DOAJ Editor and Associate Editor network goes live

Our new network to support our crowdsourcing project has gone live which means that our volunteers of Editors and Associate Editors can now start work! This is an exciting and extremely important step for DOAJ.

Although there are no visible changes to the site itself, behind the scenes we have implemented a whole new piece of functionality to support a large number of people all working on the journals and new applications. Certainly, publishers will start to see the benefits as turnaround times from submission of application to decision decrease. Remember: as well as the ~100 new applications we receive every month, almost 99% of all the journals in DOAJ need to reapply to ensure they meet the new criteria!

We will start with three pilot teams: Chinese, English and Spanish. To help them find their way around the new system, we will create a series of training videos and some written documentation. Links to those documents will be emailed to each volunteer.

As ever, if you have any question or would like to know more, drop me a line.

Crowdsourcing librarian power

DOAJ recently attended, and gave a plenary session at, the 35th conference for the International Association of Scientific and Technological University Libraries. The presentation gave conference delegates an update on progress with the new application form and details of the our network of volunteers: the DOAJ Associate Editors and Editors. I’d like to share a little more of that information with you.

Today ~99% of all the journals currently indexed in DOAJ will have to reapply to remain in the directory. This is necessary because the bar for inclusion has been considerably raised in response to the fast-paced development of open access over the last 11 years. The application form has been extended from 6 to 56 questions, with the the form focussing on 3 main areas:

  1. Quality
  2. Technical quality (publishing practices)
  3. Openness

Reassessing 9770 journals on 50 new points of information is a huge amount of work that needs to be done methodically, effectively and routinely. Crowdsourcing this work is an ideal solution.

We put out a call for volunteers in January 2014. We had an overwhelming response with volunteers offering their help and expertise from all over the world. (Applications are closed for now.) The majority of the volunteers come from the academic library community which is very useful for DOAJ since we want to have groups of volunteers based around language and specialty. We will organise our volunteers into a network of  1 editor looking after a group of associate editors, with each group reporting to the existing DOAJ Managing Editors.

This way of working is completely new to DOAJ and so we will start with a pilot scheme to ensure we do this right and correctly. We have set up 3 pilot groups: Chinese, Spanish and English. We will start the pilot later this month. Our technical partner, Cottage Labs, has built a journal review and approval structure to support the editors in their work.

If you applied to be a DOAJ Associate Editor and have not heard from us please be patient while run the pilot. And of course, thank you for volunteering!

A note about Reapplications

Eventually, about 99.3% of all the journals that are currently indexed in DOAJ will have to reapply to ensure that they meet the new criteria requested by the application form. With our technical partners, Cottage Labs, we are developing a system that will make the reapplication process as easy as possible. It will allow reapplications for both single journals and for a group of journals (for those publishers with more than 10 journals).

Until that process is in place (Autumn 2014), we request that editors and publishers DO NOT fill out the new application form as we will be unable to match the new application to an existing record. It is vital that we can make this match for several reasons:

  1. Article metadata: if the journal already provides article metadata to us, there is no way to match the new application to the existing metadata.
  2. Discoverability: each journal has a unique URL in DOAJ. This URL is indexed in search engines and can be bookmarked by users. A new application cannot be matched to the same URL.
  3. Versioning: the reapplication process will create a new version of the existing record, allowing the old (now invalid) journal entry to be overwritten. It is important that this happens so that a journal only has ONE entry and it is most-up-to-date.

Until further notice, all reapplications by journals already in DOAJ will be automatically rejected. We kindly ask our publishers and editors to please wait until we announce that reapplications are open.