News update Progress report

2022: a year in review

Our world is increasingly unpredictable. As the global population has struggled to adapt to a pandemic, extreme weather events, war, famine and drought, the desire and need for open, trustworthy knowledge is greater than ever. Citizens, governments, and organisations have turned to the Web for answers resulting in significant increases in people using DOAJ and a growing dependency on our service.

Therefore, it isn’t surprising that 2022 was another busy year: we received 9725 applications. We recorded 38.1 million pageviews by 9.4 million visitors across 241 countries, proof that open access and the DOAJ service have never been more relevant and needed.

New Managing Director at DOAJ

At the end of 2021, DOAJ was heading into unknown territory as our founder and long-serving captain of the DOAJ ship, Lars Bjørnshauge, stepped down to retirement. We had, of course, already found Lars’ successor, Joanna Ball, to take over and guide us forward. Joanna was interviewed in Against the Grain, a Charleston publication, where she laid out her vision for DOAJ over the coming years.

Strategic partnerships and projects

In 2022, DOAJ fired up new, strategic partnerships with OPERAS and OpenAIRE, formalising existing collaborations that started when DOAJ endorsed the Diamond Plan for Open Access. We started on key strategic projects, such as DIAMAS, which will run for the next three years. When war was declared on Ukraine, DOAJ joined the excellent SUES initiative to help support individuals working in scholarly publishing: editors, editorial staff, journal owners, and publishers. This constructive cooperation between four different organisations, plus thirty French university presses, led to DOAJ being able to review and update all the Ukrainian journals in DOAJ. We are proud that today, DOAJ indexes more Ukrainian open access journals than any other database.

A graph showing that DOAJ indexes more Ukrainian journals than Scopus, WoS, NSD, and Enrich

Image: author’s own, taken from a poster by Liudmyla Ostapenko, presented at Munin Conference 2022

Meanwhile, we have ongoing projects in Denmark, Sweden, China, Japan, South Africa, and two in Egypt, all of which aim to increase the diversity of the body of DOAJ-indexed journals.

In partnership with OASPA, DOAJ started a 12-month project in 2022 to create and launch a toolkit for open access journals. The ‘OA Journals Toolkit’ project will create a living, peer-reviewed resource for everyone wishing to launch, run, and manage an open access journal. There will be a heavy focus on assisting diamond open access journals, although the toolkit is expected to appeal to all journal owners, publishers and editors. 

Other project work across the year included DOAJ leading a fourth and extensive revision of the Principles of Transparency and Best Practice. DOAJ is at the helm of the Think. Check. Submit. initiative, which this year launched a new website. We have also continued collaborating with CLOCKSS, Keepers Registry, Internet Archive, and PKP on the JASPER project, bringing new publishers on board and seeking funding to secure the project’s longevity.

Editorial

Our editorial operations continue to move at an incredible pace. As well as maintaining an average turnaround time on new applications from submission to decision of under three months—even during the pandemic—we are now handling twice as many applications a year as we did in 2019.

Our fantastic team of Managing Editors, headed up by our Senior Managing Editor, Judith Barnsby, and Editor-in-Chief, Tom Olijhoek, have maintained the speed and quality of our service that our community expects. However, none of this would have been possible without our incredible network of volunteers who delivered substantial volunteer hours in 2022 to keep DOAJ a community-led, trustworthy service.

The rate that journals were added to DOAJ between 2002 and 2023. Source: Datastudio (Doesn’t reflect journals withdrawn.)

Of course, our index wouldn’t be anything without the publishers, journals, editors, and editorial staff sending us thousands of pieces of article metadata and hundreds of new journal applications and monthly updates. DOAJ now indexes just under 18,800 journals and 8,417,400 article abstracts, much of it uploaded to us as XML or through our API. In the last 30 days alone, our new metrics partner, Plausible Analytics, measured a staggering 81,200,000 hits to our API alone.

Ambassador network

DOAJ’s Ambassador network continues to have a global impact. We added two new Ambassadors in Pakistan in August 2022. Our North American Ambassador, John Dove, continues to bring more American supporting consortia on board while Joanna renews funding efforts in the rest of the world. Academic organisations provide 82% of our support, while 18% is from publishers.

In 2022, our active team of ambassadors took part in more than 87 public speaking activities for various national and international events. Events were attended in Mexico, India, Russia, South Africa, Egypt, Algeria, Chile, and many more online.

Technical developments

We started the year by reintroducing the open access start date, a piece of metadata that many discovery systems rely upon to reliably inform their users on how much open access content a journal has. We had previously removed the date in 2021 as part of our website relaunch, but the community let us know how valuable it was. We listened!

In 2022, as part of our efforts to increase DOAJ’s integration with other services, we added compatibility for the latest version of Crossref XML. This means that we now accept three different XML flavours.

Most of the technical work in 2022 has been behind the scenes. It is our duty to make our volunteers’ and editorial team’s work as easy to action as possible. Therefore, we designed and implemented a dashboard to improve productivity and automation. Our managing editors are using this now, and it will be rolled out to our volunteers in February 2023.

Governance

With the help of our existing Board and Council, we identified an improved form of governance, which will be implemented in 2023. The new governance model is better suited to underpin the longevity that DOAJ strives for. Like thirteen organisations before us, we measured ourselves against the POSI Principles and declared our intentions for governance, sustainability, and insurance to the community. We also participated in the FOREST pilot, a similar initiative ‘to help scholarly communication organisations and communities to demonstrate, evaluate, and ultimately improve their alignment with key values’. (https://educopia.org/forest-framework-for-values-driven-scholarly-communication/ – accessed 21st December 2022.)

Thank you!

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank all our supporters, our Ambassadors, our volunteers, our Board and Council members, our Editorial Sub-committee members and our Managing Editors. You are what makes DOAJ continue to thrive year-on-year. Thank you for everything you do!

And to you, our faithful community of publishers, researchers, librarians, and users, thank you for your continued belief in us and for making DOAJ the best online directory for open access journals worldwide. In 2023, DOAJ turns 20, and we are excited about what the next 20 years will look like as we work together towards greater open, global and trusted access to knowledge.

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