The DOAJ Ambassadors’ biographies

As promised in my post presenting the 15 Ambassadors , here are their biographies.

Kamel Belhamel, Region: North Africa

kamelKamel holds a PhD from the University of Setif (Algeria) in Chemical Process Engineering. He is now Professor of Chemistry at University of Bejaia,  Director of the Laboratory of Organic Materials and Editor in chief of DOAJ-indexed Algerian Journal of Natural Products (ISSN: 2353-0391). He is the author of several publications and communications in the field of Chemical Process Engineering, Natural Products, Nanoparticles and Metal Alloys. Kamel has long, international experience in the management of Research Projects (Projects DAAD German, French Framework Programme CMEP…) and Coordinator of two Algerian Research projects CNEPRU, PNR …). Kamel is the DOAJ ambassador in region of North Africa.

Conflict of Interest Statement (2016)

 

Xin Bi, Region: China

xinbiXin holds a PhD degree in Psychology from Soochow University in China and also a Master’s Degree in Information Systems from Liverpool University in UK. He is the University Librarian in Xi’an Jiaotong – Liverpool University in Suzhou and in this capacity he is working with a wide network including librarians, publishers, professionals in China and overseas to better facilitate the scholarly communication and knowledge dissemination. He is one of three DOAJ ambassadors in China. Conflict of Interest Statement (2016)

Conflict of Interest Statement (2016)

 

Vrushali Dandawate, Region: India

vrushaliVrushali is Head Librarian at AISSMS College of Engineering College Pune, Maharashtra, India. She completed her Master’s from the University of Pune and has completed a Library Automation and Networking course from IGNOU Open University. She was selected for “International training program on Management of Electronics Information and Digital Library Lib@Web 2013” that ran from October 2013 – December 2013 at University of Antwerp, Belgium. In 2014, she received a grant from VLIR-OUS to attend “VLIR-UOS workshop ‘Training Information Literacy with Southern Partners’, coordinated by the University College Leuven-Limburg (UCLL). She is winner of ALCTS Online Course Grant for Library Professionals from Developing Countries for course Fundamentals Of Collection Development and Management (FCDM) March 2014. She is one of three DOAJ ambassadors in India.

Conflict of Interest Statement (2016)

Sridhar Gutam, Region: India

sridharSridhar holds a PhD in Plant Physiology from the Indian Agricultural Research Institute and is part of the Agricultural Research Service of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). Currently, he is working as Senior Scientist at ICAR Research Complex for the Eastern Region. Apart from his studies related to plant physiology and phenology of horticultural crops, he is passionate for Open Access, Open Data and Open Education. He founded a community of practice, ‘Open Access India’ and is advocating the opening-up of agricultural research information and data. He is one of three DOAJ ambassadors in India.

Conflict of Interest Statement (2016)

Mahmoud Khalifa, Region: Middle East & Persian Gulf

mahmoudMahmoud is the founder & CEO of Cybrarians, the Arabic Portal for Librarianship and Information. He is an Associate at IFLA International Leaders Programme, 2016 and since 2013 is a board member of the Egyptian Library Association. Also in 2013 he was the winner of the Scientific Research Academy’s prize in informatics. He holds a PhD in Information Science from Cairo University. He is an accredited trainer for the IFLA BSLA Program (Building Strong Library Association), as well as a Fellow at Jay Jordan IFLA/OCLC Early Career Development Fellowship Program. He is the editorial manager of Cybrarians Journal, the first electronic Arabic journal on librarianship & Information science. He is the DOAJ ambassador for the region of the Middle East and the Persian Gulf.

Conflict of Interest Statement (2016)

Ivonne Lujano, Region: Latin America

ivonneIvonne has a Master’s in Social Sciences with an emphasis in Education at FLACSO-Argentina and holds a B.A. in Education from the Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México (UAEMex), where she currently works as lecturer. She is specialized in scientific Open Access publishing processes and has experience in the evaluation of scholarly publishing practices. She has worked with institutions and organizations at a national and regional level in the training of students, teachers and researchers on issues regarding scientific publishing in Open Access. Ivonne is the DOAJ ambassador for the region of Latin America.

Conflict of Interest Statement (2016)

Solomon Mekonnen, Region: East Africa

solomonSolomon is Academic Staff, with rank of Lecturer, at the Addis Ababa University (AAU).  Apart from his role at AAU, he is also a Co-Founder of Code4Ethiopia which advocates for open data. In addition, Solomon coordinates nationally an Open Access Programme for the international network Electronic Information for Libraries (EIFL). He is a local organizer in Ethiopia for an international network called Open Knowledge International. Solomon was a project manager for Ethiopian Journals online. He is also a PHD candidate at the University of South Africa. Solomon is the DOAJ ambassador for the region of East Africa.

Conflict of Interest Statement (2016)

Leena Shah, Region: India

leenaLeena Shah holds a Master’s Degree in Information Studies from Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore and a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering. After living and working for nearly two decades in Singapore she relocated to Bangalore, India, in May 2016 and is keen on promoting Open Access in this region. She was previously employed as an Earth Sciences Librarian at NTU where she gained experience in teaching and promoting open access, institutional repositories and scholarly communication in general to researchers and students. Leena is one of three DOAJ ambassadors for India.

Conflict of Interest Statement (2016)

Cenyu Shen, Region: China

cenyuCenyu has a Master degree in Computer Science from University of Helsinki and she is currently a PhD candidate in Information Systems Science at Hanken School of Economics in Finland. She has spent several years on Open Access research with a particular focus on studying questionable and non-English language OA publishers or journals. Her latest research interest expands to the identification and development of infrastructure services and support practices to promote open access movement in Chinese region. Cenyu is one of three DOAJ ambassadors for China.

Conflict of Interest Statement (2016)

 

Ina Smith, Region: Southern Africa

inaIna holds a Master’s Degree from the University of Pretoria (South Africa) in Computer-Integrated Education, a Higher Education Teaching Diploma, and two degrees (BBibl and BBibl Honors) in Library and Information Science. She is Planning Manager at the Academy of Science of South Africa, and has vast experience of Open Access in general, scholarly research activities, repositories, and Open Access journal management and publishing. Ina is the DOAJ ambassador in the region of Southern Africa.

Conflict of Interest Statement (2016)

Pascal Soubeiga, Region: West Africa

pascalPascal is from Burkina Faso, West Africa. He has a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science from the library school of University Cheikh Anta Diop of Dakar, Senegal, and is preparing a dissertation for a Master’s degree in communication. He has worked for the past 11 years as a librarian for the World Health Organization in Burkina Faso, as well as teaching in three library and information colleges there. He has solid experience in information retrieval, user training, and institutional repositories. Pascal is the DOAJ ambassador  for West Africa.

Conflict of Interest Statement (2016)

Yanhong Zhai, Region: China

yanhongYanhong holds a Master’s degree in Botany from Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences. From August 2012 to April 2015, she worked for MDPI (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, an Open Access publisher), managing the journal Environments and supporting International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. In the past year, she worked at Elsevier, managing special issues for journals in the field of multimedia and computer science. She is one of three DOAJ ambassadors in China.

Conflict of Interest Statement (2016)

The biographies of our fantastic team of volunteer Ambassadors for Russia will be posted here shortly.

Presenting the DOAJ Ambassadors

Further to our announcement of the start of our IDRC-funded project focussing on the improvement of open access journals in the global south, I am delighted to present to you the list of 15 DOAJ Ambassadors. These Ambassadors will be working on behalf of DOAJ until April 2017 and will be operating in 11 regions or sub-regions across the globe. DOAJ is very lucky to have such a great list of names: people who have a wide-ranging set of skills and will bring huge amounts of experience to the DOAJ organisation.

After two members of DOAJ were invited recently to present at the NEICON/ASEP conference in Russia, we are very lucky to be able to extend the program’s work to the Russian Federation.  Three volunteers, led by Olga Kirillova, have also joined the list of DOAJ Ambassadors, extending the work of the program outlined to IDRC but on a self-funded basis. This is a hugely beneficial development for open access and DOAJ.

The final list of DOAJ Ambassadors are:

Region Name Based in
Southern Africa Ina Smith South Africa
East Africa Solomon Mekonnen Ethiopia
West Africa Pascal Soubeiga Burkina Faso
North Africa Kamel Belhamel Algeria
China Yanhong Zhai China
China Cenyu Shen Finland
China Xin Bi China
Middle East & Persian Gulf Mahmoud Khalifa Egypt
East India Sridhar Gutam India
West India Vrushali Dandawate India
South India Leena Shah India
Latin America Ivonne Lujano Mexico
Russian Federation Olga Kirillova Russia
Russian Federation (West) Maxim Mitrofanov Russia
Russian Federation (East) Natalia Popova Russia

Welcome to all of you!

The biographies for the DOAJ Ambassadors are posted here.

The majority of the Ambassadors will be converging on the island of Crete, in the beautiful village of Vamos, for an intensive 4-day training retreat starting next week. The outcome of that meeting will be an initial 2-month action plan for each Ambassador to implement as soon as s/he is back on home turf. That plan will then inform the actions for the rest of the year. It is really exciting that developments will start to take shape so soon after the retreat.

Each region will present its own challenges to the Ambassadors and to DOAJ but there will be exciting milestones to reach. For example, can DOAJ gain an online presence in China via the huge social media networks there? Will we see an increase in quality journal applications from India, a country sadly linked to questionable publishing practices and author spamming? Will we see an increase in the number of applications from East and West Africa, two regions of the continent that are sadly under-represented in DOAJ today? In Latin America, where a relatively large number of journals are already indexed in DOAJ, will we be able to increase the number of journals from the smaller countries like Bolivia, Ecuador or Guatemala?

In all of the regions, language can be a barrier. Almost all of the DOAJ site is in English and we haven’t yet found a good-enough piece of software that will translate the most important parts of the site for us. We will be addressing that as part of the IDRC project but having our Ambassadors on the ground will be hugely influential in increasing awareness of the site and our criteria.

DOAJ will be reporting on the progress of our Ambassador program regularly and I hope to be able to share some exciting statistics with you soon.

Open Access Week 2015 and the DOAJ Volunteer Loyalty Program

What are you doing for Open Access Week 2015 (OAW 2015)? Perhaps you are holding a workshop at your university or giving a presentation in your library? OAW 2015 is the EIGHTH OAW and DOAJ stand firmly behind it.

To honour this year’s OAW, DOAJ is launching a volunteer loyalty program. You may have read about our wonderful volunteers that give a few hours of their time every week to review new journal applications. Our volunteers do fantastic work and are a talented and dedicated bunch. We decided that we should honour the fantastic work that they do with a series of rewards.

We will be awarding a certificate of loyalty and achievement* to volunteers for every 50 applications reviewed and completed. The more applications a volunteer reviews, the more certificates they get. We’re designing the certificate just now but I’ll post an example here as soon as I have one. [UPDATE 15th October: here are the certificates plus the link to the volunteers page!]

Editor's certificate

Sample image of editor’s certificate awarded for a year’s service to DOAJ.

Associate Editor's certificate

Sample image of associate editor’s certificate awarded for 25 applications completed.

We will also be listing all our working volunteers on our site.

We’re exploring the option of awarding Mozilla Open Badges so that a DOAJ volunteer can officially declare their work for DOAJ. we will host an annual virtual volunteer meeting to bring our volunteers together and give them the opportunity to network, exchange ideas or ask questions. Watch this space!

*Credit to Felipe G. Nievinski, one of our volunteers, for the original idea. Thanks Felipe!

Get involved and volunteer for DOAJ

We are always looking for ‪‎volunteers‬ to help us review the applications for journals wishing to be indexed in ‪‎DOAJ‬. We have well over 100 people, from all over the world, helping us already. It’s a growing and exciting network to be part of and the work being done directly contributes to the quality of peer-review, open access publishing. Are you interested in joining us?

How much work is it?
We ask our volunteers to give us 4 or 5 hours of their time per week but you are left to manage your own schedule.

Who should volunteer?
Anyone who has knowledge and enthusiasm for academic journals, scholarly publishing, ‪‎open access‬, electronic publishing, librarianship, digital preservation. We particularly welcome ‪librarians‬, information studies professionals and students, PhD students, researchers and people affiliated with research institutions. The important thing is that you understand some of the mechanics, principles and politics behind open access and scholarly publishing.

We are always looking for people who have an excellent grasp of English as a first, second or third language.

If you can speak the following languages, with English, we would love to hear from you:

‪‎Arabic (العربية)
Bulgarian‬ (български)
‪Chinese‬ (中文)
‪Czech‬ (česky)
‪Farsi‬ (فارسی)
‪French‬ (français)
German (deutsch)
‪Hungarian‬ (magyar)
‪Indonesian‬ (Indonesia)
‪Macedonian‬ (македонски)
‪Polish‬ (Polski)
‪Portuguese‬ (Português)
Romanian (român)
‪Russian‬ (Русский)
‪Serbo‬-Croatian
‪Slovak‬ (slovenský)
‪Slovenian‬ (slovensko)
‪Spanish‬ (Español)
‪Turkish‬ (Türkçe)

How do I apply?
If you have any questions, contact me here or email feedback@doaj.org

A few notes about our legacy data

We regularly receive notification that DOAJ data has been used for analysis; analysis done by publishers, librarians, students, technologists, bloggers and many others. That the data is central to so many studies continues to reinforce the importance of the DOAJ in the open access movement. We are confident that, once our current upgrade is complete, and when all the existing journals have been re-evaluated, DOAJ will provide data of an even higher quality that is incomparable to the “old” DOAJ; that is updated more frequently and of a previously unseen level of granularity. It will be a dataset monitored by a large, international network of Associate Editors and Editors, consistently checking and reviewing.

That the data is so regularly used places a responsibility at DOAJ’s door to ensure that the level of data quality is high. This is a responsibility that we take seriously and so I thought it worth clarifying a few points about the DOAJ data.

 

“This site is undergoing maintenance”

The data in the DOAJ database has been collected over a 10 year period and in those last 10 years, not only has the data been through several migrations and transformations but we have seen the size of DOAJ grow from 300 to just short of 10 000 journals. That rate of growth is increasing year on year. This means that we have a large amount of legacy data.

In 2013, we announced that, in response to the changing nature of open access, we would change significantly the inclusion criteria for journals to be listed in the DOAJ, developing our back-end systems accordingly to match the dramatic increase in the resulting workload.  The Community was involved as we sought opinion on the changes we should make. The changes needed amounted to a huge piece of development which required certain activities to be put on hold. Additionally, DOAJ migrated platform in December 2013 so the routine activities of adding journals, removing journals and adding article metadata had to be placed on hold. (Adding new journals was eventually on hold for just over 4 months; removing journals for just under 3.) It wasn’t without a good reason though. DOAJ was migrated to an open source, standards based stable database, hosted by our technical partners Cottage Labs. This also necessitated a substantial clean up of the legacy data.

The result of such a huge project meant that the usual level of data maintenance by our Editorial Team decreased. It didn’t stop – during the first quarter of 2014, 92 journals were earmarked for removal – but for a few months, the public view of DOAJ remained relatively static because the usual weeding and refining was on hold for a few months. There are still areas of the DOAJ data that we know needs to be reviewed and corrected.

Previously, not all information was compulsory

A publisher applying for a journal to be included in the old DOAJ was only required to provide 6 initial pieces of information. Once accepted, the publisher was encouraged to return to the site to provide further information about the journal. One such piece of information was the author processing charge (APC). This is clearly an important piece of information that authors, in particular, like to know up front. Therefore we took the opportunity, when we were designing the new application form, to raise the visibility of this information, require it on application and make it a compulsory question. Naturally, this means that our legacy data has holes in it which need to be filled. All the new journals applying for inclusion after March 19th 2014 have already answered this question. Once we start the re-application process, the ~9700 existing journals in DOAJ will have to answer this question. This process is scheduled to begin in the 3rd quarter of 2014.

All DOAJ data is publisher-provided

While we can force an answer to a question in a web form, we cannot force someone to return to DOAJ and update their information. Of course, information changes over time and often we find that publishers have forgotten to update us. Our system of regular review – our aim is that every journal be reviewed at least once a year – hopes to catch these changes and correct them as quickly as possible. Our new network of Associate Editors will do this more efficiently and pro-actively than ever before but we still encourage the community to get in touch when it spots things that seem to differ. The community can play an important role as our eyes and ears and we encourage that.

 

We first announced the start of our transition period back in October 2013. Since then we have been very open, not only about our progress and development plans but also about the effects that the work would have on the DOAJ itself. Hopefully, with this post I have given you a little more detail as to why there may be inaccuracies in the DOAJ, what we have done to address those and what we will continue to do as our database develops.

We appreciate the patience and support from the community! As always, do please get in touch should you have questions or comments.