Guest post: Creating value for peer review. Why not?

DOAJ has approximately 100 volunteers carrying out important reviewing work for it. These volunteers come from a variety of backgrounds within academia, journal publishing or from libraries. DOAJ relies on these volunteers to keep applications flowing through the system.

In the first of a new series, we are highlighting our volunteers’ skills and interests which are connected to scholarly publishing. This is a guest post by Alessandro Pierno, DOAJ Associate Editor and Head of the Editorial Board for ReviewerCredits.


image001  Creating value for peer review. Why not?

The peer review process is the cornerstone of scientific communication and should be considered as a key performance indicator (KPI) for scientists given the fact that, by its nature, the task demands time, knowledge and professionalism.

Still, lack of recognition for the peer reviewing work is an unsolved issue which certainly contributes to the shortage of scientists accepting the task. At the same time, with the growth of open access and the “pay to publish” model, journals need to prove the reliability and trustworthiness of their peer review process. It is clear that reviewers, journals and publishers would greatly benefit from an efficient system, rewarding reviewers and validating journals. These considerations triggered a growing interest with companies like ORCID and Publons which started offering authors the opportunity to add reviews that they had performed to their scientific profile. Going one step further, we think that adding a tangible benefit to the peer reviewing work would represent the real game-changer in the field. 

The ReviewerCredits solution

ReviewerCredits.com (RC) keeps a verified history of all reviews performed by each registered reviewer, and – for each verified review – assigns a number of credits, which can be used in a “virtual store” representing, for the first time ever, a tangible benefit. After completing the review of a scientific paper, reviewers log in to the portal and enter a completed review claim for any journal (whether registered with RC or not). RC verifies that the review has been performed by asking a confirmation from the journal’s editorial office. This step is critical in order to create a reliable and traceable history of activity performed. The review is added to the scientist’s personal account earning a variable number of “credits”.

reviewercredits

Furthermore, journals using PKP’s Open Journal Systems for article submission and review can now integrate a free plugin which allows a direct transfer of the claim to the RC platform.

Finally, RC has the ability to add to the author profile any talk delivered during scientific conferences, complementing the information available on the author.

What is unique in ReviewerCredits?

There are three major assets that make ReviewerCredits really unique: 

(a) all reviews claimed must be certified by the Journal Editor and so 100% of the data are double checked and there is no room for inaccuracy or improper claims; 

(b) performing reviews means accruing credits that can be exchanged for benefits across a number of journals and services; 

(c) conference talks can be added to the author profile.

What are the benefits?

The first advantage is that registered scientists will be able to record in one single place all their certified reviews, as well as conference activity. A PDF certificate can be downloaded at any time and will list all the activity performed in chronological order. Additionally, as RC assigns virtual credits, they can use their credits to access selected, discounted services, specifically tailored for authors.

Registered journals benefit from transparency and higher engagement from their reviewers. By rewarding reviewers on behalf of journals, RC creates value for the work they perform, thus helping to motivate them and contributing to reducing the burden on journal Editors. Journals can take an active part in the process supported by RC registering their journal and encouraging their peer reviewers to record their completed reviews.

RC provides a valuable qualifier for a journal by documenting that proper peer review is performed before acceptance of manuscripts. This is particularly relevant at a time when the explosive growth of low quality or questionable journals (journals who accept any manuscript, independently of their quality, for a fee and  provide little or no peer review) is making journal selection very difficult for authors outside the top indexed journals. 

In RC the peer review activity performed by each journal is clearly visible to all and can be shared with a PDF certificate, listing all confirmed reviews performed on behalf of the journal. This is a huge asset for journals wanting to be transparent and it does not affect the confidentiality of review comments.

In conclusion, the topic of recognition of peer review has finally reached the spotlight due to the initiatives of Orcid, Publons and others recently highlighted by Peer Review Week. In this evolving scenario reviewercredits.com can contribute to creating real value for peer reviewers.

 

About ReviewerCredits
ReviewerCredits is a spin-off company endorsed by the University of Milan-Bicocca, launched in 2016. Its core business is the development, maintenance and upgrade of an online platform which has the purpose of certifying peer reviews and conference talks. ReviewerCredits is listed as an innovative startup company in the Italian company register. It was co-founded by two academic researchers, Giacomo Bellani, and Robert Fruscio with a growing team of experts in digital entrepreneurship and STM publishing (Veronica Mariani, Alessandro Pierno, Lucia Steele and Giulio Zuanetti).

Learn about DOAJ and Open Access Best Practices

We are very glad to announce the launch of a series of educational videos. This first playlist is an introductory course created by the DOAJ Team itself to assist publishers, librarians, researchers and authors understand those standards and what an entry in DOAJ means.

Our goal is to continue developing our YouTube channel in order to create a comprehensive educational programme. Stay tuned and let us know your preferred topics!

News: OASPA to require DOAJ listing for single-journal publishers

OASPA_Logo.jpgDOAJ and OASPA have worked together for many years now, with our Founder and Managing Director, Lars Bjørnshauge, serving as an OASPA board member for the past 5 years.

Publisher applications to OASPA have been rapidly increasing, in particular from those publishing just one journal. Given the many similarities in the indexing criteria between DOAJ and OASPA, we have agreed that all single-journal publishers that apply to OASPA will now be referred to DOAJ if the journal is not already listed in the DOAJ database.

Both organisations feel that this change is in the best interests of single-journal applicants because indexing by DOAJ is the most effective way for these journals to increase their visibility, and this is often their stated reason for applying to join OASPA.

Once a journal is indexed by DOAJ, applicants that still wish to join OASPA should get back in touch with them. However, publishers should note that OASPA have some specific requirements that differ from ours, particularly with respect to
licensing. Approval by DOAJ will not automatically mean acceptance by OASPA.

Following the implementation of this new policy and other membership criteria introduced last year, OASPA will be working with any of their existing members who don’t now meet their criteria to encourage improvements and apply to have their journals listed in DOAJ.

For more information, please see the announcement by OASPA.

 

 

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.

Policy updates: open access statement and user registration

Open Access Statement

Until recently, DOAJ has insisted that journals state very clearly on their web site a full and detailed open access statement, preferably one that follows closely the Budapest Open Access Initiative definition.

From 8th September, DOAJ will accept a short open access statement—even as short as ‘This journal is open access.’—but ONLY in combination with a Creative Commons licensing statement, or equivalent licensing statement, on the same page and, preferably, in the same paragraph. As always, this statement must be on the journal web site and not held on a different site. If the licensing statement is not on the same page as the open access statement then the extended open access statement complying with BOAI definition will be required.

User Registration

From August 2016, DOAJ no longer accepts journals that require users to register to view the full text. This change was put into effect immediately. As DOAJ reviews journals that are already in DOAJ, as part of their regular update work, they will remove those journals that require registration and notify the publishers.

If you have questions, send email to feedback@doaj.org

How to submit a complete and quality application. A Webinar on the DOAJ.

This invitation is for Scholarly Journal Editors/Publishers/Librarians/Other, in the southern and eastern African regions, to attend a webinar on the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ).
About DOAJ
The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) – launched in 2003 at Lund University, Sweden – is a centrally, publicly and internationally available community-curated list of high quality open access journal titles across all disciplines. It aims to be the starting point for all information searches for quality, peer-reviewed open access material.
About the webinar
The webinar will try to address the requirements a high quality, scholarly journal should adhere to, as well as the process involved to be acknowledged through being recorded in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ).
Date: Friday, 12 August 2016
Time: 09:00-10:00 SA Time (UCT + 02:00) (Time Zone Converter)
Venue: Virtual via your Chrome/Firefox Internet Browser. More details to follow once you have registered for the webinar.
Requirements: Stable Internet, most recent version of Chrome/Firefox Internet Browser, Sound
Costs: None
Please register by 10 August 2016, by completing the following online form: https://goo.gl/forms/TWcqh9KZHsjTDoZi1
We are looking very much forward to you joining us for this webinar, in trying to address quality in scholarly journal publishing in the southern African region.