News: OASPA to require DOAJ listing for single-journal publishers

OASPA_Logo.jpgDOAJ and OASPA have worked together for many years now, with our Founder and Managing Director, Lars Bjørnshauge, serving as an OASPA board member for the past 5 years.

Publisher applications to OASPA have been rapidly increasing, in particular from those publishing just one journal. Given the many similarities in the indexing criteria between DOAJ and OASPA, we have agreed that all single-journal publishers that apply to OASPA will now be referred to DOAJ if the journal is not already listed in the DOAJ database.

Both organisations feel that this change is in the best interests of single-journal applicants because indexing by DOAJ is the most effective way for these journals to increase their visibility, and this is often their stated reason for applying to join OASPA.

Once a journal is indexed by DOAJ, applicants that still wish to join OASPA should get back in touch with them. However, publishers should note that OASPA have some specific requirements that differ from ours, particularly with respect to
licensing. Approval by DOAJ will not automatically mean acceptance by OASPA.

Following the implementation of this new policy and other membership criteria introduced last year, OASPA will be working with any of their existing members who don’t now meet their criteria to encourage improvements and apply to have their journals listed in DOAJ.

For more information, please see the announcement by OASPA.

 

 

Open Access in the Francophone Global South: Between Collective Empowerment and Neocolonialism

This is a guest post by Florence Piron from Université Laval, Québec, Canada.

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An anthropologist and ethicist, Florence Piron is a professor in the Department of Information and Communication at Université Laval where she teaches courses on ethics and democracy. She is the founding President of the Association for Science and Common Good and its open access publishing house. She is interested in the links between science, society and culture, both as a researcher and advocate for a science that is more open, inclusive, socially responsible and focused on the common good. She’s doing research on open science, and cognitive justice with universities in Africa and Haiti.

 

Two major issues are often lacking within the general conversation about open access, whether in blogs, discussion lists or papers. Indeed, their invisibility is in itself a symptom of the problem that I want to briefly expose here.

The first issue is the difference between openness and accessibility. Depending on where a person lives or what their resources are, they may forget that there exists such a difference, whereas it is obvious to others. A door may be open, but if a person does not have the ability to walk or find the path that leads to it, if many obstacles prevent them from moving forward, they will not be able to go through it: what then is the value or the meaning of the door’s openness? In other words, are articles and books in open access always accessible  and, if not, what does openness really mean? This question demands that more precise social and political analyses of accessibility be added to the usual discussions of publishers, copyright or policies.

The second issue concerns what lies behind the door, in other words what kind of knowledge is so precious that the opening of the door to get it justifies all kinds of fighting and arguing and huge amounts of money? This fundamental epistemological debate seems to me very seldom dealt with within the general conversation about open access. Should all types of knowledge be covered by the open access movement? Or only the “science” that lies within the boundaries of the Web of Science, Google Scholar and Scopus databases, that is to say the “centre” of the science world-system? Should knowledge produced outside these boundaries, for instance non-English non-indexed knowledge produced in universities from the periphery of the science world-system, be left out of the fight for open access because it is not “properly scientific”?  Should the invisibility of knowledge coming from minorities or the Global South continue to be seen as not a problem?

A detour to the Global South, particularly Haiti and Francophone Sub-Saharan African universities where I have been doing research for several years through the SOHA project (Piron et al. 2016, 2017), can open eyes and ears. In the North, open access is equivalent to effective access because a researcher or a student always has a computer, web access, electricity and a basic digital literacy that enable them to have immediate access to everything that is open. But this is not the case in the Francophone Global South, where our SOHA project has identified and documented several huge cognitive injustices. In this part of the world, not only is Internet access far from being generalized and remains very expensive, but students often touch a computer for the first time when entering university, lecturers rarely know how to use the web in their teaching and sometimes mistrust it, electricity can be cut for several hours a day, the quality of the connection is usually very low and connectivity is often not the priority of university leaders. Most important of all is the fact that digitalization of African theses and journals is very rare, which contributes to their invisibility. We have also met African academics who still hope to compensate for their meagre salary by selling books and are thus opposed to open access in general. Let’s add that very few of these countries have a research and innovation policy able to fund research, libraries and equipment, so that they usually depend on “partners” from the North who have their own research agenda, a neocolonial situation in itself (Mvé-Ondo 2005). That many people manage to do brilliant research there, without leaving to the North, is a feat in itself! Believing that “open access” is the grand solution to problems of research in the Global South is therefore a huge mistake, mirroring the general ignorance of the centre about the periphery. Open access is a necessary, but not at all sufficient, condition.

The second issue may be more complex to grasp, since it is of a socio-epistemological nature. Let’s just recall here the postcolonial and feminist scholarship that has shown that “science” is in fact a situated (fascinating) knowledge anchored in European male white history which became hegemonic during Modernity and its colonial project. This knowledge carries a specific epistemology based on the hope of producing a decontextualized (“universal”), neutral (value-free, culture-free, gender-free), explicative, predictive type of knowledge which I call “positivist” in short. Such a knowledge, defined as a normative ideal, obviously considers any mention of cultural/political context as irrelevant or even anti-science, anti-truth. Let’s do it anyway. If open access only concerns the hegemonic positivist science that is produced and showcased in journals obeying the norms and rules created in the North, it would contribute to maintaining other epistemologies or knowledges not quite following the said rules in their state of invisibility and inaccessibility, whether in the North or in the (Francophone) Global South. Yet these knowledges are indispensable to overcome the challenges in these countries, each country needing local relevant nuanced knowledge that could help its action, that “speaks” to local social actors.

In summary, if open access reinforces the visibility and usability of papers, theses and books from the North (even if only because they have a digital life), knowledge from the (Francophone) Global South, mainly constituted by un-digitized theses and research reports (Piron et al. 2017), will remain invisible and little used, unless published in journals from the North. This is why, if open access is only interpreted as facilitating access to “science” without any analysis of material conditions of access and without any conscience of the necessity of maintaining a “knowledge diversity” within an ecology of knowledges (Santos 2007), it could become just another tool of neocolonialism.

Conversely, open access can become a formidable tool of collective empowerment for the Global South – and of improvement of world science –  if its leaders and proponents make a sincere commitment to creating and maintaining within “science” a real openness to the plurality of epistemologies, of knowledges (in the plural form) and of normative frameworks. My African and Haitian colleagues and I have been working on numerous concrete projects in this regard, notably a pan-African open repository. We are convinced that DOAJ could also play a major role not only in showcasing African and Haitian journals without necessarily imposing on them a rigid normative positivist framework, but also in helping journals from the North become more open to epistemologies, languages and ideas from the Global South.

Let me conclude with a sad paradox: many critics of hegemonic science, whether from a decolonial, feminist or constructivist standpoint, do not care whether their own work is available in open access or not, and therefore accessible or not to the people suffering from cognitive injustices… The road is long!

References Continue reading

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 feedback@doaj.org

A Funding Opportunity for APC-free Open Access Journals and Platforms

This is a guest post by Pablo de Castro, Coordinator for the OpenAIRE FP7 Post-Grant Open Access Pilot.

OpenAIREplus_logoThe FP7 Post-Grant Open Access Pilot, as launched by the EC and OpenAIRE in May 2015, was mainly designed as a tool to fund Open Access publishing fees for publications arising from completed FP7 (7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development) projects. This is its main area of activity and this work is starting to bear fruit, with over 300 funded Open Access publications after a year of operation.

However, most of the journals in the DOAJ charge no APCs to their authors. Moreover, lacking a proper business model, funding opportunities for these journals are scarce beyond governmental and/or institutional funding and specific calls such as the Canadian SSHRC’s.

This is why this pilot has extended its funding scope to also cover APC-free OA journals and platforms through an alternative funding mechanism released on May 3rd. This funding mechanism will allow journals to collect support for the implementation of technical improvements on their publishing workflows. Its features and requirements will be thoroughly discussed at an OpenAIRE webinar on May 12th.

This initiative will specifically offer an opportunity to establish closer links between OpenAIRE and APC-free OA journals and publishers. While fully Open Access publishers like Ubiquity Press and Copernicus are OpenAIRE-compliant, OpenAIRE’s main focus has traditionally been—and will remain—on OA repositories and repository networks. Through this initiative, this will now be extended out to OA journals, allowing a deeper technical harmonization to take place in the APC-free OA publishing landscape.

One of the key technical improvements to be funded will be having the journal’s outputs regularly indexed at article level  in DOAJ. 69% of the OA journals currently listed in DOAJ are indexed at article level, which means there’s room for improvement. OpenAIRE is eager to promote this article-level indexing in DOAJ as a standard that will result in more visibility for the global OA content production.

Another strongly recommended enhancement is the systematic inclusion of the funding and project information in the article-level metadata within the publishing platform. While this is already a requirement for OpenAIRE-compliant repositories (at least for EC-funded projects, i.e. FP7 and Horizon 2020), it is only very rarely happening in APC-free Open Access journals at the time, even when it’s a key aspect of the way the contextual information around a publication is collected and shared. This collection of funding and project information will in fact be key for identifying eligibility for this alternative funding mechanism.

We are very much looking forward then to collecting interesting funding proposals from APC-free Open Access journals and platforms in the next two months. Make sure to register for the May 12th webinar if interested in this funding opportunity!

Knowledge Exchange report on Open Access dependencies

Knowledge Exchange have today released a report highlighting the dependency on key non-commercial services in OA and the importance of ensuring their sustainability if the OA policies developed by institutions and research funders are to be successfully implemented.

DOAJ and SHERPA are named in the report as the two most important services in the OA community that require support from funders in order to operate sustainably in the long term.

Further information is available at Review of Open Access Policy Dependencies and the full report is available at http://repository.jisc.ac.uk/6269/10/final-KE-Report-V5.1-20JAN2016.pdf.

50 major public research organisations in Europe adopt four new common principles on Open Access Publisher Services

In a press release published yesterday, 50 Science Europe members agreed on 4 new common principles expected for publisher members when providing payments/subsidies for Open Access venues. The first principle states that journals must be listed in DOAJ, Web of Science, Scopus or PubMed.

The new principles adopted by Science Europe aim at setting minimum standards for Open Access publishing services provided by scholarly publishers. These general – and at the same time very practical – principles will help ensure scholarly and technical quality and cost effectiveness of Open Access-related services in all fields, from sciences to social sciences and the humanities. As scholarly publishing makes its transition to an Open Access system, and as service providers change their business models, the outcome of the transition will depend on the added value and quality of the services provided.

Of course, this is fantastic news for DOAJ. It underlines our position at the heart of Open Access publishing and it recognises officially the work we have been doing over the past two years to raise the quality bar for open access journals and publishing.

Lars, DOAJ’s Managing Director, said: “The New Science Europe Principles on Open Access Publisher Services confirm that DOAJ really is on the right track with its new requirements for being listed. We are aware that this is a huge undertaking, and we are only able to do this because of our brilliant team, the more than 150 volunteers that are working a few hours a week to evaluate the journals and, of course, the support we receive from library consortia, university libraries from more than 50 countries and our sponsors.”

Indeed, DOAJ has already opened the process for journals to reapply to remain indexed and will soon be re-evaluating the 9700 that must reapply. We require funds to continue this great work so do consider becoming a DOAJ member, sponsor or give us a donation.