Indonesian Universities Consortium

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Following the enrollment of ADRI, Indonesia, we are very pleased to announce that we have a consortium of Indonesian universities in the making.

Next week DOAJ will conduct a three days workshop in Bali, Indonesia to recruit Ambassadors in Indonesia. Indonesia comes in second  as users of the DOAJ, and we expect hundreds of journals to be listed in DOAJ in the future.

 

 

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

Image result for ivonne lujano

 

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

 

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.

 

 

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.

The DOAJ Ambassadors’ biographies

As promised in my post presenting the 15 Ambassadors , here are their biographies.

Kamel Belhamel, Region: North Africa

kamelKamel holds a PhD from the University of Setif (Algeria) in Chemical Process Engineering. He is now Professor of Chemistry at University of Bejaia,  Director of the Laboratory of Organic Materials and Editor in chief of DOAJ-indexed Algerian Journal of Natural Products (ISSN: 2353-0391). He is the author of several publications and communications in the field of Chemical Process Engineering, Natural Products, Nanoparticles and Metal Alloys. Kamel has long, international experience in the management of Research Projects (Projects DAAD German, French Framework Programme CMEP…) and Coordinator of two Algerian Research projects CNEPRU, PNR …). Kamel is the DOAJ ambassador in region of North Africa.

Conflict of Interest Statement (2016)

 

Xin Bi, Region: China

xinbiXin holds a PhD degree in Psychology from Soochow University in China and also a Master’s Degree in Information Systems from Liverpool University in UK. He is the University Librarian in Xi’an Jiaotong – Liverpool University in Suzhou and in this capacity he is working with a wide network including librarians, publishers, professionals in China and overseas to better facilitate the scholarly communication and knowledge dissemination. He is one of three DOAJ ambassadors in China. Conflict of Interest Statement (2016)

Conflict of Interest Statement (2016)

 

Vrushali Dandawate, Region: India

vrushaliVrushali is Head Librarian at AISSMS College of Engineering College Pune, Maharashtra, India. She completed her Master’s from the University of Pune and has completed a Library Automation and Networking course from IGNOU Open University. She was selected for “International training program on Management of Electronics Information and Digital Library Lib@Web 2013” that ran from October 2013 – December 2013 at University of Antwerp, Belgium. In 2014, she received a grant from VLIR-OUS to attend “VLIR-UOS workshop ‘Training Information Literacy with Southern Partners’, coordinated by the University College Leuven-Limburg (UCLL). She is winner of ALCTS Online Course Grant for Library Professionals from Developing Countries for course Fundamentals Of Collection Development and Management (FCDM) March 2014. She is one of three DOAJ ambassadors in India.

Conflict of Interest Statement (2016)

Sridhar Gutam, Region: India

sridharSridhar holds a PhD in Plant Physiology from the Indian Agricultural Research Institute and is part of the Agricultural Research Service of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). Currently, he is working as Senior Scientist at ICAR Research Complex for the Eastern Region. Apart from his studies related to plant physiology and phenology of horticultural crops, he is passionate for Open Access, Open Data and Open Education. He founded a community of practice, ‘Open Access India’ and is advocating the opening-up of agricultural research information and data. He is one of three DOAJ ambassadors in India.

Conflict of Interest Statement (2016)

Mahmoud Khalifa, Region: Middle East & Persian Gulf

mahmoudMahmoud is the founder & CEO of Cybrarians, the Arabic Portal for Librarianship and Information. He is an Associate at IFLA International Leaders Programme, 2016 and since 2013 is a board member of the Egyptian Library Association. Also in 2013 he was the winner of the Scientific Research Academy’s prize in informatics. He holds a PhD in Information Science from Cairo University. He is an accredited trainer for the IFLA BSLA Program (Building Strong Library Association), as well as a Fellow at Jay Jordan IFLA/OCLC Early Career Development Fellowship Program. He is the editorial manager of Cybrarians Journal, the first electronic Arabic journal on librarianship & Information science. He is the DOAJ ambassador for the region of the Middle East and the Persian Gulf.

Conflict of Interest Statement (2016)

Ivonne Lujano, Region: Latin America

ivonneIvonne has a Master’s in Social Sciences with an emphasis in Education at FLACSO-Argentina and holds a B.A. in Education from the Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México (UAEMex), where she currently works as lecturer. She is specialized in scientific Open Access publishing processes and has experience in the evaluation of scholarly publishing practices. She has worked with institutions and organizations at a national and regional level in the training of students, teachers and researchers on issues regarding scientific publishing in Open Access. Ivonne is the DOAJ ambassador for the region of Latin America.

Conflict of Interest Statement (2016)

Solomon Mekonnen, Region: East Africa

solomonSolomon is Academic Staff, with rank of Lecturer, at the Addis Ababa University (AAU).  Apart from his role at AAU, he is also a Co-Founder of Code4Ethiopia which advocates for open data. In addition, Solomon coordinates nationally an Open Access Programme for the international network Electronic Information for Libraries (EIFL). He is a local organizer in Ethiopia for an international network called Open Knowledge International. Solomon was a project manager for Ethiopian Journals online. He is also a PHD candidate at the University of South Africa. Solomon is the DOAJ ambassador for the region of East Africa.

Conflict of Interest Statement (2016)

Leena Shah, Region: India

leenaLeena Shah holds a Master’s Degree in Information Studies from Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore and a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering. After living and working for nearly two decades in Singapore she relocated to Bangalore, India, in May 2016 and is keen on promoting Open Access in this region. She was previously employed as an Earth Sciences Librarian at NTU where she gained experience in teaching and promoting open access, institutional repositories and scholarly communication in general to researchers and students. Leena is one of three DOAJ ambassadors for India.

Conflict of Interest Statement (2016)

Cenyu Shen, Region: China

cenyuCenyu has a Master degree in Computer Science from University of Helsinki and she is currently a PhD candidate in Information Systems Science at Hanken School of Economics in Finland. She has spent several years on Open Access research with a particular focus on studying questionable and non-English language OA publishers or journals. Her latest research interest expands to the identification and development of infrastructure services and support practices to promote open access movement in Chinese region. Cenyu is one of three DOAJ ambassadors for China.

Conflict of Interest Statement (2016)

 

Ina Smith, Region: Southern Africa

inaIna holds a Master’s Degree from the University of Pretoria (South Africa) in Computer-Integrated Education, a Higher Education Teaching Diploma, and two degrees (BBibl and BBibl Honors) in Library and Information Science. She is Planning Manager at the Academy of Science of South Africa, and has vast experience of Open Access in general, scholarly research activities, repositories, and Open Access journal management and publishing. Ina is the DOAJ ambassador in the region of Southern Africa.

Conflict of Interest Statement (2016)

Pascal Soubeiga, Region: West Africa

pascalPascal is from Burkina Faso, West Africa. He has a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science from the library school of University Cheikh Anta Diop of Dakar, Senegal, and is preparing a dissertation for a Master’s degree in communication. He has worked for the past 11 years as a librarian for the World Health Organization in Burkina Faso, as well as teaching in three library and information colleges there. He has solid experience in information retrieval, user training, and institutional repositories. Pascal is the DOAJ ambassador  for West Africa.

Conflict of Interest Statement (2016)

Yanhong Zhai, Region: China

yanhongYanhong holds a Master’s degree in Botany from Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences. From August 2012 to April 2015, she worked for MDPI (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, an Open Access publisher), managing the journal Environments and supporting International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. In the past year, she worked at Elsevier, managing special issues for journals in the field of multimedia and computer science. She is one of three DOAJ ambassadors in China.

Conflict of Interest Statement (2016)

The biographies of our fantastic team of volunteer Ambassadors for Russia will be posted here shortly.

Presenting the DOAJ Ambassadors

Further to our announcement of the start of our IDRC-funded project focussing on the improvement of open access journals in the global south, I am delighted to present to you the list of 15 DOAJ Ambassadors. These Ambassadors will be working on behalf of DOAJ until April 2017 and will be operating in 11 regions or sub-regions across the globe. DOAJ is very lucky to have such a great list of names: people who have a wide-ranging set of skills and will bring huge amounts of experience to the DOAJ organisation.

After two members of DOAJ were invited recently to present at the NEICON/ASEP conference in Russia, we are very lucky to be able to extend the program’s work to the Russian Federation.  Three volunteers, led by Olga Kirillova, have also joined the list of DOAJ Ambassadors, extending the work of the program outlined to IDRC but on a self-funded basis. This is a hugely beneficial development for open access and DOAJ.

The final list of DOAJ Ambassadors are:

Region Name Based in
Southern Africa Ina Smith South Africa
East Africa Solomon Mekonnen Ethiopia
West Africa Pascal Soubeiga Burkina Faso
North Africa Kamel Belhamel Algeria
China Yanhong Zhai China
China Cenyu Shen Finland
China Xin Bi China
Middle East & Persian Gulf Mahmoud Khalifa Egypt
East India Sridhar Gutam India
West India Vrushali Dandawate India
South India Leena Shah India
Latin America Ivonne Lujano Mexico
Russian Federation Olga Kirillova Russia
Russian Federation (West) Maxim Mitrofanov Russia
Russian Federation (East) Natalia Popova Russia

Welcome to all of you!

The biographies for the DOAJ Ambassadors are posted here.

The majority of the Ambassadors will be converging on the island of Crete, in the beautiful village of Vamos, for an intensive 4-day training retreat starting next week. The outcome of that meeting will be an initial 2-month action plan for each Ambassador to implement as soon as s/he is back on home turf. That plan will then inform the actions for the rest of the year. It is really exciting that developments will start to take shape so soon after the retreat.

Each region will present its own challenges to the Ambassadors and to DOAJ but there will be exciting milestones to reach. For example, can DOAJ gain an online presence in China via the huge social media networks there? Will we see an increase in quality journal applications from India, a country sadly linked to questionable publishing practices and author spamming? Will we see an increase in the number of applications from East and West Africa, two regions of the continent that are sadly under-represented in DOAJ today? In Latin America, where a relatively large number of journals are already indexed in DOAJ, will we be able to increase the number of journals from the smaller countries like Bolivia, Ecuador or Guatemala?

In all of the regions, language can be a barrier. Almost all of the DOAJ site is in English and we haven’t yet found a good-enough piece of software that will translate the most important parts of the site for us. We will be addressing that as part of the IDRC project but having our Ambassadors on the ground will be hugely influential in increasing awareness of the site and our criteria.

DOAJ will be reporting on the progress of our Ambassador program regularly and I hope to be able to share some exciting statistics with you soon.