The Colombo Business Journal is an international open access journal based in Sri Lanka and published by the Faculty of Management and Finance at the University of Colombo. As part of our ‘Story behind the journal’ series, DOAJ spoke with Dinuka Wijetunga, the Editor in Chief.

Tell us about the Colombo Business Journal

The front cover of Colombo Business Journal, Volume 13 Issue 2 from December 2022

The Colombo Business Journal is a scholarly-led journal that covers subject areas like finance, human resource management, marketing,  economics and other areas related to business. The journal started publishing in 2007 and operates through the Faculty of Management and Finance at the University of Colombo in Sri Lanka. 

Being published by a Faculty of a state university, we have very little money; the journal doesn’t have a separate budget. (We don’t even have an online article submission management system as they are costly.) Lack of funds makes it difficult to get visibility. However, INASP has supported our journal a great deal in terms of helping with visibility and credibility through the Journals Online project. We have joined Sri Lanka Journals Online, which is a part of this project and was established by INASP in association with the University of Colombo and the National Science Foundation of Sri Lanka in 2008. 

You mentioned that the journal doesn’t use an online submission system, how does this work?

Submissions and all communication happen through email, so it is a very manual process. Everything is done by academics of the faculty, who are on the editorial board. They double up as editorial support staff at all levels. 

How does the journal make a difference in the subject field or region? 

Being a “mid-range” journal that isn’t ranked, we have the challenge of attracting high-quality papers from academics as their careers often depend on publishing with ranked journals. We get many papers with great potential, but aren’t quite ready for review; therefore we have an additional step in our submission process, where we help authors improve their papers before peer review. Providing this kind of service doesn’t mean we will accept the paper, but we do give feedback to help them grow their skills as authors.  

Photo of Dinuka Wijetunga
Photo of Dinuka Wijetunga, Editor in Chief of Colombo Business Journal

We also offer a free text-editing service, because we publish in English, which isn’t the native language of many of our authors. It is often more than just language corrections; we also make suggestions about the flow and development of the argument. 

One of the sad realities of our region, and most developing countries, is that authors resort to predatory journals because it is difficult to get a paper published in a top journal. I think we make a huge contribution in this area, as we help authors by having a good journal to publish their work in, where they get the support that they need. 

Further to this, Southern authors usually get little exposure.  Contextual differences matter in research, and the people publishing in our journal often highlight aspects that are specific to developing countries. These authors may not have been able to find an outlet in a mainstream journal, though these articles are really worthwhile to publish. 

It seems like you put a lot of work into improving the field and supporting researchers from your region. What motivates you to be involved with the journal?

We (all the editors from the Faculty) do it primarily as a service to our Faculty, as we have a strong ownership of the journal, and have seen how it has grown and improved. Also, we are happy to be able to support authors with potential. Personally, I find that it helps to improve my own research skills as well.

What are your personal views on open access?

I’m all for it. Coming from a developing country, one of the issues our scholars face is that it is difficult to access quality literature. For example, it is difficult even to do a systematic literature review because it requires access to databases that we cannot pay for. So, you get stuck when you try to do a systematic review, because the selection process gets hampered by the cost. 

I think knowledge should be freely available. I understand that there are costs in publishing, but I feel that publishing has become too much of a business. The notion of producing and disseminating knowledge is kind of lost.

Why do you think DOAJ is important to the scholarly community?

From the perspective of journals, it gives much-needed recognition to journals such as ours. It also gives an indication that a journal included in the database isn’t a predatory journal. As a journal coming from a developing country, we have felt that it has been more difficult to get indexed in some other databases due to being viewed with certain coloured glasses. So, DOAJ has helped us to be recognized as a serious journal with high-quality processes.

From the perspective of scholars, those who cannot afford to pay for papers, DOAJ is a place where they can discover research.  

I also really appreciate the JASPER project, and DOAJ’s involvement in that, as we managed to get archiving because of it. Archiving is something we have been trying to do for years but haven’t managed to do alone.

What could DOAJ do in the future to help journals such as yours?

Firstly, promote it more as a gateway to open access journals, so that more people can use it as a discovery service for articles as well as a way to find journals. Secondly, to get more recognition for the index itself globally, so that those journals that are indexed could be more recognised. Anything that would increase the visibility of DOAJ would also help increase the visibility and credibility of the journals that are indexed. 

What is one thing you wished the global community knew about a journal such as yours?

I feel, as a journal coming from a developing country, we are underprivileged because people immediately think that we are one of those journals that have started to publish their own work, which leads others to view us in a certain way. We know that in terms of quality, we are on par with some of the journals published by large publishers and that we are comparable in the field. However, it feels like it is more difficult for us to get recognised as a serious journal, although we work very hard at supporting our authors to improve the quality of their submissions.

This story is a part of our series about journals indexed in DOAJ, which digs into the history of selected journals, their views on open access and their motivation for and experience of getting indexed in DOAJ. Each story is based on an interview with a representative of the selected journal.

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  1. These are very important insights from a committed editor. Congratulate on your work as Editor-in-cheif