OPEN ACCESS JOURNALS IN SPAIN

This is a guest post by Miguel Navas, member of AccesoAbierto research group and Librarian at the Catalan Government in Barcelona, Spain.

According to Ulrich’s data 1, Spain is in tenth position in scholarly journal production, with  2.5% of the titles worldwide. The United States alone accounts for 21%, and nearly one third of journals are published by countries with fewer contributions than Spain.

However, when talking about Open Access journals, the output is quite different: according to both Ulrich’s and DOAJ2, Spain is currently country number four in the world with 5.5%,  after Brazil, UK and USA. Yet, what is the level of adoption of OA in Spanish journals?

According to Ulrich’s, 34% of active scholarly journals published in Spain are OA, but this proportion is higher when consulting Dulcinea3, the most comprehensive, up-to-date and accurate source for Spanish journals. A current search shows that 76% of the journals are freely available online, 10.2% operate under an embargo, and only 1.5% are hybrid. The remaining 12.3% of  journals are restricted to subscribers.

Nevertheless, free access does not necessarily imply Open Access. Thus, that 76% should be correlated with re-use rights in order to get the exact amount of OA journals.

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dulcinea1

A recent study5 has revealed that most of the Spanish journals indexed in Web of Science or Scopus are Open Access (56.9%). The extent of OA adoption varied by subject area; it represented 68% of the Social Sciences and Humanities titles, and 55% of Science, Technology and Medicine journals. It also depended on the publisher type; OA models were adopted by 81% of the journals published by universities and research centers, 71% of the titles published by associations and societies, and only 30% of journals belonging to commercial publishers. APC-funded OA journals, both full OA and hybrid, were very few.

Open Access in Spain is driven by the online presses of academic institutions, based mostly in OJS platforms at both individual and collective level. The Spanish Center for Advanced Studies (CSIC), Complutense University of Madrid, University of Barcelona and Catalan Open Access Journals (RACO) are good examples of that.

There are 507 Spanish journals indexed in DOAJ6, while the current total number of Spanish free-access journals is 1,3547 . This fact suggests that only about one third (37.4%) of the free-access Spanish journals appear in DOAJ as OA titles. Opposedly,  196 of the 253 Spanish OA journals indexed either in Wos or Scopus are included in DOAJ as well, showing a much higher rate for this specific group (77.5%).  Thus, there is a lot of work to do in order to index Spanish OA journals in DOAJ, especially those not being covered in WoS or Scopus.

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Open Access Journals Strategy in Algeria

This is a guest post by Kamel Belhamel, DOAJ Ambassador, North Africa

algeriaThe importance of Open Access (OA) was recently recognised by Algerian scientists, libraries and publishers. Until recently, Algerian researchers preferred to publish their papers in European journals with an impact factor, in order to achieve certain personal goals (e.g. better career opportunities and advancement, CV fortification, etc.), however the Western system of scholarly publishing often stigmatizes developing country research as local rather than international.

One of the most important OA journal promoters in Algeria at this time is DGRSDT (National Council of Scientific Research and Technology of Algeria). Since 2015, the DGRSDT has organised workshops and supports Algerian editors in the implementation of open science. Many of those editors don’t have the experience of ensuring the quality and the transparency of the editorial process. Out of 359 Algerian scientific journals listed by the DGRSDT, only 7 are indexed in the DOAJ (or 1.95 %). Most of the scientific journals, supported via institutional memberships, don’t have a website and are only published on paper. So there is a need to develop a method for determining the quality of these journals and to help Algerian scientific journals to become more visible on the internet, thereby making them accessible and discoverable for the international community.

In response to the important need of access to scholarly content by the Algerian research community, the DGRSDT has started a project with the goal of collecting and publishing all information about Algerian editors and their scientific journals, thereby ensuring that research publications and research data will be publicly available on the internet. This project seeks to achieve, a) development of training programmes with editors, b) promotion of the exchange of ideas and experience among Algerian editors, c) establish global collaborative efforts by co-operating with international editors and organizations in the advancement of open access. Furthermore, following a recent meeting with myself, the DGRSDT has published a recommendation that all Algerian journals become familiar with the DOAJ criteria and apply for indexing in DOAJ. This is an important step toward the visibility of Algerian journals at an international level.

Since printed journals are costly and have very low visibility, one of the initiatives that is especially interesting is the launch a portal of Algerian scientific journals by the Research Centre on Scientific and Technical Information (CERIST). This portal, named Webreview, is open to anyone wishing to publish journal content online, either open or closed access, allows the development of scientific research in Algeria and will increase its visibility. Although DGRSDT is aware of the importance of OA repositories, they are still too small and there remains something to be done at both institutional and national level.

The Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research has already decided that PhD students can defend their theses by publishing their papers in Algerian OA journals indexed in Scopus, Web of Science, DOAJ, etc. This positive initiative will surely increase the number of Algerian OA journals and will generate considerable added value to science.

A Funding Opportunity for APC-free Open Access Journals and Platforms

This is a guest post by Pablo de Castro, Coordinator for the OpenAIRE FP7 Post-Grant Open Access Pilot.

OpenAIREplus_logoThe FP7 Post-Grant Open Access Pilot, as launched by the EC and OpenAIRE in May 2015, was mainly designed as a tool to fund Open Access publishing fees for publications arising from completed FP7 (7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development) projects. This is its main area of activity and this work is starting to bear fruit, with over 300 funded Open Access publications after a year of operation.

However, most of the journals in the DOAJ charge no APCs to their authors. Moreover, lacking a proper business model, funding opportunities for these journals are scarce beyond governmental and/or institutional funding and specific calls such as the Canadian SSHRC’s.

This is why this pilot has extended its funding scope to also cover APC-free OA journals and platforms through an alternative funding mechanism released on May 3rd. This funding mechanism will allow journals to collect support for the implementation of technical improvements on their publishing workflows. Its features and requirements will be thoroughly discussed at an OpenAIRE webinar on May 12th.

This initiative will specifically offer an opportunity to establish closer links between OpenAIRE and APC-free OA journals and publishers. While fully Open Access publishers like Ubiquity Press and Copernicus are OpenAIRE-compliant, OpenAIRE’s main focus has traditionally been—and will remain—on OA repositories and repository networks. Through this initiative, this will now be extended out to OA journals, allowing a deeper technical harmonization to take place in the APC-free OA publishing landscape.

One of the key technical improvements to be funded will be having the journal’s outputs regularly indexed at article level  in DOAJ. 69% of the OA journals currently listed in DOAJ are indexed at article level, which means there’s room for improvement. OpenAIRE is eager to promote this article-level indexing in DOAJ as a standard that will result in more visibility for the global OA content production.

Another strongly recommended enhancement is the systematic inclusion of the funding and project information in the article-level metadata within the publishing platform. While this is already a requirement for OpenAIRE-compliant repositories (at least for EC-funded projects, i.e. FP7 and Horizon 2020), it is only very rarely happening in APC-free Open Access journals at the time, even when it’s a key aspect of the way the contextual information around a publication is collected and shared. This collection of funding and project information will in fact be key for identifying eligibility for this alternative funding mechanism.

We are very much looking forward then to collecting interesting funding proposals from APC-free Open Access journals and platforms in the next two months. Make sure to register for the May 12th webinar if interested in this funding opportunity!