2019 in review and what’s coming in 2020

It’s a new year and a new decade. This year, DOAJ turns 17 and much like a teenager, we have seen a major growth spurt over the last 4 years, peaking at a total of 14.25 million unique users at the end of 2019. 2020 will see further transformation into a maturer, more rounded service.

A chart showing the growth of DOAJ from 2015 to 2019 in millions of unique users

Usage of DOAJ, 2015 to 2019 (Source: Google Analytics)

2019

2019 was another busy year, focussed on preparing DOAJ for adulthood. We added muscle to the bones by increasing our capacity in the platform and in our editorial team and thereby increasing our throughput. Never before has DOAJ been such a lean operation on such a large scale.

Much of the process to get to where we are today was written about in September, in a guest post by Richard Jones from Cottage Labs, so I’m just focussing on the last quarter here.

Since October 2019, we updated the DOAJ search interface–a program called Edges–and upgraded to Python 3. We extended our automated testing scripts and fixed a variety of bugs or discrepancies which they subsequently uncovered.

I am pleased to say that these pieces of work have been so successful that in 2019 we had 99.999% uptime, a huge improvement on previous years.

On the front end, we added more translations of the COPE/DOAJ/OASPA/WAME co-authored Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing which is now available in 20 different languages. We cleaned up our articles database by removing many old, malformed or duplicated entries.

We also improved our crawler which is pointed at Europe PMC’s API and added 13,200 PLoS articles which were missing from the database.

The start of the redesign project saw us focussing our efforts on design research:

  • getting in touch with users
  • doing exhaustive inventories of our content and information architecture
  • understanding DOAJ’s offers and services on a deeper level
  • setting realistic goals and metrics for the website’s design
  • benchmarking / looking at how other open access orgs and not-for-profits present themselves
  • finding visual inspiration from external sources / moodboarding
  • setting ourselves up for a more modular design mindset to facilitate development of new services on DOAJ.org

We also inaugurated our Advisory Board and Council.

2020

During the first quarter of 2020, the following pieces of work will be released live to the site:

  • Some additional language codes will be added to our XSD file.
  • A Spam reCAPTCHA module is being added to the feedback form.
  • The form for publishers to manually provide article metadata to us is getting an overhaul.
  • The addition of Crossref XML compatibility so publishers can send us Crossref XML if they wish.
  • A reconstructed, redesigned application form with improved functionality and usability.

Away from the platform, we are extending our partner program, after what is proving to be a successful pilot project with our friends at TSV in Finland.  More projects like this will result in an increase in the number of journals indexed in DOAJ, the goal of the work we wrote about when we reached our first SCOSS funding target in May 2019.

The aim of these projects is to:

  • Maintain the recency and relevancy of the database by targetting specific journals which are not yet indexed in DOAJ
  • Recruit back into DOAJ as many of the 2850 journals as possible which we removed during the Reapplication Project,
  • Increase our coverage of journals from the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities.
  • Increase our coverage of non-English language journals.
  • Increase our coverage of journals from specific subject areas.

DOAJ will also continue its work with its partner program Think.Check.Submit which is developing it tools and resources.

If you have any questions about any of this work, do please leave a comment!

I wish all our readers a happy and healthy 2020.

OAPEN joins Think. Check. Submit.

TCS-Logo-H-RGB

OAPEN (Open Access Publishing in European Networks) has joined the group of organisations endorsing the Think. Check. Submit. (TCS) initiative. This is an obvious yet important strategic development for TCS as there is as much need for the TCS tools and resources in the world of books, as in the world of journals. The addition of OAPEN to the core team allows TCS to broaden its remit and draw directly on the experience of OAPEN Director, Eelco Ferwerda.

Eelco said: “We’re delighted to join this important initiative to help authors select a reliable publishing venue. Quality assurance is an important part of our work, and by joining Think. Check. Submit. we can focus on the specific challenges facing authors of monographs.”

Think. Check. Submit. carried out a large survey of its users at the end of 2018 and the resounding opinion was that TCS needed to develop its tools and resources further to accommodate the fast-changing world of scholarly publishing. 

Sofie Wennström, representing the founding organisation LIBER & based at Stockholm University Library, said of the addition of OAPEN: “This is a great addition to the team, allowing us to develop Think. Check. Submit. to include good author advice about academic output formats beyond journal articles. Librarians working with scholarly communication support often get feedback from researchers in various disciplines that they want the long-format academic work to count. Providing a tool for sharing knowledge about book publishing was also suggested by users in a recent survey by Think. Check. Submit.”

About OAPEN

The OAPEN Foundation was established in 2011 to support the transition to OA books. The OAPEN Library hosts one of the largest collections of freely accessible academic books. OAPEN works with publishers and funders to build a quality-controlled collection of OA books, and provides services for publishers, libraries, and research funders in the areas of deposit, quality assurance, metadata enhancement, dissemination, and digital preservation.

About Think. Check. Submit.

Think. Check. Submit. provides a checklist that guides researchers through the process of deciding which journals and now books are best for their research. The process is intended to go beyond individual journal decisions to help researchers build up their journal evaluation skills. The checklist is now available in nearly 40 languages.

Think. Check. Submit. is run, and funded, by a coalition from across scholarly communications in response to discussions about deceptive publishing. Details of the organizations contributing can be found at https://thinkchecksubmit.org/about/. The current Think. Check. Submit. committee can be found at http://thinkchecksubmit.org/faq/committee/.

DOAJ is a founding member of Think. Check. Submit.

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.

 

 

We’re paving the way for greater things to come.

As hinted in a post yesterday, DOAJ is getting a nip and a tuck today, to make way for larger projects later this year:

A completely new search front-end. It looks very similar to the old one, but with some major improvements under-the-hood (more powerful, more responsive, more accessible), and gives us the capability to build better, cooler interfaces in the future.

At 3pm BST today, we will start an upgrade to two elements of the site: Bootstrap and Edges. Bootstrap is ‘an open source toolkit for developing with HTML, CSS, and JS’ and is what we use to display the site. Edges is Cottage Lab’s own open source library for presenting the search and navigation capabilities to the user.

What’s changing?

Users will see that much of the orange colour in search results and navigation is replaced with grey. This colour may be temporary until a full redesign is carried out.

Some standardisation has been applied to the treatment of navigation and sorting features, like buttons, dropdowns, etc

The site will be much more responsive on smaller screens.

The fonts will be cleaner and easier to read, on large and smaller screens.

Some accessibility changes, one step on our way to becoming compliant with world recognised accessibility standards.

Why are you making these changes?

We’re paving the way for a much larger redesign project which is coming down the pipe. The project will take in a UX assessment, a rebrand, a site redesign, and much more. These two upgrades are necessary to accommodate the outputs of that project.

If you have any questions, or would like to know more, leave a comment here.

 

The community has chosen: introducing the new DOAJ Council.

Continuing the implementation of our new governance model, the DOAJ Council has been elected. The following individuals received the majority of the votes cast by the DOAJ community:

Shelley Allen, Emerald Publishing, United Kingdom
Perry Collins,University of Florida Libraries, USA
Frederick Fenter, Frontiers, Switzerland
Dora Elvira García-González, Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico
Piero Grandesso, University of Bologna, Italy
Suzanne Kemperman, OCLC, USA
Christian Knudsen, Royal Danish Library, Denmark
Gail McMillan, Virginia Tech and University Libraries, USA
Donna McRostie, University of Melbourne, Australia
Rainer Rees-Mertins, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, Switzerland
Karen Rowlett, University of Reading, United Kingdom
Stephanie Savage, University of British Columbia, Canada
Franck Vazquez, MDPI, Switzerland

The website will be updated with their names and a conflict of interest statement from each.

Two Council seats remain and these will be filled by invite only. DOAJ is looking for representatives from other organisations, preferably organisations operating out of low income countries or organisations whose mission matches that of DOAJ’s.

On behalf of all the DOAJ Team, I wish each of our new Council members a warm welcome!

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

PRESS RELEASE

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)