Survey reveals need for good guidance about trustworthy places to publish research

19 December 2018 – A survey carried out by the Think. Check. Submit. initiative has revealed a strong demand from both researchers and librarians for guidance about where to publish and an appreciation of the services that the initiative offers. However, it also revealed a need for further educational resources and wider reach for the initiative.

Think Check Submit Logo

Launched in 2015, Think. Check. Submit. helps researchers identify trusted journals for their research. Through a range of tools and practical resources, this international, cross-sector initiative aims to educate researchers, promote integrity, and build trust in credible research and publications. Central to the initiative is a checklist based on best practices in scholarly communication. The widely used checklist is available in nearly 40 languages from Albanian to Vietnamese.

The survey was carried out by Think. Check. Submit. in September 2018 as a benchmark to guide future work and was completed by 410 respondents from all parts of the world. In-depth analysis of the findings is still ongoing but preliminary analysis points to some clear trends:

  • Think. Check. Submit. is welcomed and seen to be fulfilling an important role. 14% said it was “essential” and 42% said it was “very useful”, while less than 7% of respondents said the initiative was “not very useful” or “not useful at all”. More than 75% would definitely recommend Think. Check. Submit. to a colleague.
  • The decision on where to publish is complex and dubious publications can take advantage of that. The top reason given by respondents for selecting a journal to publish in was relevance to their field, followed by inclusion in indexes/impact factor; belief that the journal was trustworthy came third and was the top choice for just over 20% of respondents.
  • There is still work to be done in building awareness of how Think. Check. Submit. can help researchers address this challenge; 34% of respondents had not heard of the initiative before completing the survey.
  • The responses to the survey revealed a sense of community ownership about the initiative, in particular the willingness of many survey respondents to provide more detailed insight and help with development of the initiative, for example by providing translations.

Building on the survey findings, in conjunction with the wider Think. Check. Submit. community, in 2019 the committee will focus on extending the reach of the initiative and further developing educational resources to assist researchers and librarians worldwide.

Alastair Horne

About Think. Check. Submit. (
Think. Check. Submit. helps researchers identify trusted journals for their research. Through a range of tools and practical resources, this international, cross-sector initiative aims to educate researchers, promote integrity, and build trust in credible research and publications. The campaign has been produced with the support of a coalition from across scholarly communications in response to discussions about deceptive publishing.

DOAJ’s New Governance Model

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 18th December 2018 DOAJ will implement a new governance model in 2019 which will see DOAJ financers having a role in the organisation’s Board and Council. All organisations funding DOAJ with €1500 or more will be eligible for nomination.

In January 2019 DOAJ will inaugurate a new governance model providing the structure and transparency that it needs to meet its strategic goals, and ensure the organisation is fit-for-purpose for at least the next 5 years.

Today, DOAJ is run by the DOAJ Team with help provided as and when we need it—and always willingly—by our Advisory Board. Over the last 5 years, DOAJ has grown in size and importance and has come to a point where the existing model is no longer fit for purpose. DOAJ needs to be more formally structured and transparent if it is to meet the needs of the academic community, as well as its funders and sponsors.

DOAJ's governance model

The model for DOAJ’s governance was first drafted in October 2017 and has been reviewed and updated after input from the current Advisory Board. When the SCOSS model for funding DOAJ and other services was announced at the end of 2017, we decided that it is only fitting that the donors get some input into how DOAJ is run. We are proposing an Advisory Board of a maximum of 9 seats, and a Council with a maximum of 15 seats. Their role is to provide expert advice to the DOAJ Team and help us meet our strategic goals. We are also establishing an editorial subcommittee to assist us with questions around editorial process and content quality.

An organisational chart, showing how the Board, Council and Subcommittee interact with each other and with the DOAJ Team will be published shortly.

All organisations and publishers donating €1500 or more to DOAJ every year are eligible for nominations and will be invited to submit candidates for election to the new Advisory Board and the Council. Specific invitations will be sent out early in the New Year.

RESOLVED: DOAJ in read-only mode 18th-20th December

Our maintenance work completed successfully yesterday and read only mode for DOAJ has been disabled. All functions are working as normal.

From 8pm (UK/UTC) on 18th December until 8pm on 20th December (UK/UTC) DOAJ will be in read-only mode for essential maintenance. This will affect usual functionality of the DOAJ site in four main areas:

  1. Publishers will not be able to upload any article metadata to us during that time.
  2. Publishers will not be able to submit update requests to us.
  3. No-one will be able to submit new applications to us.
  4. The API will only allow search and retrieval. Updates, creates, and deletes will not work.

The read-only mode period will enable us to do some essential system and stability upgrades.

I will repost this post on 21st December, once all operations are back to normal, or if the read-only mode period needs to be extended for any reason.

If you have any questions or concerns, leave a comment here or send me email.

Université de Lorraine, the first French institution to provide sustainable funding based on SCOSS recommendations

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We are very happy to be able to announce Université de Lorraine as the first French institution to join our growing list of institutions who have committed to provide sustainable funding to DOAJ for a period of three years as recommended by SCOSS.
Frédéric Villiéras, vice-provost for research at Université de Lorraine says: “We are delighted to strengthen our support to the DOAJ. This choice is in line with other financial supports towards open platforms that were decided earlier this year. We are fully committed to supporting open science infrastructures such as the DOAJ and we hope that other french research institutions and libraries will follow. “
Please, contact for further information.

¿Qué es el DOAJ?

El DOAJ es un directorio en línea comisariado por la comunidad que indexa y proporciona acceso a revistas académicas de alta calidad, de acceso abierto y revisadas por pares. El DOAJ es independiente. Toda la financiación se realiza a través de donaciones, el 40% de las cuales provienen de patrocinadores y el 60% de editoriales y miembros. Todos los servicios del DOAJ son gratuitos, incluida la indexación en el DOAJ. Todos los datos están disponibles de manera gratuita.

El DOAJ cuenta con un programa de educación en todo el mundo que se centra en la mejora de la calidad de las solicitudes presentadas.

El DOAJ, independencia y la importancia de la imparcialidad

El DOAJ recibe regularmente preguntas y, a veces, quejas de bibliotecas, consorcios de bibliotecas y otras instituciones académicas sobre el papel que desempeñan en el DOAJ las editoriales académicas tradicionales. Un error común es que el DOAJ es propiedad de estas organizaciones, o está totalmente subvencionado por ellas, y que el DOAJ sólo beneficia a estas organizaciones. Si usted mirara la página de inicio del DOAJ hace dos años, podríamos entender esta suposición: casi todos nuestros patrocinadores eran editoriales y estaban en nuestra página de inicio. Parecía que el DOAJ era propiedad de estas editoriales.

(Evitar esa idea errónea es también la razón por la cual el DOAJ es muy cuidadoso sobre con quién se asocia). Las organizaciones con las que nos asociamos deben compartir los mismos valores que el DOAJ, tener la misma visión y al menos tener la intención de proporcionar servicios a la comunidad. El DOAJ se enorgullece de asociarse con organizaciones como Redalyc, SciELO, ISSN y COPE.

La suposición de que el DOAJ es propiedad de las editoriales o está totalmente subvencionado por ellas es, por supuesto, incorrecta. Las editoriales desempeñan un importante papel financiero en el apoyo de los servicios que el DOAJ proporciona a todas las partes interesadas. Algunas editoriales nos donan un patrocinio anual; algunas de ellas son miembros de DOAJ como editorial. Estas contribuciones permiten al DOAJ proporcionar servicios continuos, y mejoras a estos servicios. En 2017, las contribuciones de las editoriales representaban el 40% de los ingresos, mientras que las contribuciones de las instituciones del sector público representaban el resto (60%). En 2018, los ingresos de las instituciones del sector público representarán el 70%. Todas las contribuciones al DOAJ son voluntarias; todos los servicios proporcionados por el DOAJ, incluyendo la evaluación de revistas, son gratuitos.

El DOAJ es útil para bibliotecarios, para editores, para investigadores, para estudiantes, para propietarios de revistas, para todos. Más del 50% de nuestro consejo asesor proviene de la comunidad de bibliotecas y consorcios. El DOAJ es global y no está atado a fronteras geográficas. Somos una organización virtual que emplea a personas de todo el mundo y que cuenta con nuestros propios embajadores que fomentan las mejores prácticas en sus territorios de origen. El DOAJ es 100% independiente. El DOAJ es 100% imparcial. La compañía holding del DOAJ, IS4OA C.I.C., está registrada de una manera que hace imposible que el DOAJ sea comprado, adquirido o vendido.

La imparcialidad juega un papel importante en el progreso que el DOAJ ha hecho en los últimos 5 años y el equipo del DOAJ trabaja duro para asegurar que la imparcialidad sea lo más importante en todo lo que hacemos. Esta es una de las razones por las que el DOAJ se adhiere y alienta a otros a adherirse a la transparencia y las buenas prácticas; mejores prácticas que se desarrollan, adoptan y reconocen a nivel internacional. También reconocemos que la aplicación de estas normas y el funcionamiento dentro de ellas puede ser un reto, por lo que tenemos que mantener cierta flexibilidad. Un buen ejemplo sería la concesión de licencias.


Ejemplo de información sobre licencias de una revista capturada en DOAJ.

A veces nos preguntan: ¿por qué el DOAJ acepta las licencias más restrictivas cuando la definción BOAI (definición a la que el DOAJ se adhiere como uno de sus principios) es muy clara sobre lo que significa “abierto”?

Cuando el DOAJ elaboró su formulario de solicitud ampliado en 2013, vimos muy claro que el DOAJ tenía que aceptar las 6 variaciones de las licencias CCBY, con sus distintos grados de apertura para asegurarnos que el mayor número posible de revistas pudieran solicitar el ingreso en el DOAJ. Al usuario típico del DOAJ se le deben presentar opciones y se le debe permitir tomar una decisión informada basada en la información que mostramos sobre las políticas de licencias y derechos de autor de una revista.

Sin embargo, el DOAJ considera el uso de las licencias CC, en particular el uso de las licencias más abiertas, como una de las mejores prácticas y las promueve como uno de los criterios para el Sello DOAJ.

En 2017 el DOAJ fue el noveno en una lista mundial de plataformas que apoyan el uso de licencias Creative Commons. Creemos que esto es el resultado directo de nuestra preferencia por las licencias CC y la influencia del Sello DOAJ.

Para que una iniciativa como el DOAJ funcione, debe seguir siendo lo más relevante posible en todo el mundo. Debe seguir siendo imparcial e independiente.


DOAJ, Independence and the Importance of Impartiality

DOAJ receives regularly questions and, sometimes, complaints from libraries, library consortia and other academic institutions about the role which publishers—by “publishers” I mean the traditional publishing organisations in academic publishing—play in DOAJ. A common misconception is that DOAJ is owned by, or wholly subsidised by these organisations and that DOAJ is only of benefit to these organisations. If you looked at the DOAJ homepage two years ago, you’d be forgiven for making that assumption: nearly all of our sponsors were publishing organisations and they were all on our homepage. It looked like DOAJ was owned by publishers.

(Avoiding that misconception is also why DOAJ is very careful about who it goes into partnership with. The organisations we partner with must share the same values as DOAJ, have the same vision and at least be intent on providing services to the community. DOAJ is proud to call organisations like Redalyc, SciELO, ISSN and COPE partners.)

The assumption that DOAJ is owned by, or wholly subsidised by publishers is of course incorrect. Publishers play an important financial role in supporting the services which DOAJ provides to all stakeholders. Some publishers donate an annual sponsorship to us; some of them are publisher members. These contributions enable DOAJ to provide continuous services, and improvements to these services, for everyone but any direct influence on DOAJ stops there. In 2017 contributions from publishers accounted for 40% of the income, whereas contributions from public sector institutions accounted for the rest (60%). In 2018 income from public sector institutions will account for 70%. All contributions to DOAJ are made voluntarily; all services provided by DOAJ, including the evaluation of journals, are free.

DOAJ is for librarians, for publishers, for researchers, for students, for journal owners, for everyone. More than 50% of our advisory board is from the library and consortia community. DOAJ is global and isn’t tied down to geographic borders. We are a virtual organisation, employing people from all over the world and with our own Ambassadors encouraging best practice in their home territories. DOAJ is 100% independent. DOAJ is 100% impartial. DOAJ’s holding company, IS4OA C.I.C., is registered in a way that makes it impossible for DOAJ to be purchased, acquired or sold.

Impartiality plays a huge role in the progress that DOAJ has made over the last 5 years and the DOAJ Team works hard to ensure that impartiality is foremost in everything we do. This is one of the reasons that DOAJ adheres to, and encourages other to adhere to, transparency, best practice and standards; best practices and standards which are internationally grown, adopted and recognised. We also recognise that applying those standards and operating within them can be challenging so we have to retain a certain amount of flexibility. A good example here would be licensing.


Example of the licensing information captured by DOAJ about a journal’s policies.

People often ask: why does DOAJ accept some of the more closed licenses when the BOAI definition [that DOAJ follows as a principle] is clear about what open means? When DOAJ put together its extended application form in 2013, it was clear that DOAJ needed to allow 6 variations on the CC BY license, with varying degrees of openness, to ensure that as many titles as possible could apply to be indexed. The typical DOAJ user should be presented with options and they should be allowed to make an informed choice based on the information we display about a journal’s licensing and copyright policies. However, DOAJ considers the use of CC licenses, particularly use of the most open licenses, as Best Practice and we promote that as one of the criteria for the DOAJ Seal.

In 2017 DOAJ was 9th in a worldwide list of platforms supporting the use of Creative Commons licenses. We believe this to be a direct result of our  preference for CC licenses and the influence of the DOAJ Seal.

For an initiative like DOAJ to work, it must remain as relevant as possible around the world. It must remain impartial and it must remain independent.