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.

DOAJ’s global activities in 2019: the year in review

In 2019, DOAJ’s Ambassadors and Editorial Team took part in almost 40 international events across the globe. In this post, we are highlighting the wonderful and varied work of our Ambassadors and illustrating just how much DOAJ is in demand.

Last year was especially prolific in the Latin American region, as both our Ambassador, Ivonne Lujano, and our Managing Editor, Alejandra Manco Vega, attended numerous conferences and events.

The month of June was busy for Ivonne, as she participated in the 4th Regional Meeting of Editors of Academic Journals and the Training Workshop on Scientific Publishing at the Universidad Distrital Francisco José de Caldas in Colombia. She also participated in the 1st National Congress of Editors of Journals in Education, at Faed/UDESC in Brazil in mid-June. In July, Ivonne spent several days in Lima, Peru, where she discussed the policies of academic Journals with the Peru National Council of Science.

Over the summer, Alejandra was in Brazil, at the II Encontro Nacional de Portais de Periódicos (UNICAMP).

Toward the end of the year, both Ivonne and Alejandra gave workshops on ‘Policies and strategies on openness in research and education’ in Lima, Peru and La Pampa, Argentina.

In the North African region, our Managing Editor and very active ambassador, Kamel Belhamel, prepared workshops on Intellectual property and Creative Commons Licenses in Bejaia, Algeria. Kamel was also a speaker at the two-day conference and workshop about Academic publishing and Open Access in Rabat and Casablanca in Morocco.

In the United States, our Editor-in-Chief, Tom Olijhoek, repeated his participation in the Force11 summer school, along with Ivonne Lujano. Ivonne was also a speaker at the American Library Association Annual Conference & Exhibition. Spotlight on Serials: Open Access: Current and future trends in OA in Latin America, in Washington DC.

In Asia, our Ambassador, Vrushali, was at the COAR (Confederation of Open Access Repositories) Asia Meeting in Bangladesh. In March, April, and June, our Indonesian Ambassadors Ikhwan Arief and Mochammad Tanzil organised a DOAJ workshop for editors in Surabaya and Padang, Indonesia.

In Europe, our Senior Managing Editor, Judith Barnsby, attended both the Crossref / British Library publisher workshop on metadata and open access and the ISSN workshops in February and March in London. Kamel and Tom were at the CC Global Summit in Lisbon in May, and Tom was at the ELPUB conference in Marseille in June.

At the end of 2019, DOAJ, represented by our Projects and Communications Manager, Clara Armengou, was in New Zealand for the first time. Clara met representatives from Auckland University of Technology and the University of Waikato in Hamilton to discuss the DOAJ criteria and getting more journals into DOAJ.

2019 in review and what’s coming in 2020

It’s a new year and a new decade. This year, DOAJ turns 17 and much like a teenager, we have seen a major growth spurt over the last 4 years, peaking at a total of 14.25 million unique users at the end of 2019. 2020 will see further transformation into a maturer, more rounded service.

A chart showing the growth of DOAJ from 2015 to 2019 in millions of unique users

Usage of DOAJ, 2015 to 2019 (Source: Google Analytics)

2019

2019 was another busy year, focussed on preparing DOAJ for adulthood. We added muscle to the bones by increasing our capacity in the platform and in our editorial team and thereby increasing our throughput. Never before has DOAJ been such a lean operation on such a large scale.

Much of the process to get to where we are today was written about in September, in a guest post by Richard Jones from Cottage Labs, so I’m just focussing on the last quarter here.

Since October 2019, we updated the DOAJ search interface–a program called Edges–and upgraded to Python 3. We extended our automated testing scripts and fixed a variety of bugs or discrepancies which they subsequently uncovered.

I am pleased to say that these pieces of work have been so successful that in 2019 we had 99.999% uptime, a huge improvement on previous years.

On the front end, we added more translations of the COPE/DOAJ/OASPA/WAME co-authored Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing which is now available in 20 different languages. We cleaned up our articles database by removing many old, malformed or duplicated entries.

We also improved our crawler which is pointed at Europe PMC’s API and added 13,200 PLoS articles which were missing from the database.

The start of the redesign project saw us focussing our efforts on design research:

  • getting in touch with users
  • doing exhaustive inventories of our content and information architecture
  • understanding DOAJ’s offers and services on a deeper level
  • setting realistic goals and metrics for the website’s design
  • benchmarking / looking at how other open access orgs and not-for-profits present themselves
  • finding visual inspiration from external sources / moodboarding
  • setting ourselves up for a more modular design mindset to facilitate development of new services on DOAJ.org

We also inaugurated our Advisory Board and Council.

2020

During the first quarter of 2020, the following pieces of work will be released live to the site:

  • Some additional language codes will be added to our XSD file.
  • A Spam reCAPTCHA module is being added to the feedback form.
  • The form for publishers to manually provide article metadata to us is getting an overhaul.
  • The addition of Crossref XML compatibility so publishers can send us Crossref XML if they wish.
  • A reconstructed, redesigned application form with improved functionality and usability.

Away from the platform, we are extending our partner program, after what is proving to be a successful pilot project with our friends at TSV in Finland.  More projects like this will result in an increase in the number of journals indexed in DOAJ, the goal of the work we wrote about when we reached our first SCOSS funding target in May 2019.

The aim of these projects is to:

  • Maintain the recency and relevancy of the database by targetting specific journals which are not yet indexed in DOAJ
  • Recruit back into DOAJ as many of the 2850 journals as possible which we removed during the Reapplication Project,
  • Increase our coverage of journals from the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities.
  • Increase our coverage of non-English language journals.
  • Increase our coverage of journals from specific subject areas.

DOAJ will also continue its work with its partner program Think.Check.Submit which is developing it tools and resources.

If you have any questions about any of this work, do please leave a comment!

I wish all our readers a happy and healthy 2020.

WANTED Portuguese and Spanish speakers: a call for volunteer DOAJ Associate Editors

DOAJ has a network of 130 skilled, voluntary Associate Editors and Editors who spend a few hours a week processing new journal applications for us. Would you like to join us? We are now recruiting volunteers who understand Portuguese and Spanish (You do not have to be a native speaker.) You must also be proficient in written and spoken English. 

As a DOAJ Associate Editor, you will be expected to do a few hours of voluntary, unpaid work a week. You will be provided with training materials to help you carry out your duties. The work you do will directly contribute to the quality, reputation, and prominence of open access, scholarly publishing around the globe. 

If you are interested, please complete this form. 

Requirements of the Role Your role as DOAJ Associate Editor will be guided and supervised by an Editor and a Managing Editor. 

Successful candidates will: 

  • have good knowledge about Open Access (OA); 
  • be passionate about OA; 
  • have good knowledge about OA developments in scholarly publishing; 
  • have a working understanding of OA publishing practices. 

In your work you must: 

  • be confident working online and have stable access to the internet; 
  • support and promote DOAJ and its goals, and be a DOAJ advocate; 
  • maintain confidentiality around information you have access to in the DOAJ database and shared Google Drive, particularly applications you review; 
  • assist in evaluating journals suggested to DOAJ in your specialist language; 
  • adhere to the recommendations around keeping personal data secure and confidential, as laid out by the DOAJ privacy policy

Applications are open to anyone with the requested language skills but please note that if you are associated with a journal in DOAJ, you may not be selected due to a conflict of interest. 

Thank you for considering volunteering for DOAJ!