DOAJ, Cottage Labs, and I have been working tirelessly to make sure that our upcoming website launch will be as seamless as possible. For the past few weeks, our volunteers, editors, and managers have been training on the new site and running exhaustive manual and automated tests of the user interface. Along with the developers, I’ve been keeping busy fixing issues that have been uncovered by testing. 

Ahead of these changes being rolled out this week, I wanted to give everyone a quick update on what they can expect to see in the immediate and longer terms. 

What’s new? What we’re delivering at launch:

  1. Easier access to information and (meta)data:
    • Simpler header navigation & menus: with the help of our testers, all of’s pages have been reorganised into fewer top-level sections and categories, within a flatter content hierarchy. This means fewer clicks to get to what you’re looking for.
    • Comprehensive technical documentation: we brought together all DOAJ-related docs regarding OAI-PMH, API, OpenURL, our widgets, and the public data dump for developers and publishers to access and use our data.
    • More complete support for applicants: a revised, comprehensive, and continually-evolving guide to applying, based on our new application form.
    • Responsive and mobile-friendly user interface: we have tested it on iPhone & Android devices, Chrome, Edge, Firefox, & Safari, as well as MacOS, Linux, & Windows. 
  2. A completely new and streamlined application process:
    • Simpler form interface: we broke down questions into sections and added more contextual links and menus for navigating the form.
    • Simpler language: we reworked all questions and help text into simple English.
    • “Review your answers” page: applicants now have the ability to see a summary of their answers before submitting their application.
    • Application drafts and saving progress: we now require applicants to create an account but this allows them to save their progress and return to their drafts if they’re unable to complete it in one session.
    • Auto-saving: applicants won’t need to worry about losing their progress if they forget to save it.
  3. A cleaner and more focussed search experience:
    • One search tool per document type: we realised users looking for journals are not necessarily the same that are looking for articles, so we split them up into two distinct search tools.
    • Streamlined searching by subject: we added an autocomplete “Search by Subject Name” field within the Subject filter, so you don’t have to sift through thousands of results that are not relevant to your interests.
    • “OR” instead of “AND” booleans for filters: multiple filters in a query are linked by an OR boolean instead of AND for improved precision & recall in your search results.
      • This also brings the tool more in line with standard search experiences we’ve researched and observed on other successful search engines.
    • “Quick search” for immediate search tool access: you can move quickly from viewing a journal to finding more in one click, from the top of every page.
    • Simpler journal and article layout: we revised the content of these pages to highlight key metadata and help users find other relevant journals or articles.
    • Enriched data and integration with external services: we’ve added the Dimensions Badge to articles that have both a DOI and at least one citation tracked by Dimensions.
  4. Greater transparency:
    • More information about our team and our funding:
      • We highlight all of the people that make DOAJ possible and also took the time to learn more about our volunteers and showcase their contributions.
      • We clarified our funding sources and the various ways institutions can support us.
    • A better guide to applying: applicants can learn about what’s required to be accepted, our editorial process, and steps to take if a journal has been rejected.
    • A clear and straightforward accessibility statement specifying which sections of the site are not accessible to users with screen readers (but we’re working on making them accessible).
The search tool’s new subject filter

Please note that we will accept feedback via the Hotjar widget at the bottom of the page and continue to improve these features after the launch. 

What’s next? What we are continuing to work on after the launch: 

  1. More efficient journal processing on the editorial side:  
    • We are planning on improving the current editorial workflow UI for our publishers, editorial, and administrative staff.
      • This includes, amongst other features,  a complete overhaul of the search tool to reflect the public site’s search as well as a revision of the layout for application reviews. 
  2. Better integration with other online services:  
    • Easier article and journal sharing via e-mail or social media.
    • Asynchronous checking of external databases, such as ISSN, Crossref, and ORCiD for more robust data.
    • Improved metadata discovery, including Google Scholar tags. 
  3. Better site performance and page-loading speeds:
    • Some of the new changes need to be fine-tuned so that they can load faster and more efficiently for everyone.
  4. Exploration of potential new journal & article search features:
    • Auto-complete searching within Countries, Languages, and Publisher Name filters, as with the new Subject filter.
    • More filtering and/or sorting options.
    • Journal and/or article suggestions.
    • Data visualisations, if useful and possible.

Finally, I would like to say thank you to our testers for their time and for making this redesign possible. Again, this is just a first but significant step for a more sustainable and functional platform for users, publishers, and editors.

If you have any questions or would like some clarifications, please let me know in the comments. Meanwhile, feel free to follow our progress on DOAJ’S Github.

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    1. Hello,

      Thank you very much!

      The Dimensions badge is only displayed on articles that have both a DOI and citations. Here’s an example of one with numerous citations:

      We didn’t want to display badges with no data at all, as it wouldn’t be useful to readers. As soon as Dimensions tracks a single one, however, it’ll be displayed.

      Hope this answers your question.