Here is why you should apply for your open access journal to be indexed in DOAJ.

At DOAJ, we index and promote the value of quality, peer-reviewed open access journals. By reviewing journals according to a set of criteria, and helping journals to meet those criteria, we set the international standard for open access. The data that we collect is incorporated into discovery systems all over the world.

The steady growth of DOAJ reflects the global growth of open access, where open access becomes the default, sustainable model for scholarly publishing.

So why should you apply for your journal to be indexed in DOAJ?

Inclusion in the world’s most important open access service
We are the most important community-driven, open access service in the world. We index 15,000 open access journals from 133 countries, in 77 languages, and cover 300 subject areas. All journal applications are reviewed by our team of staff and volunteer editors to ensure they meet a set of quality standards.

By indexing your journal with us, we can help you to serve your audience better. Authors and librarians assisting researchers need to be able to find information about your journal quickly and easily. Our basic criteria are designed to help you display certain information on your website clearly and transparently.

And we do all of this for free. There is no charge to submit an application; there is no charge to have your journal reviewed; there is no charge to have your journal and article metadata indexed.

We will help you adopt a range of ethical and quality standards, making your journals more attractive publishing channels. These standards operate as indicators to your users that your journal is serious in its mission.

We tackle the problems of unethical practice head-on by using an expert team of reviewers. We are fully engaged and committed to combatting questionable publishers and questionable publishing practices, helping to protect researchers from becoming trapped by these journals.

International support
We operate globally via a network of Ambassadors and volunteers, and we try to offer local support in your language whenever possible. It also means that we, as an organisation, have greater insight into how scholarly publishing works where you live. This allows us to be aware of the challenges and opportunities offered by the generation of scholarly knowledge around the world.

If your journal is accepted for indexing with us,  information about it and any article abstracts that you load to us will be incorporated into discovery services (see below) all over the world. This increases traffic to your website and therefore the visibility of your published content. Levels of traffic to a journal website typically increase threefold after inclusion in our index. Your journal website’s indexing in search engines, such as Google, will also improve.

Metadata reuse
Our metadata is free for anyone to use and re-use which means it is pulled into search engines and discovery services. We know that the following services take our metadata:

Web of Science
Google Scholar
… and many more!
We also know that academic libraries and research institutions use our metadata. 75% of all the traffic to our website is referred, showing that many systems link to us. Usage is also generated by the use of our widgets, RSS feeds, API and other services.

Access to funding
Open access publication funds often require authors to publish in journals that are indexed with us. For example in Poland, researchers will not receive funding from the National Science Agency (NCN) if they don’t publish articles in journals indexed in DOAJ.

Compliance with publishing initiatives
Certification in DOAJ makes your journal compliant with regional and local initiatives such as Plan S for Europe, or Capes/Qualis in Brazil.

DOAJ’s Basic criteria – updated and rewritten in plain English

We are rewriting our website in plain English so that it is easy for our users, especially publishers, to understand what is required for a good quality and complete application.

These are first steps to us:

  1. becoming even more open and transparent;
  2. offering a greatly improved user experience for a new application form
  3. starting a localisation project to offer elements of the website in languages other than English.

Today the basic criteria are mixed with the advanced criteria on a very wordy page and in our application form. It is hard to tell which is which. The advanced criteria are only required for a journal wishing to get the DOAJ Seal.

This leads many to believe that a journal has to have the Seal to be indexed in DOAJ. This is not true.

So here are our basic criteria – rewritten, updated and offered in simple, clear language. These will soon be available on our website as part of our new ‘Guide to applying’.

Let us know what you think.

The type of journal that can apply

Open access journals published in any language may apply.

  • The journal must be actively publishing scholarly research
    • All research subject areas are accepted
    • Should publish at least 5 research articles per year 
  • The primary target audience should be researchers or practitioners

The type of open access

  • DOAJ only accepts open access journals. 
  • We define these as journals where the copyright holder of a scholarly work grants usage rights to others using an open license (Creative Commons or equivalent) allowing for immediate free access to the work and permitting any user to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose.
  • The journal must display an open access statement indicating that it fulfils the DOAJ definition of open access.
  • The full text of all content must be available for free and open access without delay
    • No embargo period
    • Requiring users to register to read content is not accepted
    • A charge for the print version of a journal is permitted

The journal website

  • The journal must have its own dedicated URL and homepage that is accessible from any location
  • The website must be clear and easy to navigate
  • The journal  should adhere to the guidelines described in the Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing
  • Each article must be available as an individual, full-text article
    • one unique URL per article
    • HTML or PDF, as a minimum

The following information must be available online, and easily accessible from the journal homepage: 

  • Open access policy
  • Aims and scope
  • Editorial board (including institutional affiliations of all members)
  • Instructions for authors
  • Editorial process (peer review)
  • Licensing terms
  • Copyright terms
  • Author charges
    • If a journal doesn’t have any charges then this must be stated
    • Must include all fees that may be charged to the author, from submission to publication, including:
      • submission fees
      • editorial processing charges
      • article processing charges (APCs)
      • page charges
      • colour charges
  • Contact details
    • The contact details must include a real name and the journal’s dedicated email address
    • The country in the application and on the journal website must be the country where the publisher is registered and carries out its business activities


  • A journal must have at least one ISSN (International Standard Serial Number) which is registered and confirmed at
  • The ISSN(s) must be displayed on the website.
  • The name of the journal in the application and on the website must match what is shown at

Editorial process

  • A journal must have an editor and an editorial board. 
    • The editorial board must be listed on the website.
    • The name and affiliation of all editors and board members must be included.
    • If the journal is run by a student body, it must have an advisory board of which at least two members have a PhD or equivalent.
  • All articles must pass through a quality control system (peer review) before publication.
    • The type and details of the peer review process must be stated clearly on the website.


  • The licensing terms for use and re-use of the published content must be clearly stated on the website.
  • DOAJ recommends the use of Creative Commons licenses for this purpose. 
  • If Creative Commons licensing is not used, similar terms and conditions should be applied.
    • Extra care must be taken to state these terms clearly. 


  • The copyright terms applied to the published content must be clearly stated and separate from the copyright terms applied to the website.
  • Copyright terms must not contradict the licensing terms or the terms of the open access policy.
    • “All rights reserved” is never appropriate for open access content.


Applications that contain information that is inaccurate or wrong, or that have answers missing, are automatically rejected.

Journals that are rejected must wait 6 months from the date of rejection before applying again unless otherwise advised by DOAJ.