A statement regarding the JCT tender for Plan S

In the recent tender document published by cOAlition S for the development of a Journal Checker Tool (JCT), it is stated very clearly that DOAJ is the preferred source of data for the gold open access journal compliance route. DOAJ already collects and publishes the 3 pieces of metadata which must be included in the first iteration of the JCT. 

DOAJ has decided that it will not officially partner with any provider bidding for the tender and neither will it submit a joint bid with a provider. Instead, the DOAJ team is focusing on the changes needed to the platform so that it is ready for future iterations of the JCT. Providers submitting a tender to cOAlition S should be aware that these changes have costs and these will need to be covered. 

DOAJ will gladly work with all parties submitting a tender and provide them with a breakdown of those costs, as is stated as required on page 6 of the tender document.

Sponsorship plan for 2020

Here are the details of our sponsorship rates and benefits for 2020. As always, we remain truly grateful to all our sponsors for their support.

An addition to the benefits for 2020 is that all sponsors, sponsoring us with £3000 or more, are eligible to put forward a nomination at the next round of elections for the Advisory Board or Council, and then vote in both elections.

Annotation 2019-10-04 073645

If you require any further information, please email me: dom@doaj.org.



New Pilot to encourage Finnish Open Access Journals to apply to DOAJ


TSV loves DOAJ logoDOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals) and the Federation of Finnish Learned Societies (TSV) are collaborating on a pilot project to encourage and help peer-reviewed open access (OA) journals published in Finland to be indexed in DOAJ. The Pilot runs from May 2019 to May 2020.

DOAJ has set an international standard for peer-reviewed OA journals. The index currently includes 13500 journals from over 131 countries publishing in 75 languages, showing the regional and linguistic diversity of research. 

For a variety of reasons, not all open access journals are indexed in DOAJ. A recent paper by Björk showed DOAJ covers 42% of OA journals published in Nordic countries, and there are considerable country differences – 68% of OA journals from Norway but only 23% from Finland.

In an open letter concerning Plan S, DOAJ called on representative groups in the social sciences, humanities and arts to collaborate with them and help them to identify journals that are fit for purpose, and which should be indexed in DOAJ. The TSV Publication Forum (Julkaisufoorumi in Finnish) answered that call and has identified ~160 potential OA journals published in Finland, of which 29 are already in DOAJ. TSV proposed a collaboration with DOAJ to help getting the rest of the Finnish OA journals indexed.

The pilot project will determine if these journals are DOAJ compliant and, if not, what they need to do to meet the basic DOAJ criteria. DOAJ, TSV Publication Forum and TSV Publication Services will work together to facilitate the process of the journals’ possible inclusion in DOAJ by communicating criteria, translating instructions, and organising workshops for training and preparing applications. A further goal  of the pilot is to encourage Finnish journals that are not yet OA to consider open access publishing. 

TSV Publication Forum maintains a national classification of peer-reviewed journals and book publishers that is based on evaluation by field-specific expert panels. All the identified potential OA journals have been approved to be peer-reviewed academic/scholarly journals. Many of the journals also use the TSV label for peer-reviewed scholarly publications, showing their strong commitment to high standards of peer-review and research integrity.

Most peer-reviewed journals in Finland are not-for-profit and are published by learned societies. TSV’s strategy for 2019-2023 includes developing open publication by member organisations so the pilot project launched with DOAJ is very much on the Federation’s agenda. TSV is also the national coordinator of Finland’s open science policy, and is currently working with stakeholders to create a national open access strategy as well as recommendations for responsible evaluation of a researcher.

Further information: 
Dominic Mitchell (dom@doaj.org)
Janne Pölönen (janne.polonen@tsv.fi)

University of Vienna hosts the DOAJ

University of Vienna logoTomorrow is the start of DOAJ’s biannual meeting, where team members and colleagues come together to discuss DOAJ strategy and developments, editorial policy and processes. Most of all, it is our chance to re-establish team connections, learn from each other’s experiences and renew friendships.

Previous meetings have taken place in Stockholm, Rome, Copenhagen, and Barcelona. This year, we are heading to beautiful Vienna in Austria, the world’s stage for classical music, opera and schnitzel! We are extremely lucky and honoured that the Library at the University of Vienna has agreed to host us for the 3-day meeting.

The University of Vienna, and Austria as a whole, have been extremely supportive of DOAJ over many years. The Austrian Science Fund (FWF) was the first state funder to agree to provide funding to DOAJ on a nationwide scale. They renewed their investment in 2017, this time joined by the Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy (BMWFW). 

We thank University of Vienna unreservedly for their hospitality over the next few days.

DOAJ reaches its SCOSS funding target within 18 months and sets its sights on new work

(Repost from the SCOSS website.)

We are delighted to announce that the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) has reached its funding target to cover its operational costs as were outlined in its SCOSS application. Eight consortia and 175 institutions/organisations from 18 different countries have committed support to DOAJ. “We’d like to thank our supporters. That this many organisations stand behind this initiative and promised this amount of funding shows how important sustaining open access infrastructure is,” said Lars Bjørnshauge, DOAJ Managing Director.

There are organisations that have already made the decision to help fund DOAJ, but are still deliberating over the details of their financial commitment. Though the funding goal has now been met, these organisations may still commit financial support. Furthermore, the SCOSS Board has allowed DOAJ to present a new work package, both to these organisations and any additional organisations that come forward in 2019. The package describes additional activities that DOAJ would like to pursue with the extra funding, should it be granted.

The Board has supported the second work package on the conditions that DOAJ reports on progress made in a progress report on the activities delineated in the SCOSS application form, and that DOAJ describes the new work package in detail and includes a budget for the amount of funding needed. For details see the financial overview and the new work package.

SCOSS endorses this plan through the end of 2019.

DOAJ’s open letter to SSHA communities about Plan S

The recently published Royal Historical Society (RHS) working paper on Plan S contains some errors about the role that DOAJ might play in Plan S certification. These misunderstandings are commonplace and we, the DOAJ Management Team, have seen them before in other responses to Plan S. They are disappointing but they are not surprising. The draft Plan S requirements are vague enough to allow for assumptions to be made. Many statements from organisations or representative bodies, and papers, including the one from our DOAJ Board member Jan Erik Frantsvåg, have made the same assumption.

So far DOAJ has refrained from responding to Plan S and its commentators. The draft guidelines published by cOAlition S thus far are only that: draft. DOAJ is not a confirmed “partner” of Plan S. Feedback on the bold plan, submitted after public consultation, is still being worked through and, until we hear further, nothing is confirmed. However, the responses keep coming and with them perpetuated myths about what DOAJ does and who it serves.

The DOAJ Management Team recently decided that it is time to do a bit of “myth-busting“. Therefore we are publishing this open letter, partly as a response to the RHS paper, mostly as a way of addressing the misunderstandings that have been circulated on social media, but also as a call to SSHA communities to collaborate with us.

SSHA communities are going to need a lot of support

We felt it was important to respond to this particular statement because it illustrates that there is a great need to support social science, humanities and arts (SSHA) communities. DOAJ is keen to work more closely with SSHA communities and the organisations and bodies working with them to enable them to become fully familiar with the driving forces behind open access, in a way that the STEMM communities already are. Organisations representing SSHA communities can assist their members in that process and encourage them to embrace open access and the free dissemination of publicly funded research. RHS has a responsibility to help their members to understand the importance of open access, new publishing models and the opportunities which open access publishing brings, as much as research funders have a responsibility to fund more History research than they do today in a fair and non-discriminatory manner.


With this post, DOAJ is putting out an open call to representative groups in the social sciences, humanities and arts to collaborate with us…

DOAJ falls short in its coverage

The RHS paper points out that ‘most ‘history of medicine’ journals identified from the DOAJ are not fit for purpose for high-calibre UK History research publications’ (page 3). We agree 100% that our coverage of SSHA journals is not good enough and this is something that we are actively tackling this year.

In 2014, DOAJ tightened its acceptance criteria and in 2015* made all the 10 000+ indexed journals reapply to remain indexed. Many SSHA journals failed to submit a re-application to us, or didn’t meet enough of the criteria to remain indexed. It is not enough to expect these journals to simply come to us and apply. We must go to them and help them understand why being indexed in DOAJ is a good thing, but we cannot do it alone. With this post, we are putting out an open call to representative groups in the social sciences, humanities and arts to collaborate with us and help us to identify journals that are fit for purpose, and which should be indexed in DOAJ.

(* This letter was updated on 23rd May to correct the year in this sentence. DOAJ imposed its new criteria in March 2014 and began the reapplication project in 2015.)

The current draft of the Plan S requirements disfavour any journals, SSHA or otherwise, that do not charge APCs and these are exactly the journals that DOAJ is trying to protect and promote.

Plan S and SSHA journals

The RHS paper describes an understandable concern that Plan S disadvantages SSHA journals, many of which do not charge APCs. We were pleased to read this comment as this echoes exactly the concern which DOAJ presented to cOAlition S during the feedback period. The current draft of the Plan S requirements glosses over any journals, SSHA or otherwise, that do not charge APCs and these are the journals that DOAJ is trying to protect and promote.

DOAJ also presented feedback that shows how the current draft of Plan S favours the larger, more traditional publishers since it provides incentives for them to “flip” to open access. The small, innovative, perhaps unfunded, open access journals and publishers are given no support at all and DOAJ is in agreement with RHS that this will directly affect SSHA journals in a major way.


DOAJ is not an index of high impact, high prestige journals from the Global North and neither will we become one if we become a cOAlition S partner.

DOAJ and Plan S compliance

Many commentators of Plan S have mentioned either that many journals in DOAJ are not Plan S compliant or that it is hard to identify Plan S compliant journals currently indexed in DOAJ. If cOAlition S confirms that DOAJ is a partner in Plan S implementation then the DOAJ Management Team will adapt DOAJ, both the website and the editorial processes, to allow journals to apply for Plan S compliance.

  • We will add a separate stream for those journals seeking Plan S compliance.
  • Being indexed in DOAJ will not equal Plan S compliance.
  • We will make it possible for journals to be indexed appropriately in DOAJ: Plan S compliant or DOAJ compliant or compliance for both.
  • We understand that many of the journals which eventually achieve Plan S compliance probably aren’t in DOAJ today.
  • We do expect that many of the journals in DOAJ today may not even want to apply for Plan S compliance.
  • We will work hard to make sure that Plan S compliant journals are quickly and easily identifiable by users.

DOAJ’s mission is to ‘to increase the visibility, accessibility, reputation, usage and impact of quality, peer-reviewed, open access scholarly research journals globally, regardless of discipline, geography or language’. That missions includes a focus on open access journals from the Global South. It is impossible today to tell what effects Plan S will have on scholarly publishing in the Global South.

The RHS paper states that ‘relatively low quality standards of the OA journals in DOAJ suggest that these outlets lack staff, expertise and/or funding to undertake essential editorial work (of which English prose enhancement forms only one example)’ (page 20). This is a sweeping generalisation. The author of the paper assesses the academic quality of these journals by their structure and financing and this is a mistake we see time and time again, particularly from commentators in the Global North. Every journal in DOAJ has been manually reviewed to ensure that it meets our standards for best practice and publishing standards in open access. We index journals from all over the world, journals of all shapes, sizes and business models and yes, many of them are run single-handedly without funding. But DOAJ is not an index of high impact, high prestige journals from the Global North and neither will we become one if we become a cOAlition S partner.

The RHS paper also states that ‘Plan S’s reliance upon DOAJ, …has caused some bemusement in the OA community.’ (page 17) Any bemusement displayed by the open access community is based on misunderstandings: the misunderstanding that DOAJ, in its current form and structure, is ready to monitor Plan S compliance; and the misunderstanding that DOAJ still has a problem with quality. DOAJ took proactive steps in 2013 to address the problem of questionable journals and implemented its expanded application form in March 2014.  We hope that this post goes some way to address those misunderstandings.


DOAJ has grown to represent the gold standard of open access.

‘…DOAJ, which has well-known issues with quality/reliability’ (Page 17)

We refute the claims that we have problems with quality and we would welcome a discussion with the author of the RHS paper to look at the evidence she has for this statement. In 2014, DOAJ rewrote the standard for quality, peer-reviewed open access publishing. The re-application project referred to above was the start of a long process to raise the bar to be indexed with us and since then, DOAJ has grown to represent the gold standard of open access. In fact, it is very hard to find questionable publishers in DOAJ today.

Our criteria form the basis of the criteria for almost all of the other services operating within open access and our metadata is pulled into every major aggregation, indexing and discovery service, including Scopus, Web of Science and others. Indeed Scopus will only add their open access tag to a journal when they see it has been indexed in DOAJ, and Web of Science requires indexing in DOAJ for open access journals to be in their list.


DOAJ article metadata is as up-to-date as the publishers wish it to be

Some of the journals mentioned in Appendix 1 of the RHS paper have published content more recently than stated but have not supplied metadata to DOAJ. Unlike other indexing services, we do not go out and collect article metadata from journals so DOAJ only contains the article metadata that publishers have provided to us. We work very hard to encourage publishers to send their metadata to us and the advent of our API has gone a long way to facilitate this. We are seeing the number of articles deposited rapidly increase. (266,255,000 hits recorded to the API in 2018.) We are researching ways to make depositing metadata with us even easier, particularly by allowing other XML formats to be deposited with us. This work will need to be complete should DOAJ become a key player in Plan S. 


Many journals from countries where English is not the first language enhance their article content’s visibility in DOAJ by uploading translated abstracts to us.

Non-English language content in DOAJ

‘The DOAJ descriptor often suggests that a journal publishes both in English and other languages when in fact only an English abstract is published’ (page 18). In fact, where a language or multiple languages are displayed against a journal entry in DOAJ, this refers to the language of the full text and not the language of the abstracts. See https://doaj.org/application/new#languages-container. Many journals from countries where English is not the first language, and which publish in their native language, enhance their article content’s visibility in DOAJ by uploading translated abstracts to us, but the full text content often remains in a language other than English. They do this because they know that the article metadata will be widely disseminated and DOAJ is an excellent platform for them to share their published work.

As I wrote earlier, DOAJ would love to work closely with societies and other organisations in SSHA, like the Royal Historical Society, to identify journals which are ‘fit for purpose for high-calibre … research publications’. We note the statement that ‘RHS lacks sufficient staffing or financial resources to undertake a full analysis of the availability and Plan S-compliance of OA History or Humanities journals’ (page 16) and expect that that may be true of other SSHA communities. I wonder if there isn’t a piece of work here that we can do together to kick start this process?

All University of California campuses commit to DOAJ

Ten institutions from the University of California – all ten campuses – commit €90,000 to DOAJ, the largest US consortium to support DOAJ via the SCOSS initiative so far.

DOAJ is very pleased for the support received from the University of California towards a sustainable funding model promoted by SCOSS.

Swiss consortium pledges 216,000 Eur to DOAJ and SHERPA/RoMEO

We are delighted to announce that the Consortium of Swiss Academic Libraries, comprising sixteen libraries and the Swiss National Science Foundation, is the third national consortium to commit to the SCOSS initiative.

swissuniversities, the Rectors’ Conference of Swiss Higher Education Institutions, contributes approximately 50% of the total costs in the framework of the Swiss National Strategy for Open Access.

Thank you very much for your support!

¡Primera institución en Colombia en dar apoyo a DOAJ!

Estamos muy orgullosos de dar la bienvenida a la Universidad Distrital Francisco José de Caldas como la primera institución colombiana en convertirse en miembro de DOAJ.

Colombia es undécimo país en el mundo con más revistas académicas indexadas en DOAJ (325). Solo en 2018 añadimos 59 nuevas revistas y esperamos poder continuar con una relación de colaboración provechosa y estrecha con las instituciones colombianas.

La Universidad Distrital Francisco José de Caldas como institución autónoma de educación superior, de carácter público en su política editorial garantiza el acceso abierto a los artículos, de manera que se haga ágil y visible el contenido. Ser miembros de DOAJ con 12 revistas científicas, reafirma el compromiso de implementar buenas prácticas editoriales con altos estándares de calidad. 

Fernando Piraquive P.
Coordinación de Revistas Científicas -Universidad Distrital Francisco José de Caldas