India leads in Gold Open Access Publishing – fake or genuine?

This is a guest post by Leena Shah, DOAJ Ambassador, India.

CroppedImage_LeenaIt is interesting to note that since the introduction of new criteria for DOAJ listing in March 2014, we have received the highest number of new applications from Open Access journal publishers in India, followed by those in Indonesia, USA, Brazil and Iran. From around 1600 new applications received from India since March 2014 only 4% were accepted, with 78% of the applications rejected for various reasons and approximately 18% still in process.

Looking at the high volume of new applications from OA publishers wanting to be listed in DOAJ, it would seem that the Gold OA publishing model is well accepted and understood in India. But three quarters of the DOAJ applications from India in the last three years have been rejected – often for being questionable, duplicate applications or for not being a journal at all! Two things emerge from this – firstly that there may be many genuine, small-time publishers who lack knowledge of best practices in journal publishing, and secondly the increasing number of unscrupulous publishers in this region exploiting the gold OA model, claiming to be legitimate journals in order to pocket the Article Processing Charge (APC) from the author but providing little or no editorial services in return. With the new criteria for listing in DOAJ implemented in 2014, OA journal publishers are required to furnish APC information, and out of the 74 new applications that have been accepted from India since then and are currently listed in DOAJ, 52 journals do not charge any APC. A complete list of OA journals published in India and currently in DOAJ that do not charge APC is available here.

India also emerges as one of the top three countries behind USA and Indonesia for generating traffic to the DOAJ website (usage statistics based on number of user sessions). With this being the case, why are researchers still publishing in fake journals?

Many articles have been published about the rise of research fraud in the last few years, with researchers and academicians from major academic institutions in India and national institutes publishing in fake/substandard journals for career advancement. Recently this led to a small but important development in scholarly communication. To nudge researchers towards publishing in peer-reviewed and credible journals, the University Grants Commission (UGC) announced in January 2017 an approved list of journals for the Career Advancement Scheme (CAS) and the direct recruitment of teachers and academic staff.  This is a dynamic list of 38,653 legitimate journals across disciplines. This list is to be viewed as an evolving document which will need major revisions to make it comprehensive and available in a format that is easier to analyse and interpret. In March 2017, DOAJ submitted a request to UGC to include Open Access journals that are listed in DOAJ in the approved list.

In other developments across the region, Open Access India, an online community of practice with volunteer members, launched in 2011 to advocate Open Access, Open Data and Open Education in India, submitted a proposal in February 2017 to the Ministry of Human Resource Department (HRD) and Ministry of Science & Technology, Government of India, for a National Open Access Policy to mandate Open Access for all public funded research in the country. In February 2017, an Open Access India community initiative, AgriXiv hosted by the Open Science Framework, was launched to provide free, open access archives for preprints related to agriculture and allied sciences.

Other noteworthy OA resources in India include Listing of Open Access Databases (LOADB)  a portal launched in October 2015, which offers a classified and categorized listing of Open Access databases. This was developed by Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) – Unit for Research and Development of Information Products (URDIP).

Shodhganga is a national digital repository maintained by INFLIBNET Centre that facilitates Open Access to Indian theses and dissertations submitted to Indian universities. At present 307 universities in India have signed a MoU with INFLIBNET Centre.

Finally, some of the national research institutes such as:

Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and Department of Science & technology (DST) have adopted an Open Access mandate. According to the mandate, researchers funded by these organisations are required to submit the final accepted version (without publisher formatting) of the paper to their institutional repository after verifying the archiving policy of the journal publisher. This Green OA model has its challenges in implementation and building awareness of OA, but for a large country like India where scientific output is high there is room for both Green as well as Gold OA.

References

Arunachalam, S., & Muthu, M. (2011). Open Access to Scholarly Literature in India—A Status Report (with Emphasis on Scientific Literature). Centre for Internet and Society.

Seethapathy, G. S., Kumar, J. S., & Hareesha, A. S. (2016). India’s scientific publication in predatory journals: need for regulating quality of Indian science and education. CURRENT SCIENCE, 111(11), 1759.

Pushkar (2016, June 21). The UGC deserves applause for trying to do something about research fraud. The Wire. Retrieved from https://thewire.in/44343/the-ugc-deserves-applause-for-rrying-to-do-something-about-research-fraud/

 

CHALLENGES OF THE LATIN AMERICAN OPEN ACCESS PUBLISHING MODEL

This is a guest post by Ivonne Lujano, DOAJ Ambassador, Latin America

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A current search in the DOAJ database reveals that there are 916 journals from Latin America and the Caribbean that have been accepted after the implementation of stricter DOAJ criteria in March 2014. This represents approximately 16% of the journals that have gone through an evaluation process led by the DOAJ team. As it is stated in DOAJ policy, the criteria implemented emphasize the transparency of information presented by the journals to their users, which aims to improve quality and visibility of the scientific output published in peer reviewed journals.

Latin America has an extensive  background in open access journals publishing and, consequently, journals assessment policies are well developed. Different criteria for reviewing the quality of journals have been developed in the region by mainly two types of agencies: 1) national systems of evaluation (in Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, etc.), with different levels of complexity and implementation according to the purposes of assessment, for instance, to allocate funds to the journals; and 2) regional systems of scientific information, i.e. Latindex, SciELO and Redalyc, which have similar indexing criteria (de Oliveira Amorim et al., 2015). Because of these evaluation systems there has been a significant growth of quality in Latin American journals according to international publishing standards in the last few years.

However, there are still some challenges to push forward the Latin American OA model, specially in two key aspects that are related to the level of openness: transparency on charges for authors and copyright & permission policies.

The Latin American non APC model

One of the main characteristics of the predominant journals publishing model in Latin America is that articles are published without costs to authors. This non APC model is possible because of the public funds that journals receive from national or institutional budgets, resources to be managed by, mostly, scholarly publishers such as university presses. Different stakeholders in the region support the idea of staying as a non-commercial OA model despite some trends of charging different fees to authors and their institutions. Vessuri, Guédon & Cetto (2014) have raised awareness that in a context of competition, commercial publishers are seeing the potential of Latin American journals as an opportunity to make a profit from offering publishing services, which eventually could shift the non-commercial model. According to DOAJ data, only 8% of journals included from Latin America have APCs, which range from $4 up to $1400 US. These journals are edited in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico and Peru, and 62.6% of them are managed by associations and societies. Most journals edited by universities and research centres have no charges; however, there are some journals funded by public federal and state-level universities that charge minimal amounts to authors in order to cover some services, for instance, the cost of the DOI assigned for the article published. In any case, DOAJ strongly encourages editors to give transparent information on this topic because is still common to see journals with a lack of details on the charges levied.

Copyright and permissions in Latin American journals

Despite the success of the open access publishing model in Latin America, there are still some important challenges in this region in terms of permissions to use, reuse, adapt and remix the contents. Based on DOAJ data, 89% of indexed Latin American journals have adopted Creative Commons licenses to distribute their articles. Nevertheless, only half of these journals (49.1%) use the CC-BY license, which allows others to use the materials for any lawful purpose with the only requirement being the correct attribution of authorship and source of publication. One third of the Brazilian journals indexed in DOAJ use this license; only 14% of Colombian journals have the same policy. One of the major concerns among editors in Latin America is still commercial use: 45.8% of journals allow readers to use the articles only for non-commercial purposes. The use of the CC-BY-NC license represents 23.9% of Latin American journals listed in DOAJ, followed by 14.9% of journals using the CC-BY-NC-ND license and 6.9% that have adopted the CC-BY-NC-SA license.

The use of the most open license (CC-BY) is still controversial in Latin America because publishers mistrust the terms of this license, which represents a big challenge for open access advocacy. The Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA) recommends this license as it assures a wider reuse and distribution of content, e.g. the use in education practices. DOAJ accepts journals that use any CC license, but also encourages the adoption of the more unrestricted licenses. In order to achieve the DOAJ Seal for best practice in open access publishing, a journal cannot apply the most restrictive CC licenses for sharing scientific articles, i.e. CC BY-ND or CC BY-NC-ND.   

Conclusions

The Latin American open access publishing model is going through a period full challenges, especially when some governments have serious budgetary difficulties in Science & Technology and Higher Education systems.

In spite of that, there are many advantages of this model. One of them is the level of cohesion of editors that have worked in collaboration for the improvement of quality. Author charges and copyright policies are still important concerns in Latin America, and DOAJ is committed to collaborate with publishers of this region in order to improve best practice, as well as openness for readers and for authors.

References

De Oliveira Amorim et al. (2015) Evaluation Systems of Scientific Journals in Latin America, in: Alperin, J. and Fischman, G. (eds.) Made in Latin America : open access, scholarly journals, and regional innovations Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires: CLACSO.

Vessuri, H., Guédon, J.C., Cetto, A.M. (2014) Excellence or quality? Impact of the current competition regime on science and scientific publishing in Latin America and its implications for development, Current Sociology, Vol. 62(5) 647 –665, DOI: 10.1177/0011392113512839

 

UPDATE ON REAPPLICATIONS AND NEW APPLICATIONS

In March 2014 DOAJ implemented much more detailed criteria for listing, which enabled DOAJ to provide granular information enabling universities, research funders and governments to check journals for compliance with Open Access policy and mandate requirements. 
 
This led to a reapplication process that was a necessary step towards ensuring that all journals in DOAJ (of which there were about 10000) met the stricter criteria. The criteria were produced as a response to the increasing demands from various stakeholders about transparency of open access journals and to retain DOAJ’s relevancy and importance for the stakeholders in open access publishing.
 
During the last 32 months DOAJ has accepted 3,700 journals, rejected 6,500 applications, monitored journals on a daily basis, removed 1,450 journals and delisted 2,850 journals for not re-applying to stay indexed. DOAJ also receives more than 300 new applications per month. 
This large number of reapplications and new applications is taking longer to process than we had envisaged and the team at DOAJ are doing our best to handle them promptly and efficiently. We would like to thank you for your patience in these last months.
 
Please do not hesitate to contact DOAJ at feedback@doaj.org if you have any questions about your application.
 
We take this opportunity to thank for all the support we get from academic libraries, library consortia, research funders, publishers and aggregators.
Many thanks and best wishes for the New Year!
 

SCIENCE OPEN INTERVIEWS OUR AMBASSADOR KAMEL BELHAMEL

We are very happy to announce that our DOAJ Ambassador Kamel Belhamel was interviewed this month by Science Open as part of the very successful Open Science series of interviews.

Jon Tennant, from Science Open, chats with Prof Belhamel about his thoughts regarding open access, his role at DOAJ, and the state of scholarly communication in North Africa.

“I am very proud to join DOAJ team. It’s exciting and motivating to be a part of this not-for-profit organisation. DOAJ gives me the opportunity to work in a pleasant multicultural environment and to meet very nice friends from different parts of the world. Every member of the team collaborates and this synergy carries us further and faster than I could have imagined.”

Please read the full interview here.

 

 

The DOAJ Team is expanding!

I am very happy to announce that the DOAJ Team has expanded. We welcome to the team Ilaria Flava, based in Rome, Italy, and Clara Armengou, based in Barcelona, Spain.

Ilaria joins us as Managing Editor and will assist with the monitoring of our editorial groups, the processing of applications and communicating final decisions to publishers. Having already volunteered for DOAJ as Associate Editor, Ilaria is familiar with our modus operandi. She assumes responsibility for 7 international teams of volunteers and by adding Ilaria to our team of managing editors, we will increase our throughput.

Clara joins us as Community Manager and will be covering my absence for the next year. Clara, who was open access officer at Cambridge University Press among other things, is currently working as Science Communication Officer at University Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona. Clara brings with her a vast amount of experience and by adding her to the team, we will continue to serve our online communities and, most importantly, all the publishers who are indexed in DOAJ. Clara will continue to raise awareness of DOAJ and the important issues surrounding open access, as well as support our Ambassadors’ activities across the global south.

You can read more about Ilaria and Clara on our About page.

DOAJ is International!

Adding Clara and Ilaria to our team means that DOAJ now operates from 15 different countries…

Algeria
Burkina Faso
China
Denmark
Egypt
Ethiopia
India
Italy
Mexico
Russia
South Africa
Spain
Sweden
The Netherlands
United Kingdom

… and between us we can speak over 25 languages. Open access knows no barriers and DOAJ strives to represent that as much as possible! How do you feel that we are doing?

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.