Dr Xenia van Edig, Business Development, answers our questions.
-Your organisation has been supporting DOAJ for a few years now. Why is it important for Digital Science to support DOAJ?
As an information hub for all those interested in high-quality peer-reviewed open-access journals, the DOAJ is an extremely important platform. It is independent and committed to high-quality and peer-reviewed open access in all fields of STEM and HSS. With the re-vetting of all its content in 2016 and with the introduction of the DOAJ seal, its mission to increase the visibility, accessibility, reputation, usage, and impact of open-access journals has become even more evident. For us as an exclusively open-access publisher, it is therefore only logical that we support DOAJ.
–What benefits does being indexed in DOAJ bring to your journals?
Indexing in DOAJ increases the visibility of our journals and demonstrates that our journals adhere to best practices in open-access publishing. Furthermore, many libraries and institutions understandably only provide financial support for article processing charges (APCs) for journals which are indexed in DOAJ and therefore receive an external quality seal.
-Do you think that the DOAJ has been and/or still is important for the development of Open Access publishing?
-What is Copernicus doing to support that development? Do you have any exciting projects underway?
Copernicus Publications has been an open-access publisher since 2001. In the past 18 years, we have helped many learned societies and academic institutions launch new open-access journals or transform their existing journals into open-access journals. In addition, we have been promoting open access in the peer-review process since 2001 by implementing the Interactive Public Peer Review, which is now applied by 20 of the 42 journals we publish. The current rise of preprint servers and the formation of initiatives promoting open peer review prove that this peer review model is still innovative.
These past years have focussed on making content accessible. The next ongoing challenge is to overcome the barriers regarding APC payments. We recently launched a national licence in Germany, with many universities and research centres participating. Together with our partners in libraries and funding bodies, we strive towards a seamless open-access experience for authors without worrying about APC payments.
-What are your personal views on the future of Open Access publishing?
I hope that further progress will be made in accelerating the transition towards a world where research outputs are publicly available and reusable. However, I fear that current major initiatives are focussing too much on the big legacy publishers – leaving out smaller publishers and those who are purely open access. While “read and publish” deals might be a step in transforming the publishing ecosystem, funders, consortia, and institutions should not forget about those who stood up for open access when the topic was not on “everyone’s lips”. Furthermore, even though many journals published by Copernicus are financed via article processing charges, APCs are not the only business model for open access.
-What do you think that the scholarly community could do to better support the continued development of the Open Access movement in the near future?
I think the current evaluation system for grants, tenure, etc., which still heavily relies on the journal impact factor, favours established journals and puts newer publication venues and innovative outlets at an unfair disadvantage. Of course there are many open-access journals with high impact factors, but there is a structural disadvantage since many open-access journals are newer.
In addition, faculty and students need to be more educated about open access. For many academics, their academic freedom to freely choose a journal for their articles seems to hinge on the fact that they do not want to deal with access and reuse rights. Many academics seem to think that everything is fine because they have access to the literature through the subscriptions of their institutions’ libraries. Furthermore, they do not have to deal with APCs when publishing in subscription journals. This means a lot of advocacy for open access is still needed.
-Much has been said recently about whether open access is succeeding or failing, particularly in terms of the original vision laid out by the Budapest Open Access Initiative in 2002. Do you think that open access has fallen short of this vision, or has it surpassed expectations?
Whether something is a good idea or not cannot be measured in number of articles or successful journal transformations. I think that most people involved in the open-access movement had hoped for a quicker transition. However, only because it has been slower than envisioned, the vision of BOAI – the public good of “the world-wide electronic distribution of the peer-reviewed journal literature and completely free and unrestricted access to it” – is still the goal to achieve. Around 17 years ago open access was not on the political agenda like it is today (e.g. Plan S). Therefore, I would say the movement has been successful.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 18th December 2018 DOAJ will implement a new governance model in 2019 which will see DOAJ financers having a role in the organisation’s Board and Council. All organisations funding DOAJ with €1500 or more will be eligible for nomination.
In January 2019 DOAJ will inaugurate a new governance model providing the structure and transparency that it needs to meet its strategic goals, and ensure the organisation is fit-for-purpose for at least the next 5 years.
Today, DOAJ is run by the DOAJ Team with help provided as and when we need it—and always willingly—by our Advisory Board. Over the last 5 years, DOAJ has grown in size and importance and has come to a point where the existing model is no longer fit for purpose. DOAJ needs to be more formally structured and transparent if it is to meet the needs of the academic community, as well as its funders and sponsors.
The model for DOAJ’s governance was first drafted in October 2017 and has been reviewed and updated after input from the current Advisory Board. When the SCOSS model for funding DOAJ and other services was announced at the end of 2017, we decided that it is only fitting that the donors get some input into how DOAJ is run. We are proposing an Advisory Board of a maximum of 9 seats, and a Council with a maximum of 15 seats. Their role is to provide expert advice to the DOAJ Team and help us meet our strategic goals. We are also establishing an editorial subcommittee to assist us with questions around editorial process and content quality.
An organisational chart, showing how the Board, Council and Subcommittee interact with each other and with the DOAJ Team will be published shortly.
All organisations and publishers donating €1500 or more to DOAJ every year are eligible for nominations and will be invited to submit candidates for election to the new Advisory Board and the Council. Specific invitations will be sent out early in the New Year.
Frédéric Villiéras, vice-provost for research at Université de Lorraine says: “We are delighted to strengthen our support to the DOAJ. This choice is in line with other financial supports towards open platforms that were decided earlier this year. We are fully committed to supporting open science infrastructures such as the DOAJ and we hope that other french research institutions and libraries will follow. “
El DOAJ recibe regularmente preguntas y, a veces, quejas de bibliotecas, consorcios de bibliotecas y otras instituciones académicas sobre el papel que desempeñan en el DOAJ las editoriales académicas tradicionales. Un error común es que el DOAJ es propiedad de estas organizaciones, o está totalmente subvencionado por ellas, y que el DOAJ sólo beneficia a estas organizaciones. Si usted mirara la página de inicio del DOAJ hace dos años, podríamos entender esta suposición: casi todos nuestros patrocinadores eran editoriales y estaban en nuestra página de inicio. Parecía que el DOAJ era propiedad de estas editoriales.
(Evitar esa idea errónea es también la razón por la cual el DOAJ es muy cuidadoso sobre con quién se asocia). Las organizaciones con las que nos asociamos deben compartir los mismos valores que el DOAJ, tener la misma visión y al menos tener la intención de proporcionar servicios a la comunidad. El DOAJ se enorgullece de asociarse con organizaciones como Redalyc, SciELO, ISSN y COPE.
La suposición de que el DOAJ es propiedad de las editoriales o está totalmente subvencionado por ellas es, por supuesto, incorrecta. Las editoriales desempeñan un importante papel financiero en el apoyo de los servicios que el DOAJ proporciona a todas las partes interesadas. Algunas editoriales nos donan un patrocinio anual; algunas de ellas son miembros de DOAJ como editorial. Estas contribuciones permiten al DOAJ proporcionar servicios continuos, y mejoras a estos servicios. En 2017, las contribuciones de las editoriales representaban el 40% de los ingresos, mientras que las contribuciones de las instituciones del sector público representaban el resto (60%). En 2018, los ingresos de las instituciones del sector público representarán el 70%. Todas las contribuciones al DOAJ son voluntarias; todos los servicios proporcionados por el DOAJ, incluyendo la evaluación de revistas, son gratuitos.
El DOAJ es útil para bibliotecarios, para editores, para investigadores, para estudiantes, para propietarios de revistas, para todos. Más del 50% de nuestro consejo asesor proviene de la comunidad de bibliotecas y consorcios. El DOAJ es global y no está atado a fronteras geográficas. Somos una organización virtual que emplea a personas de todo el mundo y que cuenta con nuestros propios embajadores que fomentan las mejores prácticas en sus territorios de origen. El DOAJ es 100% independiente. El DOAJ es 100% imparcial. La compañía holding del DOAJ, IS4OA C.I.C., está registrada de una manera que hace imposible que el DOAJ sea comprado, adquirido o vendido.
La imparcialidad juega un papel importante en el progreso que el DOAJ ha hecho en los últimos 5 años y el equipo del DOAJ trabaja duro para asegurar que la imparcialidad sea lo más importante en todo lo que hacemos. Esta es una de las razones por las que el DOAJ se adhiere y alienta a otros a adherirse a la transparencia y las buenas prácticas; mejores prácticas que se desarrollan, adoptan y reconocen a nivel internacional. También reconocemos que la aplicación de estas normas y el funcionamiento dentro de ellas puede ser un reto, por lo que tenemos que mantener cierta flexibilidad. Un buen ejemplo sería la concesión de licencias.
Ejemplo de información sobre licencias de una revista capturada en DOAJ.
A veces nos preguntan: ¿por qué el DOAJ acepta las licencias más restrictivas cuando la definción BOAI (definición a la que el DOAJ se adhiere como uno de sus principios) es muy clara sobre lo que significa “abierto”?
Cuando el DOAJ elaboró su formulario de solicitud ampliado en 2013, vimos muy claro que el DOAJ tenía que aceptar las 6 variaciones de las licencias CCBY, con sus distintos grados de apertura para asegurarnos que el mayor número posible de revistas pudieran solicitar el ingreso en el DOAJ. Al usuario típico del DOAJ se le deben presentar opciones y se le debe permitir tomar una decisión informada basada en la información que mostramos sobre las políticas de licencias y derechos de autor de una revista.
Sin embargo, el DOAJ considera el uso de las licencias CC, en particular el uso de las licencias más abiertas, como una de las mejores prácticas y las promueve como uno de los criterios para el Sello DOAJ.
DOAJ receives regularly questions and, sometimes, complaints from libraries, library consortia and other academic institutions about the role which publishers—by “publishers” I mean the traditional publishing organisations in academic publishing—play in DOAJ. A common misconception is that DOAJ is owned by, or wholly subsidised by these organisations and that DOAJ is only of benefit to these organisations. If you looked at the DOAJ homepage two years ago, you’d be forgiven for making that assumption: nearly all of our sponsors were publishing organisations and they were all on our homepage. It looked like DOAJ was owned by publishers.
(Avoiding that misconception is also why DOAJ is very careful about who it goes into partnership with. The organisations we partner with must share the same values as DOAJ, have the same vision and at least be intent on providing services to the community. DOAJ is proud to call organisations like Redalyc, SciELO, ISSN and COPE partners.)
The assumption that DOAJ is owned by, or wholly subsidised by publishers is of course incorrect. Publishers play an important financial role in supporting the services which DOAJ provides to all stakeholders. Some publishers donate an annual sponsorship to us; some of them are publisher members. These contributions enable DOAJ to provide continuous services, and improvements to these services, for everyone but any direct influence on DOAJ stops there. In 2017 contributions from publishers accounted for 40% of the income, whereas contributions from public sector institutions accounted for the rest (60%). In 2018 income from public sector institutions will account for 70%. All contributions to DOAJ are made voluntarily; all services provided by DOAJ, including the evaluation of journals, are free.
Impartiality plays a huge role in the progress that DOAJ has made over the last 5 years and the DOAJ Team works hard to ensure that impartiality is foremost in everything we do. This is one of the reasons that DOAJ adheres to, and encourages other to adhere to, transparency, best practice and standards; best practices and standards which are internationally grown, adopted and recognised. We also recognise that applying those standards and operating within them can be challenging so we have to retain a certain amount of flexibility. A good example here would be licensing.
Example of the licensing information captured by DOAJ about a journal’s policies.
People often ask: why does DOAJ accept some of the more closed licenses when the BOAI definition [that DOAJ follows as a principle] is clear about what open means? When DOAJ put together its extended application form in 2013, it was clear that DOAJ needed to allow 6 variations on the CC BY license, with varying degrees of openness, to ensure that as many titles as possible could apply to be indexed. The typical DOAJ user should be presented with options and they should be allowed to make an informed choice based on the information we display about a journal’s licensing and copyright policies. However, DOAJ considers the use of CC licenses, particularly use of the most open licenses, as Best Practice and we promote that as one of the criteria for the DOAJ Seal.
Last year, we launched our new sponsorship model. This was after feedback from existing sponsors that we needed to be clearer about the benefits and costs of sponsorship.
For 2019, after feedback from users, we will no longer be displaying sponsors on our homepage. This will help our homepage to render better on smaller screens.
DOAJ 2019 sponsorship costs and benefits
In 2019, a Gold sponsorship for commercial organisations is £15,000 and £7500 for non-commercial entities. A Silver sponsorship is £10,000, and £5000 respectively; a Bronze is £5000 and £2500 respectively. If you would like to know what the money is spent on, you can read this publishers report from 2017 (2018’s is coming soon) or this post about our new mission statement which covers the areas on which we are focussing. Alternatively you can send me an email and I would be very happy to give you more information.
If you are interested in becoming a 2019 Sponsor for one of the most important online resources in academic publishing, and in joining our existing group of fantastic sponsors, then please contact me directly: firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you!