SILVER SPONSOR DANISH AGENCY FOR SCIENCE AND HIGHER EDUCATION ANSWERS OUR QUESTIONS ON OPEN ACCESS PUBLISHING AND DOAJ

Lotte Faurbæk and Hanne-Louise Kirkegaard from the Danish Agency for Science and Higher Education (Styrelsen for Forskning og Uddannelse) answer our questions.

-Your organisation has been supporting DOAJ for some years now. Why is it important for the Danish Agency for Science and Higher Education to support DOAJ?

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We regard DOAJ as an authoritative data source on Open Access Journals. We use DOAJ in the Danish Research Indicator to verify the data quality of the journals in our database, which consists of over 300,000 journals (both Opens Access and toll). Additionally, whenever we get a suggestion to accept a new journal to our list of publication channels that should generate points in the indicator, we check the status in DOAJ, to make sure it lives up to the criteria for acceptance. DOAJ is also an important part of the project called “Nordic lists”, which is a project supported by NordForsk, where the Nordic countries with research indicators collaborate to enhance the data quality of their national lists of publication channels.

-What is the Danish Agency for Science and Higher Education doing to support that development? Do you have any exciting projects underway?

In 2014, the Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science adopted a national strategy for Open Access to research articles from publicly funded institutions. The strategy The strategy has an ambitious goal, stating that already in 2022, 100% of the articles should be freely available via the Internet. Though, the Danish Open Access Indicator showed that only 36 percent of scientific publications produced at Danish universities were Open Access in April 2018. So, we are far from reaching the ambitious target, and a revision of the strategy – including scaling down the Open Access targets – is under way.

-What are your personal views on the future of Open Access publishing?

I think it is an irreversible trend. Though, the transition towards 100 pct. Open Access will happen at a slower pace than aimed for in the EU. In the EU Council Conclusions on Open Science the OA target is 100 pct. OA in 2020. Full OA will probably not happen at the speed desired due to a lot of reasons. Some of the reasons are: different Open Access approaches in EU member states and third countries – green, hybrid, green etc. -, the current lack of merit of OA compliance, the reluctance among publishers towards green Open Access, including big publishers imposing extraordinary long embargoes on scientific articles – 24 months or more.

– What do you think that the scholarly community could do to better support the continued development of the Open Access movement in the near future?

·         The rationale behind Open Science/Open Access must be communicated better to the public, and OA should be a political priority – both at national and institutional level.

·         National and institutional policies on Open Access must be adopted, implemented, monitored and enforced.

·         Change of culture among researchers towards openness is needed and could be supported by a change of the current merit system

·         Research funders must mandate and monitor OA

·         Universities must unite and collectively negotiate economically sustainable subscription deals – including OA – with the publishers (bargaining power).

– Much has been said recently about whether open access is succeeding or failing, particularly in terms of the original vision laid out by the Budapest Open Access Initiative in 2002. Do you think that open access has fallen short of this vision, or has it surpassed expectations?

I think we are under way, but not as fast as one could hope. More needs to be done, as we said in the previous question.

Russian scientific journals in the era of open access to knowledge: problems of adaptation

Our DOAJ Ambassador Dr. Natalia Gennadievna Popova has recently published a paper (in Russian) “Russian scientific journals in the era of open access to knowledge: problems of adaptation” or Российский научный журнал в эпоху открытого доступа к знаниям: проблемы адаптации. We are sharing this work with the wider DOAJ community, as we know that there is still lots to do in Russia in the open access arena (as our Ambassadors’ programme has shown) and this is covered in the paper.

Here is the paper’s abstract in English:

The advancement of open access to scientific knowledge has become a determining strategy in the sphere of scientific communication. Open access implies, along with a free access to full-text information online, the creation of a legal basis for the results of research to be used fairly by all interested bodies. The Directory of Open Access Journals, DOAJ, as well as other similar institutions, carries the mission of providing and guaranteeing the quality of open access. Russian journals are increasingly become part of this project, which is considered to be a positive trend. Currently, about 163 Russian titles are listed in DOAJ. However, some journals face difficulties in bringing their publication standards in compliance with the DOAJ quality criteria, which has become a reason for suspending 15 Russian titles from this esteemed international database. This article investigates the process of open access advancement in Russia, in particular, the implementation of international quality standards in the sphere of Russian scientific periodicals. Main DOAJ acceptance criteria are analyzed, as well as those problems that Russian titles experience adapting to them.

Read the full-text (in Russian).

Silver Sponsor MDPI answers our questions on DOAJ and Open Access

This is the first of a series of interviews with our Gold and Silver sponsors. MDPI answered our questions on DOAJ and Open Access publishing.

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Your organisation has been supporting DOAJ for a few years now. Why is it important for MDPI to support DOAJ?

Both DOAJ and MDPI are pioneers in open access. DOAJ was one of the first organizations to provide guidance to scholars looking to publish in open access. An application process was introduced a few years ago and the directory has defined a very clear set of best practices that are expected. Today, DOAJ is an important and trusted source of information about open access publishers and journals, both for authors and funding bodies. Maybe DOAJ could consider maintaining a public list of changes (new additions and removals) to the directory in future!

*NOTE from DOAJ: we actually do this, but we are aware we need to place the link on a more prominent place on our site: https://doaj.org/faq#metadata. You can download a list of journals in CSV (comma-separated) format which can then be imported into Excel or any equivalent analysis tool. The CSV file is updated every 30 minutes.

What benefits does being indexed in DOAJ bring to your journals?

Our journals are more visible to researchers and institutions through being in DOAJ and authors can trust we adhere to best practices and open access principles set forward by the directory. MDPI has the greatest respect for what DOAJ has achieved!

Do you think that the DOAJ has been and/or still is important for the development of Open Access publishing?

Of course!

What is MDPI doing to support that development? Do you have any exciting projects underway?

We collaborate with institutions, universities, and libraries to jointly develop and promote open access. We think it is very important to work hand in hand with the main stakeholders, which is why we launched our institutional program five years ago, currently with over 350 institutions participating in the program. We are exploring different publishing models through our preprint platform Preprints.org, Knowledge Unlatched (which supports 9 MDPI journals in the area of humanities and social sciences) and our research collaboration and conference platform at sciforum.net. We also support initiatives like DORA and the Jussieu Call to explore how research can be communicated more effectively and to explore different models beyond article processing charges paid by authors.

What are your personal views on the future of Open Access publishing?

Open access is the publishing model of the future. We focus our energy and capacity on upholding the quality of our publication process, which we see as essential for continued growth. We will support funders and universities in their efforts to define policies aimed at ensuring research is freely available.

What do you think that the scholarly community could do to better support the continued development of the Open Access movement in the near future?

There is no special treatment needed for open access publishers. Authors are becoming aware they need to gain control over their intellectual property. Not least to ensure their work is as visible as possible, with free access to as many readers as possible. The right to distribute/deposit accepted versions is one way of gaining more control.

Much has been said recently about whether open access is succeeding or failing, particularly in terms of the original vision laid out by the Budapest Open Access Initiative in 2002. Do you think that open access has fallen short of this vision, or has it surpassed expectations?

Open access will continue to grow. MDPI is expanding, both in number of journals and papers published. Other publishers are adding to the number of high-quality open access journals. We will continue to work exceptionally hard to ensure open access is a success and research becomes freely available to everyone.

 

Extended downtime – Wed 21st March 2018

DOAJ will be offline for approximately 8.5 hours from 12.50-21.10 UTC, or 12.50 to 21.10 GMT on Wednesday 21st March 2018.
DOAJ will experience an extended period of downtime on Wednesday 21st March 2018 while our hosting service, Digital Ocean, installs some important security fixes:
On January 4, 2018, multiple vulnerabilities in the design of modern CPUs were disclosed. Taking advantage of certain processor performance optimizations, these vulnerabilities—named Meltdown and Spectre—make it possible for attackers to coerce applications into revealing the contents of system and application memory when manipulated correctly. These attacks work because the normal privileges checking behavior within the processor is subverted through the interaction of features like speculative execution, branch prediction, out-of-order execution, and caching.*

 *https://www.digitalocean.com/community/tutorials/how-to-protect-your-server-against-the-meltdown-and-spectre-vulnerabilities

As well as updates and patches being applied by Digital Ocean to protect our machines, DOAJ’s technical partners, Cottage Labs, will also use the downtime to perform some other, non-related essential maintenance actions.
We apologise in advance for the short notice but we have only just received notification from Digital Ocean that they will work on our machines this week.
If you have any questions, then please leave a comment here or contact us feedback@doaj.org.

 

Copyright and Licensing – Part 3

In 2016, we published 2 blog posts on copyright and licensing: Part1 and Part 2In these posts we explained and illustrated that copyright and licensing are two different things linked by the fact that licenses can only be granted by copyright holders. Here is Part 3, a guest post by our Editor-in-Chief, Tom Olijhoek.

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In this post I want to discuss the practice by some open access publishers of not using Creative Commons licenses but using their own constructions for publisher specific licenses. A reason for this may be, for example, that the government of the country of the publisher does not recognise the (American company derived) Creative Commons licensing.

DOAJ accepts journals that do not use CC licensing ONLY if the specifics of the publisher licenses match the conditions of Creative Commons licenses. That is to say that licenses need to be compliant with the BOAI conditions of Open Access and need to allow for immediate access to all materials, with implicit permission to download , share, distribute and use the material for lawful purposes.

To better explain what DOAJ will and will not accept, I want to highlight some real life examples.

Example 1:  Copyright transfer agreement in conflict with open access

Let’s have a look at a case where the publishers use a copyright transfer agreement conflicting with the conditions of the Creative Commons License applied to the same work.

Publisher [x] has a copyright transfer agreement (CTA) saying:

The Author(s) agree that all copies of the Work made under any of the above rights shall prominently include the following copyright notice: “© XXXX [year] X. One print or electronic copy may be made for personal use only. Systematic reproduction and distribution, duplication of any material in this paper for a fee or for commercial purposes, or modifications of the content of this paper are prohibited.”

This is in clear conflict with the conditions of BOAI Open Access and also with the use of the CC BY-NC license used by the very same journal.

After discussions with the publisher, two passages in the CTA now read:

[x] shall make the final, published version of the article freely available on the [x] Publishing platform without charge to the user or his/her institution. Users are allowed to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full text of the article, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without asking prior permission from the publisher or the Author(s). This is in accordance with the BOAI definition of open access
Copyright Notice The Author(s) agree that all copies of the Work made under any of the above rights shall prominently include the following copyright notice© XXXX [year] [x] Users may use, reuse, and build upon the article, or use the article for text or data mining, so long as such uses are for non-commercial purposes and appropriate attribution is maintained. All other rights are reserved.

I also want elaborate on the point that publishers often demand a copyright transfer agreement with a range of arguments like:

[x] needs copyright for an article because, as publisher, [x] is in the best position to defend the article legally. In addition, transfer of copyright assures [x] that the work in question is entirely the author’s own. Once again, the purpose of transfer of copyright is not to prevent the author from reuse of his or her own work, as long as this doesn’t involve republication in a competing journal or other competing resource.

DOAJ holds the policy that leaving the copyright with the author is best practice. The publisher will only need publishing rights. For this reason journals of publishers who leave the copyright with the author are eligible for the DOAJ Seal.

Example 2: Copyright statement in conflict with open access:

© Copyrights of all the papers published in Journal of XXX are with its publisher, [x] [Country]. Users have the right to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of articles in the journal, and that users can use and reuse material in the journal as long as attribution is given when appropriate or necessary. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the publisher.

Example 3: License in conflict with open access:

You may read, download, print, copy, search, link to the full text, or use them for any lawful purpose not otherwise prohibited here. You may not modify, create derivative works from, participate in the transfer or sale of, post on the World Wide Web, or in any way exploit the Site or any portion thereof for any public or commercial use without the express written permission of [x]

Example 4: License  in conflict with open access:

Reproduction, posting, transmission or other distribution or use of the article or any material therein, requires credit to the article author as copyright holder. Permission does not need to be obtained for downloading, printing, or linking to [Repository] content. Individuals have the right to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of articles in the Journal XXX and to use them for any other lawful purpose…

/// same document:
Libraries interested in printing a paper from Journal of XXX for their permanent collection should contact the journal editors responsible for posting the paper. The requesting library can then gain copyright clearance from the paper’s author(s). People seeking an exception, or who have questions about use, should contact the editors.

It may be evident from the statements above that the use of non-Creative Commons licenses and the use of copyright transfer agreements make the evaluation of open access  journals on acceptable copyright and licensing conditions difficult and time consuming. At the same time the different conditions created by publishers in these cases make it very confusing for authors and users to know their rights.  I realise that the issue of copyright and licensing ranks among one of the most difficult issues of open access publishing. Therefore I strongly recommend that publishers make use of the excellent Creative Commons licensing schemes and also leave copyright for published works with the authors. Again, these conditions are the key requirements for obtaining the DOAJ Seal of Excellence in open access publishing.

I sincerely hope that the number of DOAJ Seal journals in DOAJ will continue to rise!

Tom Olijhoek
Editor-in-Chief

(Copyright and licensing information specific to completing an application is also available.)

Open Access in the Francophone Global South: Between Collective Empowerment and Neocolonialism

This is a guest post by Florence Piron from Université Laval, Québec, Canada.

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An anthropologist and ethicist, Florence Piron is a professor in the Department of Information and Communication at Université Laval where she teaches courses on ethics and democracy. She is the founding President of the Association for Science and Common Good and its open access publishing house. She is interested in the links between science, society and culture, both as a researcher and advocate for a science that is more open, inclusive, socially responsible and focused on the common good. She’s doing research on open science, and cognitive justice with universities in Africa and Haiti.

 

Two major issues are often lacking within the general conversation about open access, whether in blogs, discussion lists or papers. Indeed, their invisibility is in itself a symptom of the problem that I want to briefly expose here.

The first issue is the difference between openness and accessibility. Depending on where a person lives or what their resources are, they may forget that there exists such a difference, whereas it is obvious to others. A door may be open, but if a person does not have the ability to walk or find the path that leads to it, if many obstacles prevent them from moving forward, they will not be able to go through it: what then is the value or the meaning of the door’s openness? In other words, are articles and books in open access always accessible  and, if not, what does openness really mean? This question demands that more precise social and political analyses of accessibility be added to the usual discussions of publishers, copyright or policies.

The second issue concerns what lies behind the door, in other words what kind of knowledge is so precious that the opening of the door to get it justifies all kinds of fighting and arguing and huge amounts of money? This fundamental epistemological debate seems to me very seldom dealt with within the general conversation about open access. Should all types of knowledge be covered by the open access movement? Or only the “science” that lies within the boundaries of the Web of Science, Google Scholar and Scopus databases, that is to say the “centre” of the science world-system? Should knowledge produced outside these boundaries, for instance non-English non-indexed knowledge produced in universities from the periphery of the science world-system, be left out of the fight for open access because it is not “properly scientific”?  Should the invisibility of knowledge coming from minorities or the Global South continue to be seen as not a problem?

A detour to the Global South, particularly Haiti and Francophone Sub-Saharan African universities where I have been doing research for several years through the SOHA project (Piron et al. 2016, 2017), can open eyes and ears. In the North, open access is equivalent to effective access because a researcher or a student always has a computer, web access, electricity and a basic digital literacy that enable them to have immediate access to everything that is open. But this is not the case in the Francophone Global South, where our SOHA project has identified and documented several huge cognitive injustices. In this part of the world, not only is Internet access far from being generalized and remains very expensive, but students often touch a computer for the first time when entering university, lecturers rarely know how to use the web in their teaching and sometimes mistrust it, electricity can be cut for several hours a day, the quality of the connection is usually very low and connectivity is often not the priority of university leaders. Most important of all is the fact that digitalization of African theses and journals is very rare, which contributes to their invisibility. We have also met African academics who still hope to compensate for their meagre salary by selling books and are thus opposed to open access in general. Let’s add that very few of these countries have a research and innovation policy able to fund research, libraries and equipment, so that they usually depend on “partners” from the North who have their own research agenda, a neocolonial situation in itself (Mvé-Ondo 2005). That many people manage to do brilliant research there, without leaving to the North, is a feat in itself! Believing that “open access” is the grand solution to problems of research in the Global South is therefore a huge mistake, mirroring the general ignorance of the centre about the periphery. Open access is a necessary, but not at all sufficient, condition.

The second issue may be more complex to grasp, since it is of a socio-epistemological nature. Let’s just recall here the postcolonial and feminist scholarship that has shown that “science” is in fact a situated (fascinating) knowledge anchored in European male white history which became hegemonic during Modernity and its colonial project. This knowledge carries a specific epistemology based on the hope of producing a decontextualized (“universal”), neutral (value-free, culture-free, gender-free), explicative, predictive type of knowledge which I call “positivist” in short. Such a knowledge, defined as a normative ideal, obviously considers any mention of cultural/political context as irrelevant or even anti-science, anti-truth. Let’s do it anyway. If open access only concerns the hegemonic positivist science that is produced and showcased in journals obeying the norms and rules created in the North, it would contribute to maintaining other epistemologies or knowledges not quite following the said rules in their state of invisibility and inaccessibility, whether in the North or in the (Francophone) Global South. Yet these knowledges are indispensable to overcome the challenges in these countries, each country needing local relevant nuanced knowledge that could help its action, that “speaks” to local social actors.

In summary, if open access reinforces the visibility and usability of papers, theses and books from the North (even if only because they have a digital life), knowledge from the (Francophone) Global South, mainly constituted by un-digitized theses and research reports (Piron et al. 2017), will remain invisible and little used, unless published in journals from the North. This is why, if open access is only interpreted as facilitating access to “science” without any analysis of material conditions of access and without any conscience of the necessity of maintaining a “knowledge diversity” within an ecology of knowledges (Santos 2007), it could become just another tool of neocolonialism.

Conversely, open access can become a formidable tool of collective empowerment for the Global South – and of improvement of world science –  if its leaders and proponents make a sincere commitment to creating and maintaining within “science” a real openness to the plurality of epistemologies, of knowledges (in the plural form) and of normative frameworks. My African and Haitian colleagues and I have been working on numerous concrete projects in this regard, notably a pan-African open repository. We are convinced that DOAJ could also play a major role not only in showcasing African and Haitian journals without necessarily imposing on them a rigid normative positivist framework, but also in helping journals from the North become more open to epistemologies, languages and ideas from the Global South.

Let me conclude with a sad paradox: many critics of hegemonic science, whether from a decolonial, feminist or constructivist standpoint, do not care whether their own work is available in open access or not, and therefore accessible or not to the people suffering from cognitive injustices… The road is long!

References Continue reading

New Sponsorship Model from 2018

From January 2018, DOAJ has introduced a tiered system of sponsorship – a structure which is tried and tested and that, we believe, will meet our current sponsors’ expectations and hopefully raise our appeal to new sponsors. To make sure that the model remains realistic, we have tiered pricing for both commercial and non-commercial entities.

Read the report on our main achievements in 2017, as well as developments for the year ahead.

All sponsors are able to use our new logos below on their web sites and promotional materials etc. The logos are coloured according to the level of sponsorship. A new logo will be issued each year.

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If your organisation would like to sponsor us, or if you have any questions about your current sponsorship, our work, or what sponsorship money goes towards, please contact  our Managing Director and Founder, Lars Bjørnshauge, directly: lars@doaj.org.