Tomorrow is the start of DOAJ’s biannual meeting, where team members and colleagues come together to discuss DOAJ strategy and developments, editorial policy and processes. Most of all, it is our chance to re-establish team connections, learn from each other’s experiences and renew friendships.
Previous meetings have taken place in Stockholm, Rome, Copenhagen, and Barcelona. This year, we are heading to beautiful Vienna in Austria, the world’s stage for classical music, opera and schnitzel! We are extremely lucky and honoured that the Library at the University of Vienna has agreed to host us for the 3-day meeting.
We are delighted to announce that the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) has reached its funding target to cover its operational costs as were outlined in its SCOSS application. Eight consortia and 175 institutions/organisations from 18 different countries have committed support to DOAJ. “We’d like to thank our supporters. That this many organisations stand behind this initiative and promised this amount of funding shows how important sustaining open access infrastructure is,” said Lars Bjørnshauge, DOAJ Managing Director.
There are organisations that have already made the decision to help fund DOAJ, but are still deliberating over the details of their financial commitment. Though the funding goal has now been met, these organisations may still commit financial support. Furthermore, the SCOSS Board has allowed DOAJ to present a new work package, both to these organisations and any additional organisations that come forward in 2019. The package describes additional activities that DOAJ would like to pursue with the extra funding, should it be granted.
The Board has supported the second work package on the conditions that DOAJ reports on progress made in a progress report on the activities delineated in the SCOSS application form, and that DOAJ describes the new work package in detail and includes a budget for the amount of funding needed. For details see the financial overview and the new work package.
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. “