OAPEN joins Think. Check. Submit.

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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.

Sponsorship plan for 2020

Here are the details of our sponsorship rates and benefits for 2020. As always, we remain truly grateful to all our sponsors for their support.

An addition to the benefits for 2020 is that all sponsors, sponsoring us with £3000 or more, are eligible to put forward a nomination at the next round of elections for the Advisory Board or Council, and then vote in both elections.

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If you require any further information, please email me: dom@doaj.org.

 

 

We’re paving the way for greater things to come.

As hinted in a post yesterday, DOAJ is getting a nip and a tuck today, to make way for larger projects later this year:

A completely new search front-end. It looks very similar to the old one, but with some major improvements under-the-hood (more powerful, more responsive, more accessible), and gives us the capability to build better, cooler interfaces in the future.

At 3pm BST today, we will start an upgrade to two elements of the site: Bootstrap and Edges. Bootstrap is ‘an open source toolkit for developing with HTML, CSS, and JS’ and is what we use to display the site. Edges is Cottage Lab’s own open source library for presenting the search and navigation capabilities to the user.

What’s changing?

Users will see that much of the orange colour in search results and navigation is replaced with grey. This colour may be temporary until a full redesign is carried out.

Some standardisation has been applied to the treatment of navigation and sorting features, like buttons, dropdowns, etc

The site will be much more responsive on smaller screens.

The fonts will be cleaner and easier to read, on large and smaller screens.

Some accessibility changes, one step on our way to becoming compliant with world recognised accessibility standards.

Why are you making these changes?

We’re paving the way for a much larger redesign project which is coming down the pipe. The project will take in a UX assessment, a rebrand, a site redesign, and much more. These two upgrades are necessary to accommodate the outputs of that project.

If you have any questions, or would like to know more, leave a comment here.

 

Guest post: a technical update from our development team

This is a guest post by Richard Jones, founding partner of Cottage Labs and member of the DOAJ team. Cottage Labs has hosted, developed and managed the DOAJ platform since December 2013 and is responsible for keeping DOAJ available to the vast number of individuals using DOAJ every day.


To the public, it may seem that not a lot has changed at doaj.org for the past year or so but in the background, a lot of work has been going on to prepare for some major improvements.

January – August 2019

During this period, our technical focus has been on 3 major areas: the Application Form; the editorial workflow system, which underpins the application process; and the User Interface (UI). In addition, we have been carrying out the final bits of work to improve the stability and scalability of the system, with the net result that in those 8 months there was only 3 minutes of unscheduled down-time.

The team measures its throughput via the number of issues that are successfully dealt with per month in our GitHub issue tracker. On average we’re handling 20-25 issues per month, some of which are support questions. These questions come from a variety of sources including DOAJ team members, end users, or from technical users of the API and other machine interfaces.

We’ve also been working with a new performance monitor to identify bugs, and for the first time we are able to detect issues with the system that go unreported or even unnoticed by end users.

Here are some of the minor improvements we’ve made:

  • Improved API documentation
  • Further GDPR compliance: cookie consent banner; marketing opt in/out preferences for users; and anonymisation of data used in testing and development
  • Data about articles in the Journal CSV file
  • A preliminary overhaul of the site’s layout template and CSS, in preparation for a much larger UI upgrade next year.

Here are some major bits of work that we have carried out:

  • Enhancements to our historical data management system. We track all changes to the body of publicly available objects (Journals and Articles) and we have a better process for handling that.
  • Introduced a more advanced testing framework for the source code. As DOAJ gains more features, the code becomes larger and more complex. To ensure that it is properly tested for before going into production, we have started to use parameterised testing on the core components. This allows us to carry out broader and deeper testing to ensure the system is defect free.
  • A weekly data dump of the entire public dataset (Journals and Articles) which is freely downloadable.
  • A major data cleanup on articles: a few tens of thousands of duplicates, from historical data or sneaking in through validation loopholes, were identified and removed. We closed the loopholes and cleaned up the data.
  • A complete new hardware infrastructure, using Cloudflare. This resulted in the significant increase in stability mentioned above and allows us to cope with our growing data set (increasing at a rate of around 750,000 records per year at this point).

And here are some projects we have been working on which you will see come into effect over the next few weeks:

  • A completely new search front-end. It looks very similar to the old one, but with some major improvements under-the-hood (more powerful, more responsive, more accessible), and gives us the capability to build better, cooler interfaces in the future.
  • Support for Crossref XML as an article upload format. In the future this may also be extended to the API and we may also integrate directly with Crossref to harvest articles for you. We support the current Crossref schema (4.7) and we will be supporting new versions as they come along.

Finally, we welcomed a new developer to our team, Aga, who joined Cottage Labs and the DOAJ team in July of this year.

Taking a longer view, developments coming down the pipe in the next 6-8 months or so are:

  • A major overhaul to the UI, following extensive design and user experience work by DOAJ’s UX consultant.
  • A lot of work on the editorial back-end (so you might not notice much change on the public side) to improve the throughput and usability of the system for the editors and administrators.
  • A new, revamped application form, which will be easier to use and offer you better support in applying to DOAJ or updating your existing Journals.

If you have any questions or would like more detail on anything you have read here, do please contact us or leave a comment here.

The community has chosen: introducing the new DOAJ Council.

Continuing the implementation of our new governance model, the DOAJ Council has been elected. The following individuals received the majority of the votes cast by the DOAJ community:

Shelley Allen, Emerald Publishing, United Kingdom
Perry Collins,University of Florida Libraries, USA
Frederick Fenter, Frontiers, Switzerland
Dora Elvira García-González, Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico
Piero Grandesso, University of Bologna, Italy
Suzanne Kemperman, OCLC, USA
Christian Knudsen, Royal Danish Library, Denmark
Gail McMillan, Virginia Tech and University Libraries, USA
Donna McRostie, University of Melbourne, Australia
Rainer Rees-Mertins, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, Switzerland
Karen Rowlett, University of Reading, United Kingdom
Stephanie Savage, University of British Columbia, Canada
Franck Vazquez, MDPI, Switzerland

The website will be updated with their names and a conflict of interest statement from each.

Two Council seats remain and these will be filled by invite only. DOAJ is looking for representatives from other organisations, preferably organisations operating out of low income countries or organisations whose mission matches that of DOAJ’s.

On behalf of all the DOAJ Team, I wish each of our new Council members a warm welcome!

Myth-busting: all open access journals can be listed in DOAJ

This is a myth.

People think that DOAJ exists to index all open access journals. A journal can only be indexed if it passes all of our criteria.

The Directory of Everything Open Access

The Directory of Everything open access would be a wonderful thing but of how much use would it be? DOAJ understands that users want: advice on where to publish; guidance on the reputation and credibility of a journal; peer-reviewed open access content published by quality journals. We serve a community who are interested in finding places to publish or read research for DOAJ-approved journals.

Of course, there are arguments that seeing all the open access research is better than only seeing a selection of it, but for sites which do this, where are the quality filters? In fact Unpaywall, which does aim to show as much open access content as it can, suggests to keep using DOAJ as the quality filter.

What defines an open access journal anyway?

And herein lies the problem. There are many grades, shades and colours of open access but only some of those are recognised by DOAJ. DOAJ takes its lead from the definition of openness and open access as described by the Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI):

By “open access” to this literature, we mean its free availability on the public internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself. The only constraint on reproduction and distribution, and the only role for copyright in this domain, should be to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited.

 There are many journals which have open access content in them but not all journals, or the articles in them, adhere to this founding definition of open access. Therefore a user will not find these journals or articles in DOAJ. Equally, open access articles from ceased journals are not included. Hybrid publishing is another example. Hybrid publishing is full of problems and there are concerns of double dipping. Essentially, hybrid publishing goes against every statement from the BOAI definition above so, from the beginning, DOAJ decided not to include hybrid journals.

DOAJ compared to SCOPUS and Web of Science

In an attempt to understand the number of OA journals which are not in DOAJ, we have recently started a detailed analysis of the journal lists of the 3 most used indexing services: SCOPUS, Web of Science (WoS) and DOAJ. As all 3 services serve to list quality journals according to a set of similar criteria, we would have expected these lists to overlap to a large extent.

However, when looking at the list of OA journals listed in DOAJ, SCOPUS and WoS[1], we found huge differences. Where DOAJ listed 12,582 journals (as of January 2019), SCOPUS listed 5920 journals and WoS only listed 4485 journals.

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Image by Tom Ojihoek

The reason for these discrepancies lies in the differences between the criteria for acceptance into each index; the differences in inclusion processes–DOAJ relies very much on action by the publisher to provide data–and the differences in update frequencies of each index. For instance, we found that many of the journals listed in SCOPUS but not in DOAJ had either not submitted applications to DOAJ or had submitted applications that were rejected. In other words, many of the journals that DOAJ is apparently lacking (but which are listed in SCOPUS or WoS) do not fulfill the DOAJ criteria while others are not listed in DOAJ because they simply did not apply.

Of the massive number of journals in DOAJ but which are not in SCOPUS or WoS, many are non-English journals from the Global South meaning that DOAJ’s coverage is greater, more diverse and more truly represents the global nature of open access.

It is clear from these data that not all open access journals can or should be in DOAJ.

Reference
1.
Bruns, A., et al., 2019. ISSN-Matching of Gold OA Journals (ISSN-GOLD-OA) 3.0, Bielefeld University. DOI: 10.4119/unibi/2934907 We are very grateful for the work done by Bruns et al and that their raw data was available for us to analyze.