New Sponsorship Model from 2018

From January 2018, DOAJ has introduced a tiered system of sponsorship – a structure which is tried and tested and that, we believe, will meet our current sponsors’ expectations and hopefully raise our appeal to new sponsors. To make sure that the model remains realistic, we have tiered pricing for both commercial and non-commercial entities.

Read the report on our main achievements in 2017, as well as developments for the year ahead.

All sponsors are able to use our new logos below on their web sites and promotional materials etc. The logos are coloured according to the level of sponsorship. A new logo will be issued each year.

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If your organisation would like to sponsor us, or if you have any questions about your current sponsorship, our work, or what sponsorship money goes towards, please contact  our Managing Director and Founder, Lars Bjørnshauge, directly: lars@doaj.org.

DOAJ launches the DOAJ Best Practice Guide

DOAJ has launched the DOAJ Best Practice Guide.

The Guide is a web resource that provides selection criteria, resources and tools for the identification of reputable open access journals to support researchers, publishers and librarians in their search of best practice and transparency standards. It is also an attempt to collect discussions about open access to publications and its development. It is developed by, and updated regularly by, the DOAJ team based on existing and new information.

The Guide complements the work of the DOAJ Ambassadors as well as academics, librarians and publishers worldwide. Based on the information provided on the For Publishers page on the DOAJ website and the Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing, the Guide aims to do the following:

  • Highlight issues surrounding questionable publishing practices;
  • Provide a checklist of criteria to help identify questionable publishers based on guidelines for editors working with applications to DOAJ;
  • Identify other tools that assist in making informed decisions on where to submit articles for publication. based on the ThinkCheckSubmit initiative;
  • Contain case studies and examples gathered by DOAJ over 13 years of operation.
Initial work with the Best Practice Guide was funded by IDRC  as part of the Ambassadors’ programme. If you know of other resources that should be included in the Guide, then do please contact us or leave a comment here.

Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing, version 3

The 3rd version of the Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing is published today.

Introduction

The Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA), and the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME) are scholarly organizations that have seen an increase in the number, and broad range in the quality, of membership applications. Our organizations have collaborated to identify principles of transparency and best practice for scholarly publications and to clarify that these principles form the basis of the criteria by which suitability for membership is assessed by COPE, DOAJ and OASPA, and part of the criteria on which membership applications are evaluated by WAME. Each organization also has their own, additional criteria which are used when evaluating applications. The organizations will not share lists of publishers or journals that failed to demonstrate that they met the criteria for transparency and best practice. Backgrounds on each organization are at the bottom of this post.

This is the third version of a work in progress (published 15 January 2018); the first version was made available by OASPA in December 2013 and published on the DOAJ web site in January 2014. We encourage its wide dissemination and continue to welcome feedback on the general principles and the specific criteria.

Principles of Transparency

  1. Website: A journal’s website, including the text that it contains, shall demonstrate that care has been taken to ensure high ethical and professional standards. It must not contain information that might mislead readers or authors, including any attempt to mimic another journal/publisher’s site.
    An ‘Aims & Scope’ statement should be included on the website and the readership clearly defined. There should be a statement on what a journal will consider for publication including authorship criteria (e.g., not considering multiple submissions, redundant publications) to be included. ISSNs should be clearly displayed (separate for print and electronic).
  2. Name of journal: The Journal name shall be unique and not be one that is easily confused with another journal or that might mislead potential authors and readers about the Journal’s origin or association with other journals. 
  3. Peer review process: Journal content must be clearly marked as whether peer reviewed or not. Peer review is defined as obtaining advice on individual manuscripts from reviewers expert in the field who are not part of the journal’s editorial staff. This process, as well as any policies related to the journal’s peer review procedures, shall be clearly described on the journal website, including the method of peer review used. Journal websites should not guarantee manuscript acceptance or very short peer review times. 
  4. Ownership and management: Information about the ownership and/or management of a journal shall be clearly indicated on the journal’s website. Publishers shall not use organizational or journal names that would mislead potential authors and editors about the nature of the journal’s owner. 
  5. Governing body: Journals shall have editorial boards or other governing bodies whose members are recognized experts in the subject areas included within the journal’s scope. The full names and affiliations of the journal’s editorial board or other governing body shall be provided on the journal’s website. 
  6. Editorial team/contact information: Journals shall provide the full names and affiliations of the journal’s editors on the journal website as well as contact information for the editorial office, including a full address. 
  7. Copyright and Licensing: The policy for copyright shall be clearly stated in the author guidelines and the copyright holder named on all published articles.  Likewise, licensing information shall be clearly described in guidelines on the website, and licensing terms shall be indicated on all published articles, both HTML and PDFs.  If authors are allowed to publish under a Creative Commons license then any specific license requirements shall be noted.  Any policies on posting of final accepted versions or published articles on third party repositories shall be clearly stated. 
  8. Author fees: Any fees or charges that are required for manuscript processing and/or publishing materials in the journal shall be clearly stated in a place that is easy for potential authors to find prior to submitting their manuscripts for review or explained to authors before they begin preparing their manuscript for submission.  If no such fees are charged that should also be clearly stated. 
  9. Process for identification of and dealing with allegations of research misconduct: Publishers and editors shall take reasonable steps to identify and prevent the publication of papers where research misconduct has occurred, including plagiarism, citation manipulation, and data falsification/fabrication, among others. In no case shall a journal or its editors encourage such misconduct, or knowingly allow such misconduct to take place. In the event that a journal’s publisher or editors are made aware of any allegation of research misconduct relating to a published article in their journal, the publisher or editor shall follow COPE’s guidelines (or equivalent) in dealing with allegations. 
  10. Publication Ethics: A journal shall also have policies on publishing ethics. These should be clearly visible on its website, and should refer to: i) Journal policies on authorship and contributorship; ii) How the journal will handle complaints and appeals; iii) Journal policies on conflicts of interest / competing interests; iv) Journal policies on data sharing and reproducibility; v) Journal’s policy on ethical oversight; vi) Journal’s policy on intellectual property; and vii) Journal’s options for post-publication discussions and corrections. 
  11. Publishing schedule: The periodicity at which a journal publishes shall be clearly indicated. 
  12. Access: The way(s) in which the journal and individual articles are available to readers and whether there are associated subscription or pay per view fees shall be stated. 
  13. Archiving: A journal’s plan for electronic backup and preservation of access to the journal content (for example, access to main articles via CLOCKSS or PubMed Central) in the event a journal is no longer published shall be clearly indicated. 
  14. Revenue sources: Business models or revenue sources (e.g., author fees, subscriptions, advertising, reprints, institutional support, and organizational support) shall be clearly stated or otherwise evident on the journal’s website. Publishing fees or waiver status should not influence editorial decision making. 
  15. Advertising: Journals shall state their advertising policy if relevant, including what types of adverts will be considered, who makes decisions regarding accepting adverts and whether they are linked to content or reader behaviour (online only) or are displayed at random. Advertisements should not be related in any way to editorial decision making and shall be kept separate from the published content. 
  16. Direct marketing: Any direct marketing activities, including solicitation of manuscripts that are conducted on behalf of the journal, shall be appropriate, well targeted, and unobtrusive.  Information provided about the publisher or journal is expected to be truthful and not misleading for readers or authors.

In the event that a member organization is found to have violated these best practices, or other specific requirements of the organization, OASPA/DOAJ/COPE/WAME shall in the first instance try to work with them in order to address any concerns that have been raised. In the event that the member organization is unable or unwilling to address these concerns, their membership in the organization may be suspended or terminated. All of the member organizations have procedures for dealing with concerns raised about member journals.

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About the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE, https://publicationethics.org/)

COPE provides advice to editors and publishers on all aspects of publication ethics and, in particular, how to handle cases of research and publication misconduct. It also provides a forum for its members to discuss individual cases. COPE does not investigate individual cases but encourages editors to ensure that cases are investigated by the appropriate authorities (usually a research institution or employer). All COPE members are expected to apply COPE principles of publication ethics outlined in the core practices.

About the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ, https://doaj.org)

The mission of the DOAJ is to curate, maintain and develop a source of reliable information about open access scholarly journals on the web; to verify that entries on the list comply with reasonable standards; to increase the visibility, dissemination, discoverability and attraction of open access journals; to enable scholars, libraries, universities, research funders and other stakeholders to benefit from the information and services provided; to facilitate the integration of open access journals into library and aggregator services; to assist, where possible, publishers and their journals to meet reasonable digital publishing standards; and to thereby support the transition of the system of scholarly communication and publishing into a model that serves science, higher education, industry, innovation, societies and the people. Through this work, DOAJ will cooperate and collaborate with all interested parties working toward these objectives.

About the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA, https://oaspa.org/)

OASPA is a trade association that was established in 2008 in order to represent the interests of Open Access (OA) publishers globally across all disciplines. By encouraging collaboration in developing appropriate business models, tools and standards to support OA publishing, OASPA aims to help ensure a prosperous and sustainable future for the benefit of its members and the scholarly communities they serve. This mission is carried out through exchanging information, setting standards, advancing models, advocacy, education, and the promotion of innovation.  

About the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME, http://www.wame.org)

WAME is a global nonprofit voluntary association of editors of peer-reviewed medical journals who seek to foster cooperation and communication among editors; improve editorial standards; promote professionalism in medical editing through education, self-criticism, and self-regulation; and encourage research on the principles and practice of medical editing. WAME develops policies and recommendations of best practices for medical journal editors and has a syllabus for editors that members are encouraged to follow.

Open Access Asia

This is a guest post by Vrushali Dandawate (@vrushalisainath), DOAJ Ambassador, India.

“Open Access means 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.” (BOAI, 2002)

Open Access is playing an important role in developing countries to give equal opportunities for access to necessary E-resources. Open Access has rapidly gained popularity in Europe and the USA, but by comparison its growth in Asia has been very slow.

The situation in Asia is explored in a report published by Asia OA, a forum hosted by the Confederation of Open Access Repositories (COAR). This report analysed the status of Open Access publishing in sixteen countries in Asia. The major finding was that all countries studied are already adopting Open Access policies, but that they lack the organised efforts and support to make Open Access successful in each country.

As an ambassador of DOAJ in India, and living in the Asian continent, I have decided to do research on Open Access development in Asia. Just a simple Google search (country name + open access) gave me the following indication about the state of Open Access in each country.

List of Asian countries* and whether or not they have an Open access policy, open access journals and open data

Afghanistan – Yes
Armenia – Yes
Azerbaijan – Yes
Bahrain – Yes
Bangladesh – Yes
Bhutan – Yes
Brunei – Yes
Cambodia – Yes
China – Yes
Cyprus – Yes
Georgia – Yes
India – Yes
Indonesia – Yes
Iran – Yes
Iraq – Yes
Israel – Yes, less information found
Japan – Yes
Jordan – Yes
Kazakhstan – Yes
Kuwait – Yes
Kyrgyzstan – Yes
Laos – Yes, less information found
Lebanon – Yes
Malaysia – Yes
Maldivesv Yes
Mongolia – Yes
Myanmar (Burma) – Yes
Nepal – Yes
North Korea – Information not found
Oman – Yes
Pakistan – Yes
Palestine – Yes
Philippines – Information not found
Qatar – Yes
Russia – Yes
Saudi Arabia – Yes
Singapore – Yes
South Korea – Yes
Sri Lanka – Yes
Syria – Yes, less information found
Taiwan – Yes
Tajikistan – Information not found
Thailand – Yes
Timor-Leste – Information not found
Turkey – Yes
Turkmenistan – Less information found
United Arab Emirates (UAE) – Yes
Uzbekistan – Yes
Vietnam – Yes
Yemen – Yes

The development of Open Access in Asia will be explored as a research project. “Open Access Asia”, born at OpenCon 2017, is a community of Open Access advocates in the region. The main objectives of the Open Access Asia project are:

  1. To make an open platform for all OA Advocates in Asia.
  2. To hold workshops/conferences/seminars in all Asian countries in rotation, helping effect culture change across institutions.
  3. Network sharing for OA Advocates in all Asian countries through bulletins and write-ups.
  4. A platform for advocating Open Access and sharing success stories of the OA movement in the world and in Asia.
  5. To invite everyone who is involved and interested in the OA movement to discuss and raise issues related to Open Access in general and specific to Asia.
  6. Collaborate with Open Access Network and leverage with other such networks for information exchange.
  7. That Open Access will influence policy makers, research workers, researchers, scholarly societies for their research and move institutions towards adopting open access policy across Asia.

To encourage more involvement of people from Asian countries with the Open Asia Project, a social media platform has been created:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1166441533488173/
Twitter: @Open_Asia_Org

With this blog post I invite all interested people to join Open Access Asia and help to promote Open Access more collaboratively in the Asian region and worldwide.

*Country list taken from https://www.countries-ofthe-world.com/countries-of-asia.html.

The SCOSS initiative: DOAJ receives first funding, from the University of Alberta Libraries.

As reported in November, a coalition has been formed called SCOSS which is running a pilot project aimed at generating a sustaining model of funding for DOAJ and SHERPA/RoMEO.

scoss-1The iniative sets out to attract funding from around the world and it is with great delight that DOAJ can announce it has now received its first funding via this model.

 

ua-lib-colourThe University of Alberta Libraries group was the first to respond to the call for funding and by doing so has made a clear commitment, not only to the sustainability and development of DOAJ, but to the sustainability and success of open access. Denise Koufogiannakis, Associate University Librarian at University of Alberta, said:

“The University of Alberta Libraries (UAL) is committed to building open infrastructure for scholarly communication and is pleased to support DOAJ and SHERPA/RoMEO via the SCOSS funding initiative. Both these services are essential to the success of UAL’s open access initiatives, including our digital repository and our journal hosting and publishing service. They are a vital part of enabling UAL to provide quality open scholarship services that reflect the University of Alberta’s commitment to ‘uplift the whole people’. ”

DOAJ is hopeful that the commitment of UAL is the first of many such actions and is looking forward to hearing from the many other institutions that have been approached under this new model.

 

 

Publishers Report: 2017 in Summary

As a publisher who supports DOAJ, either as a member or as a sponsor, you are part of a growing global network of publishers who have unequivocally stated a firm commitment to support open access through DOAJ’s work. On behalf of the entire DOAJ Team and supporters of open access the world over, I would like to thank you for your continued support. Your contributions are always spent directly on improving DOAJ’s infrastructure; maintaining high levels of recency and accuracy of the DOAJ metadata; and increasing the awareness of issues surrounding open access. The team at DOAJ ensures that all of this happens in a way that keeps DOAJ relevant around the globe, and not just in the Global North.

This report briefly covers our main achievements in 2017, as well as developments for the year ahead. If you have any questions on its content, or would like to know more, then drop me an email: dom@doaj.org.

With very best wishes for the new year ahead,

Dom Mitchell
Operations Manager


What We Achieved in 2017

2017 saw the end of the Reapplications project and the extension of our Ambassador program. We made improvements to our workflow to reduce our turnaround times on new applications and we launched our education and outreach program. Finally, we carried out a series of small projects to internationalise DOAJ as much as possible.

The reapplication project and updates to journals

All publishers were asked to submit new applications for all of the journals which were already included in DOAJ. 6359 reapplications were sent to us. Of those, 4031 were accepted as meeting the high standards required to be indexed in the Directory. This also means that, for the first time since launch in 2003, more than 99% of all the journal information in DOAJ is less than two years old. For those journals which didn’t make the grade, DOAJ offered feedback on how to improve the journal’s practices and, unless otherwise stated, those journals may send in new applications 6 months after the last decision from us, provided that they can show that they have implemented the changes recommended to them.

Also, our predictions at the start of the project came true and we never heard from 2860 journals; they all failed to resubmit reapplications to us. After repeated reminders, these journals were removed from the Directory which meant that, in total, the reapplication project resulted in a 40% cull of titles from DOAJ.

One of the inherent problems with the reapplications project, which we identified at the start, was that DOAJ relies heavily on journal representatives (publishers, journal owners, editors) to keep the information in the Directory up to date, including cotact details. Currently, a journal representative must contact the DOAJ Team with any updates to the journal information which are then verified and applied on behalf of the publisher. This means that, more often than not, journal information is never updated. To combat this, DOAJ reviews journal information regularly but to make this whole process easier, we will be launching a new system which will enable journal representatives to update information themselves. Submitted updates will be reviewed by the DOAJ Team before being published immediately to the site.

Extension of the Ambassador program, education and outreach

The Ambassador program, launched in 2016 and financed by the IDRC, was a huge success, so much so that we received further funding to extend the program into 2017. The DOAJ Ambassadors were able to continue their excellent work in their home territories. It also meant that, in those countries where we suffered a heavy loss of titles after the Reapplication Project, DOAJ was able to target efforts and encourage new applications from many of the local open access journals. This most recently happened in Korea, Japan and Indonesia and further countries are planned for 2018. We extended the Editor-in-Chief’s role to concentrate specifically on Education and Outreach and in 2018, we will be launching a series of training videos, specifically aimed at improving the quality of applications sent to us. More on that below.

Improved workflow and reduced turnaround times

Something that we hear a lot at DOAJ is that our turnaround times for processing new applications are too long. In 2017, this was certainly due to the number of reapplications which we had to process but, unfortunately, we have always had lengthy processing times. In the hope that this will encourage more applications from titles not yet in DOAJ, we took steps to correct this and reduce the time to first decision.

Never before has DOAJ been in a position where it has had so many people working for it and processing applications for us. We created a new role, Senior Managing Editor, whose is specifically tasked with monitoring throughput; we expanded our Triage role which, essentially, removes all of the rubbish applications from the queues, allowing the editorial team to focus on those applications which matter; we identified and pooled our most dedicated volunteers to give greater processing power; we have started a system whereby applications can be allocated directly to a reviewer rather than sitting in a holding pattern awaiting assignment; we re-focused our editorial team and allocated resource to those countries submitting the most applications to us; we introduced a reporting system which allows us to track applications and alerts us when the workflow slows for whatever reason.

All of these changes combined will see a greater throughput of new applications in 2018.

Internationalisation of DOAJ

Despite our aim to be as global as possible, much of what we write is in English, or is generated from our offices across Europe. DOAJ aims to be as global as possible and be as relevant as possible to all parts of the world. In 2017, we extended the range of our translated materials, hoping to encourage more interaction and participation from all around the world. We also invited guest blog posts from our Ambassadors, a series which focussed on how open access works and some of the issues facing open access in different parts of the world.

 

Coming Down The Pipe in 2018

Our three focus areas for 2018 are:

  1. Sustainability
  2. Scalability and stability
  3. Education and outreach

Sustainability

We have partnered with agents working in Europe who are approaching institutions on our behalf to secure more funding. DOAJ is also one of the beneficiaries of the SCOSS pilot which launched late 2017 with an aim to establishing a sustainable funding model for DOAJ and SHERPA/RoMEO. As our operations grow, we require more funding and so we need to fund DOAJ in a more sustainable way than the hand-to-mouth model we survive on currently.

Also, more attention is being paid, both by potential funders as well as the community, to what DOAJ is, how we are set up and how we operate. People are looking to us for more transparency and structure in our business model and our processes, and as a community-driven organisation, our supporters are expecting to have more of an influence in DOAJ’s direction. We will be formalising a new governance model in early 2018 to meet these demands.

Scalability and stability

With our technical partners, Cottage Labs, we are about to start a huge infrastructure project which will completely rebuild the underlying platform, making it more stable and easier to develop in the future. Traffic to DOAJ has more than doubled over the last 3 years and we must ensure that the platform remains fit for purpose for the next 5 years at least, particularly as traffic will increase even more as we add new metadata and new ways to connect to the site to harvest it.

Over the latter half of 2017, we saw spikes in usage from crawlers, usage through our API and had to throttle some of these to make sure that users on the site were able to use the site normally. We want to expand and stabilise the platform so that we can accommodate all traffic sources without any adverse effects.

Education and outreach

As mentioned above, DOAJ will be launching a series of training videos, to encourage better quality applications. We are currently putting together the first one which will be an introduction to DOAJ. We will then publish a series of videos, aimed at editors, publishers and researchers, to help simplify some of the more obscure aspects of open access publishing. One such area will be copyright retention versus [Creative Commons] licensing.

Our Editor-in-Chief will continue to target areas of the world from which we receive few or low quality applications. DOAJ will firm up its presence in the open access arena both as an educator and an influencer. We also hope to increase the number of Social Science and Humanities journals in DOAJ.

Total financial support from libraries and library consortia in 2017, broken down by country.

Top 10 libraries screenshot

Top 10 Countries in terms of financial support received from libraries and library consortia in 2017

As we near the end of the year, it’s time to review our finances and start the annual process of sending out invoices for the coming year. Part of that work is to establish out how much support we received from our wonderful library and library consortia members in 2017. Attached here is a PDF detailing the total support, broken down by country:

Funding per country for 2017 (updated 3 Jan 2018) [PDF]

28 countries in total donated to DOAJ in 2017. The Top 5 countries (total GBP) are USA, Austria, United Kingdom, Norway and Sweden but if you consider the amount donated in relation to the size of the country, then Luxembourg, Austria and Norway are way ahead of the others.

We are extremely grateful to all of our members, many of them repeat supporters, who strongly and openly commit to open access by supporting DOAJ throughout 2017. Without them, DOAJ wouldn’t be able to continue the great work it is doing and wouldn’t be at the centre of open access like it is today.