Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing, version 3

The 3rd version of the Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing is published today.

Introduction

The Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA), and the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME) are scholarly organizations that have seen an increase in the number, and broad range in the quality, of membership applications. Our organizations have collaborated to identify principles of transparency and best practice for scholarly publications and to clarify that these principles form the basis of the criteria by which suitability for membership is assessed by COPE, DOAJ and OASPA, and part of the criteria on which membership applications are evaluated by WAME. Each organization also has their own, additional criteria which are used when evaluating applications. The organizations will not share lists of publishers or journals that failed to demonstrate that they met the criteria for transparency and best practice. Backgrounds on each organization are at the bottom of this post.

This is the third version of a work in progress (published 15 January 2018); the first version was made available by OASPA in December 2013 and published on the DOAJ web site in January 2014. We encourage its wide dissemination and continue to welcome feedback on the general principles and the specific criteria.

Principles of Transparency

  1. Website: A journal’s website, including the text that it contains, shall demonstrate that care has been taken to ensure high ethical and professional standards. It must not contain information that might mislead readers or authors, including any attempt to mimic another journal/publisher’s site.
    An ‘Aims & Scope’ statement should be included on the website and the readership clearly defined. There should be a statement on what a journal will consider for publication including authorship criteria (e.g., not considering multiple submissions, redundant publications) to be included. ISSNs should be clearly displayed (separate for print and electronic).
  2. Name of journal: The Journal name shall be unique and not be one that is easily confused with another journal or that might mislead potential authors and readers about the Journal’s origin or association with other journals. 
  3. Peer review process: Journal content must be clearly marked as whether peer reviewed or not. Peer review is defined as obtaining advice on individual manuscripts from reviewers expert in the field who are not part of the journal’s editorial staff. This process, as well as any policies related to the journal’s peer review procedures, shall be clearly described on the journal website, including the method of peer review used. Journal websites should not guarantee manuscript acceptance or very short peer review times. 
  4. Ownership and management: Information about the ownership and/or management of a journal shall be clearly indicated on the journal’s website. Publishers shall not use organizational or journal names that would mislead potential authors and editors about the nature of the journal’s owner. 
  5. Governing body: Journals shall have editorial boards or other governing bodies whose members are recognized experts in the subject areas included within the journal’s scope. The full names and affiliations of the journal’s editorial board or other governing body shall be provided on the journal’s website. 
  6. Editorial team/contact information: Journals shall provide the full names and affiliations of the journal’s editors on the journal website as well as contact information for the editorial office, including a full address. 
  7. Copyright and Licensing: The policy for copyright shall be clearly stated in the author guidelines and the copyright holder named on all published articles.  Likewise, licensing information shall be clearly described in guidelines on the website, and licensing terms shall be indicated on all published articles, both HTML and PDFs.  If authors are allowed to publish under a Creative Commons license then any specific license requirements shall be noted.  Any policies on posting of final accepted versions or published articles on third party repositories shall be clearly stated. 
  8. Author fees: Any fees or charges that are required for manuscript processing and/or publishing materials in the journal shall be clearly stated in a place that is easy for potential authors to find prior to submitting their manuscripts for review or explained to authors before they begin preparing their manuscript for submission.  If no such fees are charged that should also be clearly stated. 
  9. Process for identification of and dealing with allegations of research misconduct: Publishers and editors shall take reasonable steps to identify and prevent the publication of papers where research misconduct has occurred, including plagiarism, citation manipulation, and data falsification/fabrication, among others. In no case shall a journal or its editors encourage such misconduct, or knowingly allow such misconduct to take place. In the event that a journal’s publisher or editors are made aware of any allegation of research misconduct relating to a published article in their journal, the publisher or editor shall follow COPE’s guidelines (or equivalent) in dealing with allegations. 
  10. Publication Ethics: A journal shall also have policies on publishing ethics. These should be clearly visible on its website, and should refer to: i) Journal policies on authorship and contributorship; ii) How the journal will handle complaints and appeals; iii) Journal policies on conflicts of interest / competing interests; iv) Journal policies on data sharing and reproducibility; v) Journal’s policy on ethical oversight; vi) Journal’s policy on intellectual property; and vii) Journal’s options for post-publication discussions and corrections. 
  11. Publishing schedule: The periodicity at which a journal publishes shall be clearly indicated. 
  12. Access: The way(s) in which the journal and individual articles are available to readers and whether there are associated subscription or pay per view fees shall be stated. 
  13. Archiving: A journal’s plan for electronic backup and preservation of access to the journal content (for example, access to main articles via CLOCKSS or PubMed Central) in the event a journal is no longer published shall be clearly indicated. 
  14. Revenue sources: Business models or revenue sources (e.g., author fees, subscriptions, advertising, reprints, institutional support, and organizational support) shall be clearly stated or otherwise evident on the journal’s website. Publishing fees or waiver status should not influence editorial decision making. 
  15. Advertising: Journals shall state their advertising policy if relevant, including what types of adverts will be considered, who makes decisions regarding accepting adverts and whether they are linked to content or reader behaviour (online only) or are displayed at random. Advertisements should not be related in any way to editorial decision making and shall be kept separate from the published content. 
  16. Direct marketing: Any direct marketing activities, including solicitation of manuscripts that are conducted on behalf of the journal, shall be appropriate, well targeted, and unobtrusive.  Information provided about the publisher or journal is expected to be truthful and not misleading for readers or authors.

In the event that a member organization is found to have violated these best practices, or other specific requirements of the organization, OASPA/DOAJ/COPE/WAME shall in the first instance try to work with them in order to address any concerns that have been raised. In the event that the member organization is unable or unwilling to address these concerns, their membership in the organization may be suspended or terminated. All of the member organizations have procedures for dealing with concerns raised about member journals.

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About the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE, https://publicationethics.org/)

COPE provides advice to editors and publishers on all aspects of publication ethics and, in particular, how to handle cases of research and publication misconduct. It also provides a forum for its members to discuss individual cases. COPE does not investigate individual cases but encourages editors to ensure that cases are investigated by the appropriate authorities (usually a research institution or employer). All COPE members are expected to apply COPE principles of publication ethics outlined in the core practices.

About the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ, https://doaj.org)

The mission of the DOAJ is to curate, maintain and develop a source of reliable information about open access scholarly journals on the web; to verify that entries on the list comply with reasonable standards; to increase the visibility, dissemination, discoverability and attraction of open access journals; to enable scholars, libraries, universities, research funders and other stakeholders to benefit from the information and services provided; to facilitate the integration of open access journals into library and aggregator services; to assist, where possible, publishers and their journals to meet reasonable digital publishing standards; and to thereby support the transition of the system of scholarly communication and publishing into a model that serves science, higher education, industry, innovation, societies and the people. Through this work, DOAJ will cooperate and collaborate with all interested parties working toward these objectives.

About the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA, https://oaspa.org/)

OASPA is a trade association that was established in 2008 in order to represent the interests of Open Access (OA) publishers globally across all disciplines. By encouraging collaboration in developing appropriate business models, tools and standards to support OA publishing, OASPA aims to help ensure a prosperous and sustainable future for the benefit of its members and the scholarly communities they serve. This mission is carried out through exchanging information, setting standards, advancing models, advocacy, education, and the promotion of innovation.  

About the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME, http://www.wame.org)

WAME is a global nonprofit voluntary association of editors of peer-reviewed medical journals who seek to foster cooperation and communication among editors; improve editorial standards; promote professionalism in medical editing through education, self-criticism, and self-regulation; and encourage research on the principles and practice of medical editing. WAME develops policies and recommendations of best practices for medical journal editors and has a syllabus for editors that members are encouraged to follow.

The SCOSS initiative: DOAJ receives first funding, from the University of Alberta Libraries.

As reported in November, a coalition has been formed called SCOSS which is running a pilot project aimed at generating a sustaining model of funding for DOAJ and SHERPA/RoMEO.

scoss-1The iniative sets out to attract funding from around the world and it is with great delight that DOAJ can announce it has now received its first funding via this model.

 

ua-lib-colourThe University of Alberta Libraries group was the first to respond to the call for funding and by doing so has made a clear commitment, not only to the sustainability and development of DOAJ, but to the sustainability and success of open access. Denise Koufogiannakis, Associate University Librarian at University of Alberta, said:

“The University of Alberta Libraries (UAL) is committed to building open infrastructure for scholarly communication and is pleased to support DOAJ and SHERPA/RoMEO via the SCOSS funding initiative. Both these services are essential to the success of UAL’s open access initiatives, including our digital repository and our journal hosting and publishing service. They are a vital part of enabling UAL to provide quality open scholarship services that reflect the University of Alberta’s commitment to ‘uplift the whole people’. ”

DOAJ is hopeful that the commitment of UAL is the first of many such actions and is looking forward to hearing from the many other institutions that have been approached under this new model.

 

 

Publishers Report: 2017 in Summary

As a publisher who supports DOAJ, either as a member or as a sponsor, you are part of a growing global network of publishers who have unequivocally stated a firm commitment to support open access through DOAJ’s work. On behalf of the entire DOAJ Team and supporters of open access the world over, I would like to thank you for your continued support. Your contributions are always spent directly on improving DOAJ’s infrastructure; maintaining high levels of recency and accuracy of the DOAJ metadata; and increasing the awareness of issues surrounding open access. The team at DOAJ ensures that all of this happens in a way that keeps DOAJ relevant around the globe, and not just in the Global North.

This report briefly covers our main achievements in 2017, as well as developments for the year ahead. If you have any questions on its content, or would like to know more, then drop me an email: dom@doaj.org.

With very best wishes for the new year ahead,

Dom Mitchell
Operations Manager


What We Achieved in 2017

2017 saw the end of the Reapplications project and the extension of our Ambassador program. We made improvements to our workflow to reduce our turnaround times on new applications and we launched our education and outreach program. Finally, we carried out a series of small projects to internationalise DOAJ as much as possible.

The reapplication project and updates to journals

All publishers were asked to submit new applications for all of the journals which were already included in DOAJ. 6359 reapplications were sent to us. Of those, 4031 were accepted as meeting the high standards required to be indexed in the Directory. This also means that, for the first time since launch in 2003, more than 99% of all the journal information in DOAJ is less than two years old. For those journals which didn’t make the grade, DOAJ offered feedback on how to improve the journal’s practices and, unless otherwise stated, those journals may send in new applications 6 months after the last decision from us, provided that they can show that they have implemented the changes recommended to them.

Also, our predictions at the start of the project came true and we never heard from 2860 journals; they all failed to resubmit reapplications to us. After repeated reminders, these journals were removed from the Directory which meant that, in total, the reapplication project resulted in a 40% cull of titles from DOAJ.

One of the inherent problems with the reapplications project, which we identified at the start, was that DOAJ relies heavily on journal representatives (publishers, journal owners, editors) to keep the information in the Directory up to date, including cotact details. Currently, a journal representative must contact the DOAJ Team with any updates to the journal information which are then verified and applied on behalf of the publisher. This means that, more often than not, journal information is never updated. To combat this, DOAJ reviews journal information regularly but to make this whole process easier, we will be launching a new system which will enable journal representatives to update information themselves. Submitted updates will be reviewed by the DOAJ Team before being published immediately to the site.

Extension of the Ambassador program, education and outreach

The Ambassador program, launched in 2016 and financed by the IDRC, was a huge success, so much so that we received further funding to extend the program into 2017. The DOAJ Ambassadors were able to continue their excellent work in their home territories. It also meant that, in those countries where we suffered a heavy loss of titles after the Reapplication Project, DOAJ was able to target efforts and encourage new applications from many of the local open access journals. This most recently happened in Korea, Japan and Indonesia and further countries are planned for 2018. We extended the Editor-in-Chief’s role to concentrate specifically on Education and Outreach and in 2018, we will be launching a series of training videos, specifically aimed at improving the quality of applications sent to us. More on that below.

Improved workflow and reduced turnaround times

Something that we hear a lot at DOAJ is that our turnaround times for processing new applications are too long. In 2017, this was certainly due to the number of reapplications which we had to process but, unfortunately, we have always had lengthy processing times. In the hope that this will encourage more applications from titles not yet in DOAJ, we took steps to correct this and reduce the time to first decision.

Never before has DOAJ been in a position where it has had so many people working for it and processing applications for us. We created a new role, Senior Managing Editor, whose is specifically tasked with monitoring throughput; we expanded our Triage role which, essentially, removes all of the rubbish applications from the queues, allowing the editorial team to focus on those applications which matter; we identified and pooled our most dedicated volunteers to give greater processing power; we have started a system whereby applications can be allocated directly to a reviewer rather than sitting in a holding pattern awaiting assignment; we re-focused our editorial team and allocated resource to those countries submitting the most applications to us; we introduced a reporting system which allows us to track applications and alerts us when the workflow slows for whatever reason.

All of these changes combined will see a greater throughput of new applications in 2018.

Internationalisation of DOAJ

Despite our aim to be as global as possible, much of what we write is in English, or is generated from our offices across Europe. DOAJ aims to be as global as possible and be as relevant as possible to all parts of the world. In 2017, we extended the range of our translated materials, hoping to encourage more interaction and participation from all around the world. We also invited guest blog posts from our Ambassadors, a series which focussed on how open access works and some of the issues facing open access in different parts of the world.

 

Coming Down The Pipe in 2018

Our three focus areas for 2018 are:

  1. Sustainability
  2. Scalability and stability
  3. Education and outreach

Sustainability

We have partnered with agents working in Europe who are approaching institutions on our behalf to secure more funding. DOAJ is also one of the beneficiaries of the SCOSS pilot which launched late 2017 with an aim to establishing a sustainable funding model for DOAJ and SHERPA/RoMEO. As our operations grow, we require more funding and so we need to fund DOAJ in a more sustainable way than the hand-to-mouth model we survive on currently.

Also, more attention is being paid, both by potential funders as well as the community, to what DOAJ is, how we are set up and how we operate. People are looking to us for more transparency and structure in our business model and our processes, and as a community-driven organisation, our supporters are expecting to have more of an influence in DOAJ’s direction. We will be formalising a new governance model in early 2018 to meet these demands.

Scalability and stability

With our technical partners, Cottage Labs, we are about to start a huge infrastructure project which will completely rebuild the underlying platform, making it more stable and easier to develop in the future. Traffic to DOAJ has more than doubled over the last 3 years and we must ensure that the platform remains fit for purpose for the next 5 years at least, particularly as traffic will increase even more as we add new metadata and new ways to connect to the site to harvest it.

Over the latter half of 2017, we saw spikes in usage from crawlers, usage through our API and had to throttle some of these to make sure that users on the site were able to use the site normally. We want to expand and stabilise the platform so that we can accommodate all traffic sources without any adverse effects.

Education and outreach

As mentioned above, DOAJ will be launching a series of training videos, to encourage better quality applications. We are currently putting together the first one which will be an introduction to DOAJ. We will then publish a series of videos, aimed at editors, publishers and researchers, to help simplify some of the more obscure aspects of open access publishing. One such area will be copyright retention versus [Creative Commons] licensing.

Our Editor-in-Chief will continue to target areas of the world from which we receive few or low quality applications. DOAJ will firm up its presence in the open access arena both as an educator and an influencer. We also hope to increase the number of Social Science and Humanities journals in DOAJ.

The Reapplications project is officially complete.

DOAJ is very pleased to announce that its Reapplications project, which started in January 2015, is officially complete. Although the last reapplication was processed by the DOAJ Editorial Team at the end of October, some tidying-up remained to be done: a few discontinued journals; a few which had changed title; and a few for which we had no reapplication. In total, the DOAJ Editorial Team processed 6359 submitted reapplications, of which 2058 were rejected.  A further 2860 journals were removed from the database for failing to submit a reapplication at all. In total over 40% of the journals were culled from the database.

All the journals which are now listed in the database have been reviewed under DOAJ’s stricter criteria. 99% of the journal records are as current as mid-2015. A small fraction are slightly older, from 2014.

Now that the Reapplications project is complete, DOAJ will work with its technical partners, Cottage Labs, to develop a system whereby publishers can submit updates to their journal records, automating a time-consuming process which distracts the editorial team from reviewing new applications. We will write more here when we have something to share.

 

Large-scale Implementation of Open Access in China

At the end of October, the National Science Library, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (NSL, CAS), the National Science and Technology Library (NSTL) and ShanghaiTech University Library signed the Open Access 2020 Initiative. The Director of NSL, CAS, Mr. LIU Huizhou, said that open access is beneficial to scientific research, scientific communication and the development of a creative society. The signature of OA2020 means that China will actively contribute to the reform of the global scientific communication system. It will also accelerate the implementation of CAS’s open access policy.

China has long supported open access. In 2004, CAS signed Berlin Declaration on Open Access. In 2013, the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) and CAS signed GRC Action Plan on Open Access for Publications. In 2014, NSTL attended SCOAP3, and from then on Chinese authors can publish articles for free in journals funded by SCOAP3.

On the same year, CAS  and NSFC  made statements about making publications funded by public money open access, and requested researchers to deposit accepted articles in their institutional repositories or the NSFC’s Open Repository and to make them open access within 12 months after publication. CAS supports its researchers to publish in open access & quality controlled journals with reasonable APCs, and researchers can choose quality controlled journals according to the inclusion criteria of DOAJ

English version of the Expression of Interest document.

Chinese version of the Expression of Interest document.

International coalition to help sustain DOAJ and its further development in the coming years

scoss-1

SCOSS (The Global Sustainability Coalition for Open Science Services) today announced that major organizations have recommended to their member institutions to support DOAJ with funding that will enable DOAJ to move towards a new crowdfunding effort and away from its incremental annual contribution system. Under the new model organisations will work towards sustaining DOAJ for the coming 3 years, giving it more stability for the mid-term. This will enable DOAJ to develop a fully comprehensive, longer term development plan for its systems and services.

For a decade the funding of DOAJ has been based on contributions from individual libraries, library consortia and research funders from many countries around the globe. We are extremely grateful for their continuous support and we are looking forward to welcoming many of them as contributors under the SCOSS initiative.

These contributions have allowed DOAJ to develop step by step and thus become one the most important freely available resources for Open Access.

As an initial step, DOAJ will introduce a governance structure that will allow for more active influence from the community on strategic directions for DOAJ.

The new SCOSS funding drive will enable DOAJ to:

  1. Engage in strategic longer term development of the services and systems behind our operations.
  2. Provide adequate resource to cover the large number of applications coming in to DOAJ (currently 500+ per month).
  3. Actively curate its list thereby keeping the index more up to date and relevant.
  4. Enable publishers to update their own journal information, keeping records relevant.
  5. Continue efforts to assess and include journals from the Global South to make DOAJ even more comprehensive on a global scale.
  6. Continue our advocacy work directed at influencing decision makers to support a transition to open access for local language journals.
  7. Implement functionality that will allow DOAJ to actively harvest article-level metadata from the 10,000 journals that are currently indexed. Currently more than 70% of the journals are providing (parts of) their article-level metadata (aproximately 2,700,000 records) and are exposing these via the OAI-PMH service and our API.
  8. Enhance the DOAJ metadata via collaboration and integration with relevant organizations, enriching the metadata records with DOIs, integrated article-level metrics (ALMs), ORCID IDs etc.
  9. Stabilise and build out the platform that underpins the DOAJ and its database to ensure that it remains fit-for-purpose and operational at least until 2020.

Please contact Managing Director Lars Bjørnshauge – lars@doaj.org – for more information or visit the SCOSS web site for the complete details.

DOAJ and SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE SERVICES partner to achieve broader support for Open Access to scientific literature

The new agreement underpins the Directory of Open Access Journals in its work to reach new members and generate more support and shows the strong commitment of  Scientific Knowledge Services  to the Open Science movement.

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DOAJ announces the agreement with Scientific Knowledge Services (SKS) as its exclusive agent in a selection of countries from the EMEA region (details below). Scientific Knowledge Services will be responsible for facilitating financial support to DOAJ and in this way contribute to the work of DOAJ to assess and promote quality, peer reviewed Open Access journals.

This agreement focuses on generating new members and sponsors for DOAJ from the countries listed below, and includes planning, marketing, market research, supervision, training, maintenance of a customer database, record-keeping, and reporting to the DOAJ.

The selection of EMEA countries is listed below:

Albania, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech, Egypt, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine.

“We are pleased that SKS have partnered up with us”, says Lars Bjørnshauge, Founder and Managing Director of DOAJ. “We have great confidence in their solid knowledge, strong networks and good track record in the regions covered by this agreement,  as well as their ability to liaise efficiently with potential new members in these regions”.

Scientific Knowledge Services (SKS) is a Swiss company backed up by 20 years of experience in working with academic, public and research libraries, focusing on Open Science elements like Open Access (OA), Research Data Management (RDM) and Citizen Science, as well as licenses for online electronic resources. The Managing Director of SKS, Dr. Tiberius Ignat says: “We are strongly supporting Open Science and we believe that Open Access is a major component of modern research activities. We’ve been organising in Europe – for 3 years now – a series of workshops on Open Science with a great positive impact for local communities as well as international stakeholders. Our agreement with DOAJ came naturally in place. We also see this agreement as a recognition of our role in the Open Science landscape and it drives us to an even stronger commitment.”

 

About SKS

Scientific Knowledge Services (www.knowledge.services) is a Swiss registered company that has an extensive experience in working close with libraries and content providers to facilitate access to scientific knowledge. SKS has a well established practice in finding the right place where interests of libraries, universities, research organizations and content providers meet and in proposing winning solutions for all parties.

Scientific Knowledge Services routes its efforts in understanding each market, by connecting and dedicating time to local communities, assisting the content providers to better serve the specific information needs of each country and supporting the advancement of Open Science elements.

For business development inquiries:

Marika Markova, SKS

Executive Director

marika@scientificknowledgeservices.com

+420 607 462 982

For media inquiries:

Clara Armengou, DOAJ

Project and Communications Manager clara@doaj.org