When we reject an application, the rejection email contains details about why the application was not successful and usually tells applicants that they must wait 6 months before submitting another application for the same journal to us. Why do we do this?
One reason is that it is an attempt to discourage repeat applications, made in haste, and we get many, many of those. Repeat and duplicate applications clog up the system and take our dedicated volunteers and team away from those applications which need some time spent on them. (In 10 months alone, DOAJ received 221 duplicate applications!)
The other reason is that many of the recommendations that we make in our rejection emails, recommendations made to help journals meet our criteria, take time to implement. Adding words to a website isn’t enough. Changes need to be implemented properly, communicated to stakeholders, tested, and managed. Some changes will require other parties to implement changes too. This all takes time. After the 6 months has passed, we welcome a new application but we ask that the journal website demonstrates very clearly that our recommendations have been put into practice and our editorial team will be very careful to check that all our recommendations have been implemented.
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).
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
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.
UPDATE (11th May): the list of removed journals is here on the 3rd tab.
Today DOAJ will remove approximately 3300 journals for failure to submit a valid reapplication before the communicated deadline; a deadline which was extended twice to allow more time for reapplications. This batch removal is another step in DOAJ’s two year long project to increase the value and accuracy of the information provided in it.
Here are some details about the reapplication project from its launch in January 2015 to today:
- The reapplication process is a necessary step towards ensuring that all journals in DOAJ (of which there were about 10000) met the higher criteria for indexing that DOAJ launched in March 2014. The criteria were produced as a response to the maturing open access arena, the greater demands made on open access publishing by questionable journals and publishers, and to retain DOAJ’s relevancy and importance in open access publishing.
- Some journals have been in DOAJ since 2003 and have never refreshed their information with us.
- As of today over 5000 journals have already submitted their reapplication to us and we are busy assessing those. Many reapplications have been accepted back into DOAJ.
- The contact for every journal to be removed from DOAJ was emailed at least 4 times, informing them of our intention to remove their journals if they failed to submit a reapplication by the agreed deadline.
- We send email via Mailchimp and took all the necessary precautions to ensure that our emails didn’t end up in Spam, get trapped in institutional firewalls, or failed to deliver for other reasons. We used the Mailchimp authentication options to “verify” that our emails were from a genuine source.
- The first email, announcing the reapplication project and inviting people to reapply, was sent out in January 2015 and went to publishers with 11 or more journals in DOAJ. The second email went out to publishers with 10 or less journals in DOAJ in June 2015.
- Reminders were sent out regularly, once a month as well as announcing the deadline to our largest communities: via this blog, Twitter and Facebook.
- To ensure that our emails ended up with the correct contact, we spent a considerable amount of time tidying up our contacts database: we updated at least 1000 records.
Removed journals are welcome to submit a new application to DOAJ at any time. They will be placed in the queue along with other applications. We will add a third tab to our spreadsheet ‘DOAJ: journals added and removed‘ that will list all of the journals removed.
When a journal is removed from DOAJ, any article metadata will also become unavailable. This is standard functionality. We are confident that the majority of the journals removed have never supplied article metadata to us, or have done once but haven’t sent us anything for at least 2 years.
If you use DOAJ as a data source and would like to do your own analysis of the journals indexed, download our journals CSV (https://doaj.org/csv) today before 11am BST, 12pm CEST. A copy of that spreadsheet is also available here.
We have just published an article in the open access journal ScienceOpen Research, giving an overview of the history and current status of the DOAJ. Please read and share the article! We would welcome your participation in the post-publication peer review of this article and/or any comments.
Criteria for open access and publishing
Authors: Tom Olijhoek, Dominic Mitchell and Lars Bjornshauge
After a brief historical overview, DOAJ policies regarding open access, intellectual property rights and questionable publishers are explained in detail. The larger part of the article is a much requested explanation on how DOAJ uses its new set of criteria for the evaluation of open access journals and the rationale behind choosing the seven extra criteria that qualify for the DOAJ Seal. A final section is devoted to the extended possibilities that DOAJ offers to scholars and publishers for searching the database and for uploading metadata.
Research4Life and DOAJ announce a working partnership that will help to ensure that the users of Research4Life will have access to the largest possible array of open access journals from publishers following a quality standard. The partnership will also help reinforce the importance of peer reviewed open access material. The partnership reinforces the work that both organisations are already doing, and creates useful new synergies.
Research4Life is the collective name for the four programmes – HINARI, AGORA, OARE and ARDI – that provides low- and middle-income countries with free or low cost access to academic and professional peer-reviewed content online. For some time now the content team at Reasearch4Life, coordinated by Kimberly Parker of the World Health Organization, has seen an increasing amount of requests from open access publishers, particularly in the developing world, wanting to have their content included in the Research4Life programme portals which reach 8000 institutions spread over 100 low- and middle-income countries. The Research4Life team performs some basic checks on what content is included into its database and they are already sifting these applications to establish legitimate journals – work which has synergy with what DOAJ is doing in this area. Kimberly said: “We were already using DOAJ listings as a touchstone in assessing conformance with publishing standards; however, we hadn’t formalized the approach nor included in our replies to any publishers we turned away that they should review the DOAJ application requirements and work to fulfil them.”
The DOAJ Team is expert in assessing and identifying quality, genuine open access journals and has been reviewing applications from publishers for over 11 years, developing extensive criteria aimed at promoting best practice and transparency in academic publishing. Those criteria form the basis of the Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing, a joint statement first published in 2013 and now widely used as a benchmark for quality, peer reviewed publishing.
The partnership between Research4Life and DOAJ will be an exchange of information and services.
- From 1st December 2015, Research4Life will only include open access journals that are indexed in DOAJ. Journals requesting to be included in the Research4Life programmes must be indexed in DOAJ first. Over the coming year, the legacy open access journals in the Research4Life database will also be reviewed to confirm they are indexed by DOAJ.
- Research4Life and DOAJ will collaborate on communicating with publishers not indexed in DOAJ referring them to the DOAJ application form.
- Research4Life will include the DOAJ Best Practice statement in its Authorship Skills training module aimed at authors from the developing world.
Lars Bjørnshauge, Managing Director of DOAJ, said: “I am happy that DOAJ can partner with Research4Life in dealing with the problem of questionable publishers. We know that researchers from developing countries, under the pressure of the ‘publish or perish’ syndrome, are strongly encouraged to publish in “international journals” but this tradition, along with the selection bias of publishers based in Western Europe and North America, make it difficult for researchers from the developing world to be published in journals published in/out of Western Europe and North America. This has opened up a market for questionable and unethical publishers. Despite that the content provided by our two organizations is, to a large extent, based on different access and business models, I find it of utmost importance that all involved do everything possible to prevent researchers being caught and exploited by publishers, who are basically only providing invoices to the author, but no quality control and dissemination services”.
I need to clarify what being indexed in DOAJ means and how the Seal is related to that, and how the reapplication process works.
There is a common misunderstanding that only journals that get the Seal are “indexed in DOAJ”, that only Seal journals are quality, peer reviewed open access journals. This is incorrect. ALL journals in DOAJ have been approved as quality, peer reviewed open access journals. The whole DOAJ list is the approved, community-curated list of reputable journals!
- What ‘Indexed in DOAJ’ means
Being indexed in DOAJ means that a journal has passed up to 4 stages of independent and objective, manual review. It means that the journal has been investigated by our Editorial team who have researched whether or not the journal/publisher does what they claim to do on the journal site and in their (re)application to us. During the investigation, the DOAJ editors go through the pages on a journal’s site to make sure that all the information presented to a user is easy to find, clearly and accurately presented and easy to understand. The editorial board is investigated, and sometimes members of the board are contacted and their institutional connections verified, their work on the board is confirmed and which other boards that member sits on. Being indexed in DOAJ means that the journal adheres to high levels of quality of its publishing services and services to authors and users, including: peer review, licensing terms, a strong open access statement, a fully functional editorial board and more. Being indexed in DOAJ means that the journal is a good open access journal, a trusted open access journal.
- The reapplication process
DOAJ upgraded its requirements for journals to get into DOAJ. The upgrade, which covered all new applications, was made live in March 2014. This meant that there were about 9000 journals already in DOAJ—accepted into DOAJ between 2003 and 2013—that had been accepted under less stringent requirements. We require that every one of them upgrades their information with us. To make it easier for users to see which journals have been accepted under the new criteria we added a green tick next to them. Journals without a tick next to them still have to be reviewed against the new criteria. Note however that even journals that have no tick against them have been manually reviewed and accepted into DOAJ as being reputable.If a journal is in DOAJ, it is on the list of approved and reputable journals.
- The DOAJ Seal
The DOAJ Seal, think of it like this: journals that have the Seal are journals that adhere to outstanding best practice; journals that don’t have the Seal are good, trusted journals adhering to best practice. The Seal has been allocated to a handful of journals accepted into DOAJ since 2014. Journals that are awarded the Seal have answered ‘Yes’ to 7 questions that DOAJ has chosen specifically as indicators of an extra high and clear commitment to open access best practices, of extra high levels of commitment to publishing technologies, and the most ‘open’ form of open access. Importantly, the journals that DO NOT have the Seal still adhere to high levels of quality required for indexing in the DOAJ, especially those journals that have a green tick. No Seal DOES NOT mean low quality, non peer reviewed, questionable, ‘dodgy’, ‘scammy’.
I hope that this helps. DOAJ spends all of its time improving information on reliability, trustworthiness and accuracy. DOAJ also spends a lot of time ensuring that questionable journals do NOT get into the directory. DOAJ is already doing that work for you so that you can be exactly sure what levels of service you can expect when you choose a journal to submit to, to recommend to faculty, to read research in.
As ever, if you have any questions, leave a comment or get in touch!
The DOAJ Seal is now live. Although DOAJ has been indicating which journals get the Seal since March 2014, the Seal is now displayed alongside those journals that qualify. Look for this symbol:
We’ve also added a DOAJ Seal facet to the search so you can see all the Seal journals together.
Journals that adhere to an exceptionally high level of publishing standards and best practice are awarded the Seal as recognition of those efforts. The Seal is awarded to a journal that fulfills a set of criteria related to accessibility, openness, discoverability, reuse and author rights. It acts as a signal to readers and authors that the journal has generous use and reuse terms, author rights and adheres to the highest level of ‘openness’. The Seal has nothing to do with the scholarly quality of the material published in the journal.
To qualify for the Seal the journal must:
- have an archival and preservation arrangement in place with an external party such as CLOCKSS, LOCKSS, Portico;
- provide permanent identifiers in the published content such as DOIs;
- provide article level metadata to DOAJ;
- embed machine-readable CC licensing information in article level metadata;
- allow reuse and remixing of content in accordance with a CC BY, CC BY-SA or CC BY-NC license;
- have a deposit policy registered in a deposit policy directory such as SHERPA/RoMEO;
- allow the author to hold the copyright without restriction.
To date, 88 journals have qualified for the Seal and we hope to see that number increase steadily.