Open Access Asia

This is a guest post by Vrushali Dandawate (@vrushalisainath), DOAJ Ambassador, India.

“Open Access means free availability on the public internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself.” (BOAI, 2002)

Open Access is playing an important role in developing countries to give equal opportunities for access to necessary E-resources. Open Access has rapidly gained popularity in Europe and the USA, but by comparison its growth in Asia has been very slow.

The situation in Asia is explored in a report published by Asia OA, a forum hosted by the Confederation of Open Access Repositories (COAR). This report analysed the status of Open Access publishing in sixteen countries in Asia. The major finding was that all countries studied are already adopting Open Access policies, but that they lack the organised efforts and support to make Open Access successful in each country.

As an ambassador of DOAJ in India, and living in the Asian continent, I have decided to do research on Open Access development in Asia. Just a simple Google search (country name + open access) gave me the following indication about the state of Open Access in each country.

List of Asian countries* and whether or not they have an Open access policy, open access journals and open data

Afghanistan – Yes
Armenia – Yes
Azerbaijan – Yes
Bahrain – Yes
Bangladesh – Yes
Bhutan – Yes
Brunei – Yes
Cambodia – Yes
China – Yes
Cyprus – Yes
Georgia – Yes
India – Yes
Indonesia – Yes
Iran – Yes
Iraq – Yes
Israel – Yes, less information found
Japan – Yes
Jordan – Yes
Kazakhstan – Yes
Kuwait – Yes
Kyrgyzstan – Yes
Laos – Yes, less information found
Lebanon – Yes
Malaysia – Yes
Maldivesv Yes
Mongolia – Yes
Myanmar (Burma) – Yes
Nepal – Yes
North Korea – Information not found
Oman – Yes
Pakistan – Yes
Palestine – Yes
Philippines – Information not found
Qatar – Yes
Russia – Yes
Saudi Arabia – Yes
Singapore – Yes
South Korea – Yes
Sri Lanka – Yes
Syria – Yes, less information found
Taiwan – Yes
Tajikistan – Information not found
Thailand – Yes
Timor-Leste – Information not found
Turkey – Yes
Turkmenistan – Less information found
United Arab Emirates (UAE) – Yes
Uzbekistan – Yes
Vietnam – Yes
Yemen – Yes

The development of Open Access in Asia will be explored as a research project. “Open Access Asia”, born at OpenCon 2017, is a community of Open Access advocates in the region. The main objectives of the Open Access Asia project are:

  1. To make an open platform for all OA Advocates in Asia.
  2. To hold workshops/conferences/seminars in all Asian countries in rotation, helping effect culture change across institutions.
  3. Network sharing for OA Advocates in all Asian countries through bulletins and write-ups.
  4. A platform for advocating Open Access and sharing success stories of the OA movement in the world and in Asia.
  5. To invite everyone who is involved and interested in the OA movement to discuss and raise issues related to Open Access in general and specific to Asia.
  6. Collaborate with Open Access Network and leverage with other such networks for information exchange.
  7. That Open Access will influence policy makers, research workers, researchers, scholarly societies for their research and move institutions towards adopting open access policy across Asia.

To encourage more involvement of people from Asian countries with the Open Asia Project, a social media platform has been created:

Twitter: @Open_Asia_Org

With this blog post I invite all interested people to join Open Access Asia and help to promote Open Access more collaboratively in the Asian region and worldwide.

*Country list taken from

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.

Policy updates: open access statement and user registration

Open Access Statement

Until recently, DOAJ has insisted that journals state very clearly on their web site a full and detailed open access statement, preferably one that follows closely the Budapest Open Access Initiative definition.

From 8th September, DOAJ will accept a short open access statement—even as short as ‘This journal is open access.’—but ONLY in combination with a Creative Commons licensing statement, or equivalent licensing statement, on the same page and, preferably, in the same paragraph. As always, this statement must be on the journal web site and not held on a different site. If the licensing statement is not on the same page as the open access statement then the extended open access statement complying with BOAI definition will be required.

User Registration

From August 2016, DOAJ no longer accepts journals that require users to register to view the full text. This change was put into effect immediately. As DOAJ reviews journals that are already in DOAJ, as part of their regular update work, they will remove those journals that require registration and notify the publishers.

If you have questions, send email to

‘Indexed in DOAJ’ versus ‘the DOAJ Seal’

I need to clarify what being indexed in DOAJ means and how the Seal is related to that, and how the reapplication process works.

There is a common misunderstanding that only journals that get the Seal are “indexed in DOAJ”, that only Seal journals are quality, peer reviewed open access journals. This is incorrect. ALL journals in DOAJ have been approved as quality, peer reviewed open access journals. The whole DOAJ list is the approved, community-curated list of reputable journals!

  1. What ‘Indexed in DOAJ’ means
    Being indexed in DOAJ means that a journal has passed up to 4 stages of independent and objective, manual review. It means that the journal has been investigated by our Editorial team who have researched whether or not the journal/publisher does what they claim to do on the journal site and in their (re)application to us. During the investigation, the DOAJ editors go through the pages on a journal’s site to make sure that all the information presented to a user is easy to find, clearly and accurately presented and easy to understand. The editorial board is investigated, and sometimes members of the board are contacted and their institutional connections verified, their work on the board is confirmed and which other boards that member sits on. Being indexed in DOAJ means that the journal adheres to high levels of quality of its publishing services and services to authors and users, including: peer review, licensing terms, a strong open access statement, a fully functional editorial board and more. Being indexed in DOAJ means that the journal is a good open access journal, a trusted open access journal.
  2. The reapplication process
    DOAJ upgraded its requirements for journals to get into DOAJ. The upgrade, which covered all new applications, was made live in March 2014. This meant that there were about 9000 journals already in DOAJ—accepted into DOAJ between 2003 and 2013—that had been accepted under less stringent requirements. We require that every one of them upgrades their information with us. To make it easier for users to see which journals have been accepted under the new criteria we added a green tick next to them. Journals without a tick next to them still have to be reviewed against the new criteria. Note however that even journals that have no tick against them have been manually reviewed and accepted into DOAJ as being reputable.If a journal is in DOAJ, it is on the list of approved and reputable journals.
  3. The DOAJ Seal
    The DOAJ Seal, think of it like this: journals that have the Seal are journals that adhere to outstanding best practice; journals that don’t have the Seal are good, trusted journals adhering to best practice. The Seal has been allocated to a handful of journals accepted into DOAJ since 2014. Journals that are awarded the Seal have answered ‘Yes’ to 7 questions that DOAJ has chosen specifically as indicators of an extra high and clear commitment to open access best practices, of extra high levels of commitment to publishing technologies, and the most ‘open’ form of open access. Importantly, the journals that DO NOT have the Seal still adhere to high levels of quality required for indexing in the DOAJ, especially those journals that have a green tick. No Seal DOES NOT mean low quality, non peer reviewed, questionable, ‘dodgy’, ‘scammy’.

I hope that this helps. DOAJ spends all of its time improving information on reliability, trustworthiness and accuracy. DOAJ also spends a lot of time ensuring that questionable journals do NOT get into the directory. DOAJ is already doing that work for you so that you can be exactly sure what levels of service you can expect when you choose a journal to submit to, to recommend to faculty, to read research in.

As ever, if you have any questions, leave a comment or get in touch!

DOAJ is raising the quality bar for open access: SPARC blog post

DOAJ’s managing director, Lars Bjørnshauge, has been interviewed by SPARC about DOAJ’s enhanced application form and raising the quality bar in open access publishing. The post, published today, highlights how effectively the new form is providing a much-needed filter against questionable, unethical and non-transparent publishing practices.  Combined with OASPA’s efforts, the form is an important tool for fighting  “the scholarly community’s legitimate concerns over the quality of Open Access journals” said Heather Joseph, Executive Director of SPARC. “The actions that the DOAJ are taking… provide an important new safeguard, and helps raise the quality bar.”

Of course, we are delighted to hear that our efforts over the past two years are bearing fruit. With financial support from the community, via sponsorships and donations, we have worked hard to implement the new form and its comprehensive administration system that our volunteers use to review the applications. We are also helping publishers improve their practices, helping them understand how their operations can be more “professional, ethical, and transparent”.

DOAJ will not be resting on its laurels quite yet though as there is still much left to do. DOAJ is currently inviting 99% of all the journals indexed in it to reapply. It is anticipated that this process take the rest of this year to complete, progress of course depending on how fast publishers return their reapplications to us. The review work requires a large amount of manpower so we are seeking further financial contributions to help us speed up the process and more volunteers who know Turkish, Indonesian, Farsi, Spanish and Portuguese.

If you or your institutions would like to donate, you can do so here: If you know anyone who might like to volunteer a few hours of their time reviewing applications with us, please show them this post.