOAJ, we insist that the ISSN for your journal is fully registered and confirmed at the time you submit an application to us. DOAJ does not allow provisional ISSNs. Applications which contain provisional ISSNs are rejected without review.
According to the ISSN International Centre in Paris, a provisional ISSN is assigned to a journal by the local national ISSN centre. An application for an ISSN can be submitted up to three months before the journal is launched.
The national ISSN centre is then responsible for sending the details of the new ISSN to the International Centre. The International Centre then registers the ISSN in their database as which point the ISSN has the status registered but not yet confirmed, that is to say, “provisional”.
A provisional ISSN becomes fully confirmed when the publisher informs their national ISSN centre that the resource has published two issues that contain at least five articles. (Each national centre has the right to adapt this and add restrictions to this requirement.)* The national centre then sends additional information to the International Centre to complete the basic record. Only then, will the record appear in the ISSN Portal as confirmed.
It is important that, before you submit your application to DOAJ, you check the ISSN Portal, and make sure that the ISSN(s) for your journal(s) is confirmed and that the title(s) match what you have on your site and in your application form.
*Corrected to add detail – thanks to Ammad Zafar for contacting us.
As part of our continued strategy to enhance our metadata offering, and looking forward to 2021 when our strategic focus will be on DOAJ’s place in the discovery chain, we are constantly looking for ways to improve the quality and recency of the DOAJ article metadata.
Errors in article metadata are usually reported to us by users of discovery services at libraries or by the discovery services themselves. The errors are often a broken URL or a missing article.
Since 2013, DOAJ’s stance on correcting metadata has been to contact the journal’s publishers and ask them to send an update to us. However, this approach is of limited success:
- some publishers don’t respond,
- some don’t know how to make the correction and,
- since we do matching on the URL, the process often leads to duplicated articles.
As of yesterday, DOAJ can edit article metadata itself, including the URL, directly in the database. This makes changes immediate and goes a long way to improve the reliability of the DOAJ metadata. Importantly, it allows us to act quickly on queries sent to us by our discovery service colleagues.
The crux of the matter, when it comes to the accuracy of DOAJ metadata, remains unchanged however: all 3rd party services should update their copy of the DOAJ metadata regularly. DOAJ metadata updates every 30 minutes. Some 3rd party services only update their copy of our metadata every 6 months.
As with most organisations, COVID-19 is having an effect on DOAJ. Although we are an organisation without physical offices (virtual, already remote-working and Cloud-based), our team members and volunteers are all affected in real ways.
This means that we may take longer than usual to process applications. Many applications are processed in under 3 months but this may increase over the coming weeks. We ask you to be patient.
If you are a publisher waiting to hear from us about an application, the standard rules still apply:
- do not email for a status update if you submitted your application less than 3 months ago.
- before you contact us, check that emails from us aren’t in your spam folder. (Remember that our volunteers will email from their own email addresses and not DOAJ ones.)
- always contact us using the Contact Us form and include the journal title and ISSN(s).
On behalf of everyone at DOAJ and all our volunteers, I’d like to thank you for your understanding but, more importantly, take great care of yourselves in these times of uncertainty.
DOAJ Operations Manager