News update

DOAJ at 20 – open, global, and trusted since 2003

DOAJ is twenty years old in 2023. Twenty years is a long time, and although not everything has changed with the speed that we had hoped it would or in the direction we had envisaged, DOAJ has undoubtedly changed the landscape of open scholarly communication for the better.

Looking back

Open, Global, and Trusted have always been at the heart of what DOAJ does. DOAJ Founder, Lars Bjørnshauge, was the driving force behind turning DOAJ into a global and trusted service, but collective efforts from different players also made DOAJ into the service it is today.

On 12th May 2003, Lund University in Sweden launched a new service that would give prominence to open access journals. In 2002, Lars Bjørnshauge was Lund University Library Director and was hosting the Nordic Conference on Scholarly Communication just a few months after the game-changing Budapest Open Access Initiative declaration. A member of the audience suggested that someone should start a list of open access journals. As the conference host, Lars volunteered that Lund should do this.

Screenshot of a quote from the Soros Foundation Website: 'The concept of Open Society is based on the recognition that people act on imperfect knowledge and nobody is in posession of the ultimate truth.'

With a grant from the Open Society Foundations (back then: Soros Foundations Network, founded by George Soros), DOAJ was launched with 300 journals. Bo-Christer Björk, a name well-known to many in scholarly communications, compiled the list.

Bo Christer recalls: “The seed list of around 300 OA journals used to help the launching of DOAJ had been compiled previously as part of a Masters thesis project at the Hanken School of Economics. In addition to its use in DOAJ, it has also been useful in longitudinal studies of the development of OA publishing.”

The concept of Open Society is based on the recognition that people act on imperfect knowledge and nobody is in possession of the ultimate truth.

Soros Foundations Network homepage, 15th August 2000, captured by Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine

Since then, DOAJ has grown and developed into an essential part of the open access landscape, a unique and extensive index of nearly 19,000 diverse open access journals from 132 countries worldwide. Our service has grown into a global community, with team members, ambassadors and volunteers based in 45 countries. 

Celebrating our birthday

Throughout 2023, we will be marking DOAJ’s 20th birthday in three ways:

  • a series of three webinars
  • a fundraising campaign
  • telling the DOAJ story and the people who use it

We will highlight the positive impacts that DOAJ has had on journals, communities, and research worldwide and tell the story of how we influence new generations of researchers. We will also look at DOAJ’s groundbreaking Ambassador network and the vital work our Ambassadors do to increase the value and reputation of open access journals globally. Importantly throughout the year, we will bring together the community to discuss solutions to today’s challenges and identify future actions.

Looking forwards

DOAJ’s twentieth year is a chance to remember the value and impact DOAJ has had, but more importantly, a time to plan. With a new Managing Director in January 2022, a new three-year strategy, and a growing team of skilled and dedicated people, DOAJ is a vital part of open access infrastructure, ready to look forward and adapt with the scholarly publishing community over the next twenty years. 

If you want to learn more about our story, events and plans, register with us, and we will keep you updated.

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