ISSN and DOAJ: a renewed partnership

DOAJ is delighted to announce the renewal of its partnership with ISSN. DOAJ is heavily reliant on issn.org (the ISSN database) as having a fully registered and confirmed ISSN is one of the first checks that the Editorial Team undertakes when considering applications. For DOAJ, obtaining an ISSN for a journal is the first of many steps that a publisher can take to show that a journal intends to adhere to Best Practice.

As well as using the ISSN database as a reference point, DOAJ and ISSN are committed to assist each other in improving the quality of each database. DOAJ will send corrections to ISSN; ISSN will help ensure that DOAJ always has correct and up-to-date ISSNs. Furthermore, DOAJ metadata is used to enrich the ISSN’s daughter service, ROAD.

Launched in 2013, ROAD, Directory of Open Access Scholarly Resources, is a service which provides:

“free access to those ISSN bibliographic records which describe scholarly resources in Open Access: journals, monographic series, conference proceedings, academic repositories and scholarly blogs. These records, created by the ISSN Network (89 National Centres worldwide + the International Centre), are enriched by information extracted from indexing and abstracting databases, directories (DOAJ, Latindex, The Keepers registry) and journals indicators (Scopus).”

DOAJ is delighted to work in partnership with ISSN and is looking forward to a continued fruitful collaboration.

DOAJ to assist Research4Life with ensuring the inclusion of quality open access publishers

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”.