What’s in a “NAME”? A study of African and Arab journals in the DOAJ

This is a guest post by Souheil Houissa, editor of the North Africa & Middle East (NAME) group, and long-serving DOAJ volunteer. He wrote the article in February 2020 so the statistics are historical. (As of today, the group has processed 536 applications.) However, the general conclusions drawn throughout the article are still valid.


Journal applications are reaching the milestone of 500 titles assessed by the ‘North Africa & Middle East’ (NAME) editor group at DOAJ. This group took over from the former Arabic group in 2016, and I have been honoured to be the editor of this group.

The purpose of the NAME group is to assess as many applications as possible coming from both Arab countries and West Africa, as the regions of former groups had very few applications.

Thanks to the efforts of the 6 volunteering associate editors, we have so far accepted 290 journals and rejected a further 196 applications, for different reasons. The rest of the applications include some completed assessments, 14 are still in progress, and 4 applications were put on hold. In fact, these numbers are very little, a “peanut” comparing to the DOAJ 14267 journals, including 11290 searchable journals at the article level and about 4, 620717 articles altogether from 133 countries. 

Most applications are coming from other (mainly Muslim) countries: Indonesia; and Iran.

Of the 155 applications from Indonesia, our group has rejected 67 applications and accepted 88 titles of the total 1598 Indonesian journals included in the DOAJ.

In 2017, the total number of applications submitted to DOAJ reached its highest ever level for one year. Out of the 2488 journals added that year, nearly one quarter (602) of them came from Indonesia. Certainly, for that reason, the DOAJ managing editors decided, in September 2017, to involve the NAME group in reviewing the growing number of applications.

Of the Indonesian applications we have reviewed, 51 out of 91 have Arabic as the main full-text language. However, there were also 146 in English and 79 in Indonesian.

Indonesia is ranked the second country with 1598 DOAJ indexed journals, after the United Kingdom (1604), and before Brazil (1461). 

Iran took the 7th place in the DOAJ with 522 journals indexed. NAME editor group has accepted about 1/6th of them, that’s 86 journals after editing 131 applications. Iranian journals tend to use English (303 titles) as the main language more than the national language, Persian (239 titles). Some journals are bilingual and very few are in Arabic or French (2 journals each).

From the end of 2016, we helped with the evaluation of mainly those Iranian journals publishing in English; that’s 80 to only 6 in Persian. The highest number of accepted Iranian journals in the DOAJ was in 2018 with 128 journals.

Journal applications from the Arab states are coming from:

  • Iraq (61),
  • Algeria (25),
  • Egypt (22),
  • UA Emirates (21)
  • Morocco (9)
  • Jordan (5)
  • Saudi Arabia (4)
  • Yemen (4)

Some journals are based in the United States (19), bearing in mind that the country of the journal is linked to the address where the publisher is based.

Journals of Arab countries

Only 18 from the 22 Arab states are represented in the DOAJ; there are no applications from the Comoros, Djibouti, Mauritania, and Somalia.

Country Applications* Journals** DOAJ ***
1 Iraq 61 30 45
2 Algeria 25 5 24
3 Egypt 22 17 32
4 UA Emirates 21 12 10
5 Morocco 9 6 18
6 Jordan 5 3 4
7 Saudi Arabia 4 4 18
8 Syria 4
9 Yemen 4 4 6
10 Tunisia 3 2 5
11 Lebanon 2 1
12 Oman 2 2 7
13 Bahrain 1 1
14 Kuwait 1 1 1
15 Libya 1 1 3
16 Soudan 1
17 Palestine 1
18 Qatar 4
Total 166 87 180

*NAME group applications ** Journals accepted by NAME *** All journals in DOAJ

Table 1: Journals of Arab countries

As shown in Table 1, the NAME group has reviewed 166 journal applications and decided to include 87 of them, out of the 180 journals accepted in the DOAJ so far. The difference between the two numbers is justified by the change of the DOAJ editor groups at the end of 2017; many applications that were made in 2017 and before remained with the main database. For example, there are 24 journals in the DOAJ from Algeria, but we can find only 5 journals with the NAME group that have applied in July 2017 and later. (Public searching doesn’t include this distinction.) However, many titles were removed because they failed to reapply after 2014 or have not answered the changing requirements, and sometimes duplications may occur.

fig1

Fig.1: Journals of Arab countries

Journals of African countries

I have added South Africa to the list of African countries covered by NAME editor group to the table below to reflect an idea about the “gap” that exists between this country and the rest of the continent. (See also Ina Smith’s guest blog post: ‘Overview of the African open access landscape with a focus on scholarly publishing‘.)

This gap is also represented between Africa and the Arab countries on one hand, and the rest of the world (as shown in the DOAJ) on the other.  South Africa has 100 journals, whereas the rest of African countries together have only 29 accepted journals. Only four (4) of them were included by our group among 11 received applications.  

Country Applications* Journals** DOAJ ***
1 South Africa 100
Country Applications* Journals** DOAJ ***
2 Nigeria 3 1 8
3 Ghana 1 6
4 Kenya 5
5 Angola 2
6 Cameroun 1 1
7 DR Congo 1 1
8 Malawi 1 1
9 Mali 1 1 1
10 Ruanda 1 1 1
11 Uganda 1 1 1
12 Zimbabwe 1 1
13 Ethiopia 1
Total (without SA) 11 4 29

*NAME group applications ** Journals accepted by NAME *** All journals in DOAJ

Table 2: Journals of African countries

There are 525 journals in the African Journals On-Line (AJOL) database but only half of them are open access. 

fig2

Fig. 2: Journals of African countries

Some journals are also in the DOAJ, for example, two Tunisian journals are in AJOL. Arab North African countries have modest participation in AJOL as well.

On the other hand, many Sub-Saharan African countries are more represented in AJOL than in the DOAJ. For instance, Nigeria is the first with 222 journals (only 8 in the DOAJ) followed by 96 for South Africa, then Ethiopia (30), Kenya (29) and Ghana (27) that each has around 5 DOAJ titles. Except for South Africa which nearly has the same representation in both databases, the other African countries are modestly represented in the DOAJ.

Languages

English is the common language in the DOAJ in general and in the NAME group as well. It dominates the national languages such as Arabic, Persian, or Indonesian both for the applications and the Journals, but most journals are bilingual or multilingual. Besides English, Journals use Arabic and/or French for the Arab countries, and Persian or Indonesian with Arabic sometimes for the others.

English Arabic  Indonesian French Persian
NAME  Applications 468 119 79 34 11
NAME  Journals 264 56 48 11 6
DOAJ Journals 10.859 161 1307 985 239
Table 3: Languages of the Journals 

The table shows that almost half of the applications in every language was rejected. Journals in the NAME group represent only a small proportion of journals in English, Indonesian, Persian or French. The rest is assessed and accepted by other DOAJ specialised groups in those languages. On the other hand, Arabic, that is supposedly the national language of most countries covered by the group, represents only 34% (that is 56 journals out of 161 in Arabic). We may think that the remaining journals were treated in other groups, but in fact, many journals remain in the account of former DOAJ Arabic groups. NAME accepted 48 journals out of 1307 in Indonesian (nearly 4%), and only 11 from 985 journals in French (about 1,1%), and just 6 journals in Persian (2,5%). English is used in 264 journals of this group, and out of the 10.859 journals using English in all the DOAJ, they only represent about 2,4 %. Ranking the languages used in the DOAJ shows English in the first place, while Indonesian comes in the 4th rank, followed by French in the 5th whereas Persian takes the 11th level, and Arabic is placed the 13th. Spanish and Portuguese are the most used languages after English.

fig3

Fig. 3: Languages of the Journals

Figures show the same rank and proportions of those five full-text languages in both applications and accepted journals, but a few other oriental languages exist among the rejected applications. 

fig4

Fig. 4: Languages of  NAME Journals

Journal subjects

Journal subject classes are usually the same as the topics suggested as keywords in the applications:

  • 34 journals were classified in medicine,
  • 23 in education,
  • 16 in Islam and
  • 13 in science.

The results for NAME journals broken down by keywords have the same order. In DOAJ, social sciences took the second place in subject classes (604 titles), after medicine (786), and before both education (556) and education (general) (552). 

Journal Licensing 

The DOAJ requires that journals allow reuse and remixing of content in accordance with a Creative Commons license or other types of license with similar conditions. 

License CC BY CC BY-NC CC BY-SA CC BY- NC-SA CC BY-NC-ND CC BY-ND
Journals 113 61 45 36 22 1
Table 4: Licenses of the Journals

The CC BY license is the least restrictive, it allows distribution, remixing, adaptation, even commercially, and provided that the work is clearly attributed to the original author and source. This offers a maximum diffusion and use of licensed Journals. CC BY is the most used license in the NAME group journals:

  1. CC BY – 41%
  2. CC BY-NC – 22%
  3. CC BY-SA – 16%
  4. CC BY-NC-SA  – 13%
  5. CC BY-NC-ND – 8%

If we look at all the journal licenses in the DOAJ, we notice the dominating use of CC BY license and the low use of CC BY-ND, but the order is almost reversed for the rest. Some 385 journals are using their publishers’ own licenses. 

Many journal applications were rejected by our group editors because of ignorance or misuse of licenses. There is a lack of awareness about Creative Commons licenses. Some journals mention more than one license on their website because they misunderstand the difference, and many others confuse the licenses withholding copyright and retaining publishing rights without restrictions by authors (Questions 52 and 54).

Journals per year

fig5

Fig. 5: Number of Journals/ Year

The earliest date of an application received by the NAME group is 19/5/2015 but a bulk transfer of applications started in November 2016. My own records as  DOAJ Editor show that the earliest application I assessed was from April 2014 and the “last updated” date is not found for about 12 journals.

Generally, DOAJ has been accepting journals gradually in the first decade from 2003 to 2012. DOAJ decided in 2013 to expand its criteria. In 2014 the number of journals in the database went down because all journals were made to reapply under the new criteria. Some journals were removed after they failed to reapply in time or did not meet the new requirements.

In 2016 and 2017, the number of journals increased dramatically as many journals were accepted after reapplication and many others joined after awareness campaigns were organised. Furthermore, twelve DOAJ ambassadors were appointed in different regions of the world.  From 2018 on, journals have been added steadily at a reasonable rate and many regions and languages are reaching interesting levels in the DOAJ database.    

APCs, the DOAJ Seal, and Peer review   

After the update about Article Processing Charges (APC) in April 2016, journals were urged to provide the information about it. Around one quarter of the total journals in DOAJ ask for an APC and the same percentage is reflected in the NAME journals (70 journals). 

The DOAJ Seal is a qualification given to journals having best practices to answer requirements “related to accessibility, openness, discoverability, reuse and author rights. Only two journals in the NAME group have been accredited with the DOAJ Seal: PSU research review (2018, UK) and Arab journal of nutrition and exercise (2018, UAE). This is very little compared to the total journals in DOAJ: 1381 journals have the Seal; 13157 journals do not.

When it comes to editorial review/peer review, DOAJ checks if journals have editorial boards and which type of review is done. The database shows:

  • Double-blind peer review (7382);
  • Blind peer review (4015);
  • Peer review (2593);
  • Editorial review (136); and
  • Open peer review (132).

On the other hand, the numbers for the types of peer review of journals from the NAME group are:

  • Double-blind peer review (119);
  • Peer review (65);
  • Blind peer review (43);
  • Editorial review (1).

In both cases, journals tend to favour the use of double-blind peer review, but they differ in other choices.

Conclusion

As we have no access to other groups’ details on their applications and rejections and because features of applications and accepted journals are not the same, comparisons and analysis could not be exhaustively made. However, we have managed to come out with certain conclusions that may help editors and managers to bring necessary changes to the process to assure best practices in terms of applications, assessments and use of the DOAJ database, especially concerning Arab and African journals.

Although many Arab journals are online, participation in the DOAJ is very little, and African journals tend to adhere to other databases. Rejection of applications from Arab countries is quite high and that is due to a reluctance towards OA, ignorance of the main features of Gold OA, and lack of appliance to principles of transparency and best practice for scholarly publications. Efforts need to be made to encourage publishing in Arabic and national languages, to assist publishers to meet requirements of peer-reviewing, publication ethics, copyright and licensing.

Raising awareness of Open Access is still needed among academia, journal publishers, and decision-makers in Africa and the Middle-East.

India MCI includes DOAJ on the list of medical databases

Blog post by our Managing Editor, Leena Shah.

The Medical Council of India (MCI) In one of its recent announcements on 12th Feb 2020 has amended the “Minimum Qualifications for Teachers in Medical Institutions Regulations, 1998 ” to add a list of medical databases and indexes for aspiring medical professionals to publish their articles. We are very happy to say that this announcement includes DOAJ as one of the options along with other medical databases like Medline, PubmedCentral, etc.

DOAJ is a dynamic growing index and currently lists about 1295 quality, peer reviewed, open access medical journals of which approximately 800 journals do not have any article processing charges. Follow the simple steps below to find the journals in DOAJ:

Step 1 – click on the search button https://doaj.org/search

Step 2 – choose “journals” on the left facet

Step 3 – Under Subject choose Medicine [ 785]  or Medicine (general) [510]

Step 4 (optional) – Click on “NO” under APC to find journals that do not have APC

 

medicinesearch

Announcement: New DOAJ Ambassadors for 2020

We are excited to announce that we have appointed four new DOAJ ambassadors in Latin America, North America and Africa.

Gimena del Rio Riande from Argentina will be our second ambassador for Latin America sharing this role with Ivonne Lujano from Mexico. Gimena is a researcher at IIBICRIT, the institute for Bibliographic Research and Textual Criticism at CONICET, the main agency that fosters science and technology in Argentina.

Most of her research projects are related to Open Science and Digital Humanities, with a focus on the Global South. She is also the president of the Asociación Argentina de Humanidades Digitales (AAHD), and part of the Board of Directors of Force11, OpenMethods-DARIAH, Hypotheses, and Area (Open Education Network in Argentina).

Adrian Stanley will be our new ambassador for North America. Adrian is the recent past President for the Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP). He has previously lived and worked in China and is well connected with the global publishing community, especially in places like Brazil (SciELO) and Japan (J-Stage). In his day job, he is the Managing Director, Publishers for Digital Science, which supports, invests in and incubates new startup companies like Altmetric, Dimensions, and Figshare.

Thomas Herve Mboa Nkoudou from Cameroon is our new ambassador in Africa. He will join the existing team of ambassadors for East, North and South Africa as the representative for West and Central Africa.  He is a PhD candidate in Public Communication at Université Laval (Canada) and deeply engaged in advocating for open science and promoting best practices of Scholarly communication in Africa. He has been involved in promoting Open access in Haiti and African French-speaking countries (projet SOHA) and is the initiator and organizer of the yearly Africa Open Science and Hardware Summit (AfricaOSH). He is a member of the OpenCon organizing committee and an instructor at Force11 Scholarly Communication Institute. He has made it his mission to make scientific resources produced in African- based universities more visible locally and abroad.

 John G. Dove, based in the United States has a career in executive management of information-intensive businesses including several that served libraries and academic institutions. His ambassador activities will focus on increasing the support to DOAJ from the community.

He is now an independent consultant and open access advocate who works with organizations that are seeking to accelerate their transition to open access.  He advises both for-profits and non-profits and has a particular interest in identifying what steps are necessary to flip an entire discipline’s scholarly record to open access. He serves on NISO’s Information Discovery and Interchange Topic Committee, has written for Learned Publishing, Against the Grain, and Scholarly Kitchen. John serves on the Board of Trustees of his local public library in Revere, Massachusetts. He has a B.A. in Mathematics from Oberlin College. 

We welcome all 4 new ambassadors to our team at DOAJ and look forward to working with them for a world where open access and open science will be the default for doing and communicating on Science and Arts.

OAPEN joins Think. Check. Submit.

TCS-Logo-H-RGB

OAPEN (Open Access Publishing in European Networks) has joined the group of organisations endorsing the Think. Check. Submit. (TCS) initiative. This is an obvious yet important strategic development for TCS as there is as much need for the TCS tools and resources in the world of books, as in the world of journals. The addition of OAPEN to the core team allows TCS to broaden its remit and draw directly on the experience of OAPEN Director, Eelco Ferwerda.

Eelco said: “We’re delighted to join this important initiative to help authors select a reliable publishing venue. Quality assurance is an important part of our work, and by joining Think. Check. Submit. we can focus on the specific challenges facing authors of monographs.”

Think. Check. Submit. carried out a large survey of its users at the end of 2018 and the resounding opinion was that TCS needed to develop its tools and resources further to accommodate the fast-changing world of scholarly publishing. 

Sofie Wennström, representing the founding organisation LIBER & based at Stockholm University Library, said of the addition of OAPEN: “This is a great addition to the team, allowing us to develop Think. Check. Submit. to include good author advice about academic output formats beyond journal articles. Librarians working with scholarly communication support often get feedback from researchers in various disciplines that they want the long-format academic work to count. Providing a tool for sharing knowledge about book publishing was also suggested by users in a recent survey by Think. Check. Submit.”

About OAPEN

The OAPEN Foundation was established in 2011 to support the transition to OA books. The OAPEN Library hosts one of the largest collections of freely accessible academic books. OAPEN works with publishers and funders to build a quality-controlled collection of OA books, and provides services for publishers, libraries, and research funders in the areas of deposit, quality assurance, metadata enhancement, dissemination, and digital preservation.

About Think. Check. Submit.

Think. Check. Submit. provides a checklist that guides researchers through the process of deciding which journals and now books are best for their research. The process is intended to go beyond individual journal decisions to help researchers build up their journal evaluation skills. The checklist is now available in nearly 40 languages.

Think. Check. Submit. is run, and funded, by a coalition from across scholarly communications in response to discussions about deceptive publishing. Details of the organizations contributing can be found at https://thinkchecksubmit.org/about/. The current Think. Check. Submit. committee can be found at http://thinkchecksubmit.org/faq/committee/.

DOAJ is a founding member of Think. Check. Submit.

SILVER SPONSOR COPERNICUS PUBLICATIONS ANSWERS OUR QUESTIONS ON DOAJ AND OPEN ACCESS

Dr Xenia van Edig, Business Development, answers our questions.

-Your organisation has been supporting DOAJ for a few years now. Why is it important for Digital Science to support DOAJ?

As an information hub for all those interested in high-quality peer-reviewed open-access journals, the DOAJ is an extremely important platform. It is independent and committed to high-quality and peer-reviewed open access in all fields of STEM and HSS. With the re-vetting of all its content in 2016 and with the introduction of the DOAJ seal, its mission to increase the visibility, accessibility, reputation, usage, and impact of open-access journals has become even more evident. For us as an exclusively open-access publisher, it is therefore only logical that we support DOAJ.

What benefits does being indexed in DOAJ bring to your journals?

Indexing in DOAJ increases the visibility of our journals and demonstrates that our journals adhere to best practices in open-access publishing. Furthermore, many libraries and institutions understandably only provide financial support for article processing charges (APCs) for journals which are indexed in DOAJ and therefore receive an external quality seal.

-Do you think that the DOAJ has been and/or still is important for the development of Open Access publishing?

Absolutely. The DOAJ plays a leading role in the development of best practices in open-access publishing. For example the DOAJ developed – together with OASPA, WAME and COPE – the Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing.

-What is Copernicus doing to support that development? Do you have any exciting projects underway?

Copernicus Publications has been an open-access publisher since 2001. In the past 18 years, we have helped many learned societies and academic institutions launch new open-access journals or transform their existing journals into open-access journals. In addition, we have been promoting open access in the peer-review process since 2001 by implementing the Interactive Public Peer Review, which is now applied by 20 of the 42 journals we publish. The current rise of preprint servers and the formation of initiatives promoting open peer review prove that this peer review model is still innovative.

We are also committed to enabling reproducibility of published research. Therefore, we provide authors with the opportunity to connect their article with underlying or related materials such as data, model code, physical samples, and videos deposited in suitable repositories through DOI linking. In this regard, we also signed the Enabling FAIR Data Commitment Statement in the Earth, Space, and Environmental Sciences.

These past years have focussed on making content accessible. The next ongoing challenge is to overcome the barriers regarding APC payments. We recently launched a national licence in Germany, with many universities and research centres participating. Together with our partners in libraries and funding bodies, we strive towards a seamless open-access experience for authors without worrying about APC payments.

-What are your personal views on the future of Open Access publishing?

I hope that further progress will be made in accelerating the transition towards a world where research outputs are publicly available and reusable. However, I fear that current major initiatives are focussing too much on the big legacy publishers – leaving out smaller publishers and those who are purely open access. While “read and publish” deals might be a step in transforming the publishing ecosystem, funders, consortia, and institutions should not forget about those who stood up for open access when the topic was not on “everyone’s lips”. Furthermore, even though many journals published by Copernicus are financed via article processing charges, APCs are not the only business model for open access.

-What do you think that the scholarly community could do to better
support the continued development of the Open Access movement
in the near future?

I think the current evaluation system for grants, tenure, etc., which still heavily relies on the journal impact factor, favours established journals and puts newer publication venues and innovative outlets at an unfair disadvantage. Of course there are many open-access journals with high impact factors, but there is a structural disadvantage since many open-access journals are newer.

In addition, faculty and students need to be more educated about open access. For many academics, their academic freedom to freely choose a journal for their articles seems to hinge on the fact that they do not want to deal with access and reuse rights. Many academics seem to think that everything is fine because they have access to the literature through the subscriptions of their institutions’ libraries. Furthermore, they do not have to deal with APCs when publishing in subscription journals. This means a lot of advocacy for open access is still needed.

-Much has been said recently about whether open access is succeeding or failing, particularly in terms of the original vision laid out by the Budapest Open Access Initiative in 2002. Do you think that open access has fallen short of this vision, or has it surpassed expectations?

Whether something is a good idea or not cannot be measured in number of articles or successful journal transformations. I think that most people involved in the open-access movement had hoped for a quicker transition. However, only because it has been slower than envisioned, the vision of BOAI – the public good of “the world-wide electronic distribution of the peer-reviewed journal literature and completely free and unrestricted access to it” – is still the goal to achieve. Around 17 years ago open access was not on the political agenda like it is today (e.g. Plan S). Therefore, I would say the movement has been successful.

 

 

First institution from the Middle East to support DOAJ!

We are very happy to be able to welcome King Abdullah University of Science & Technology, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as the first institution from the Middle East to support DOAJ based on the recommedations of SCOSS (www.scoss.org).

J. K. Vijayakumar (Vijay), Library Director says:

“As a strong supporter of Open Access movement and as the first adopter of OA policy in the region, KAUST Library believes in DOAJ’s mission and their valuable contribution to enhance best practices in OA publishing supported with standards and metadata. We feel proud to join the global group of DOAJ funding supporters” 

Thank you very much for your contribution!

Copyright and Licensing – Part 4

This is the fourth post in a series, by our Editor-in-Chief Tom Olijhoek, which focusses on the details of copyright and licensing, how they are applied to works and which options and best practices DOAJ recommends. You can read all 4 installments in this series here. We also have a help page dedicated to Copyright and Licensing.

___________________________________________

In open access publishing, copyright and licensing issues are often not well understood by many and are not clearly described on journal websites. Some publishers we speak to think that they have to pay a fee to establish Creative Commons licensing on their site. Just as DOAJ is a free service, Creative Commons licenses from CreativeCommons.org are also free.

At DOAJ we require open access publishers to use licenses for publications, and we recommend Creative Commons licenses as the best practice because these are free licenses tailor-made to meet the needs of open access. Publishers are also allowed to describe their own licenses as long as these comply and match Creative Commons licensing terms.

We recommend that publishers leave the copyright with the authors. Although this is not a requirement for inclusion in DOAJ nor for using Creative commons licenses, we think that authors should retain their rights, including their copyright for their work. Copyright is part of the larger framework of intellectual property rights that encompasses publishing rights, reproduction in the form of video or audio, patents trademark, research data and more.

All Rights Reserved

A number of publishers use the term ALL RIGHTS RESERVED incorrectly in the context of open access publishing and often in direct opposition to the “open access” state of the content. The us of this term is always wrong in the setting of open access because some rights will always be shared depending on the open access license used.

Copyright Retained by the Author

If authors retain the copyright of their work and publish open access then they can claim copyright and full intellectual property rights with some rights reserved. Under these conditions publishers can then claim rights of first publication and this does not conflict with the copyright remaining with the authors.

For instance, when you publish using CC-BY-NC and retain your copyright, you also reserve the commercial rights exclusively for yourself, unless you sign an agreement with a publisher that transfers commercial rights (some rights reserved).

Copyright Retained by the Author but Author rights restrained

Sometimes publishers seem to think that open access licensing conditions apply only to readers and not to authors. This is wrong. Consider the following case:

 

The copyright is retained by the author but [publisher]
‘allows authors the use of the final published version of an article (publisher pdf) for self-archiving (author’s personal website) and/or archiving in an institutional repository (on a non-profit server) after an embargo period of 12 months after publication.The published source must be acknowledged and a link to the journal home page or article’s DOI must be set. The author MAY NOT self-archive the articles in public and/or commercial subject based repositories.’
According to the website of the publisher, for works published under a CC BY-NC-ND license:‘users can read, copy and distribute the work in any medium or format for non-commercial purposes, provided the authors and the journal/book are appropriately credited. Under this license, users are not allowed to remix, transform or build upon the published material.’

The policy on author archiving from this publisher is clearly in conflict both with the licensing conditions and with the copyright policy. Even without the embargo clause this policy is wrong, especially since authors who retain the copyright are not bound by the conditions of the license at all: they can do whatever they want with their work (unless they have transferred their commercial rights to the publisher which is not the case here.)

Copyright Transferred to the Publisher

If on the other hand the copyright is transferred to the publisher, the publisher can claim copyright but never ALL RIGHTS RESERVED since all the other (intellectual property) rights remain with the author.

Sometimes the publishers will put a copyright clause in the website, with the intention that this means they claim copyright for the layout and design of the site. This is OK as long as the copyright clause explains this. If site simply states ‘Copyright Society of Physical Sciences’, or something similar, this is not acceptable as it is unclear what the copyright statement applies to.

Copyright Transfer Agreement in conflict with Open Access

In some cases publisher use a copyright transfer agreement that conflicts with open access licensing.

For instance let us regard this case where a CC BY-NC license is used on a site:

‘‘ [you] hereby transfer your copyright to us (the publisher). In particular, this means that you grant us the exclusive right, for the full term of copyright and any renewals/extensions thereof, both to reproduce and distribute your article (including the abstract) ourselves throughout the world in printed, electronic or any other medium”

There is clearly a conflict here since all users under a Creative Commons License have the right to reproduce, distribute etc, so the right of the publishers cannot be exclusive or all rights reserved. The transfer agreement should be corrected by replacing ‘exclusive right’ with ‘non-exclusive right.

Commercial Rights Transferred to the Publisher

If only commercial rights are transferred to the publisher, the author retains (part of) the copyright in addition to  all other intellectual property rights. In this case the publisher cannot claim copyright or ‘all rights reserved.’

Example:

‘Authors sign an exclusive license agreement, where authors have copyright but license exclusive rights in their article to the publisher**.

**This includes the right for the publisher to make and authorize commercial use,…

In this particular case, the journal also had a copyright statement that stated that all rights were reserved in the publisher’s favour.

This post is by no means complete The different examples shown are just a number of often encountered cases where copyright and licensing conditions do not match. Other cases with less obvious inconsistencies undoubtedly exist. We invite the reader of this blog post to alert us to such cases.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UPDATE: DOAJ’s site performance issues have now been solved

We are happy to inform that our site is now back to normal and our services have resumed. We are still working on a long-term stability strategy and we will be able to update you on that and also provide a more detailed explanation of our issues soon. Thank you again for your patience over the last few weeks.

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We deeply regret the current problems with the DOAJ site.  After much investigation and active measures, we can state that the DOAJ is effectively under attack from an unknown third party.

We have deployed a number of counter-measures to halt this attack, but with limited success, and are therefore forced to take even more extreme measures to attempt to mitigate this.  We hope that this will work but we cannot predict the outcome at this stage.

The DOAJ team would like to apologise for the intermittent service and to let you know we are doing our best to go back to normal operations.