The other fight

As well as DOAJ’s fight against questionable publishing practices, journals and publishers, the other fight is against the traditional desire to  read research or publish research in ‘prestigious’ journals.

From Twitter:
First bird: “for urban geog – this looks like a good place to start
Second bird: “cheers… Didn’t return a single journal I recognised though – none of the prestigious/high impact ones”

How can you tackle this? Wanting recognition for what you have done, or wanting to read the works of others from a prestigious (read: reputable) source isn’t strange. It is human nature. Thankfully we have built in filters to recognise and zoom in on quality. However, the thought that publishing in an open access journal doesn’t and can’t carry any prestige is a misconception. And there are other forces at play too…

In an independent capacity, Lars recently gave a presentation for a NISO virtual seminar where he issued his rallying call on what he thinks should be done. Have a look and let me know what you think. I’d be interested in your thoughts.

(You can follow DOAJ on Twitter here.)

Think. Check. Submit. Helping researchers to make informed publication choices.

Think Check Submit Logo
A new cross-industry campaign launches today – Think. Check. Submit. The campaign will provide information for researchers, through an online hub at, about the criteria they should look for when selecting where to publish their research.

The volume of research output continues to grow, and recent years have seen an increase in new publishing services and outlets. In March of this year, the CrossRef database alone included over 71 million DOIs, of which 55 million refer to journal articles from a total of over 36,000 journals. (And that is just the tip of the iceberg: thousands of journals in DOAJ use no DOI system at all.) At the same time, we read of stories of malpractice, or questionable publishing, but little in the way of guidance exists when it comes to choosing a journal to publish in.

Think. Check. Submit. is a new campaign coordinated by representatives of organisations from across the industry: ALPSP, Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), INASP, the International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers (STM), ISSN, LIBER, OASPA, UKSG and individual publishers. The campaign will help researchers understand their options, and key criteria they can check before making an informed decision about where to submit. Lars Bjørnshauge, DOAJ’s Managing Director, said “I am very proud that DOAJ is one of the founding organisations behind this broad campaign! It ties together nicely everything that DOAJ has been doing, particularly in recent years as we have increased our efforts helping authors and publishers alike commit to a better standard of publishing practice.”

It is envisaged that researchers will benefit from more information on what to consider when choosing where to publish, but the campaign will be directed particularly towards early-career academics and is aimed to be accessible to those whose first language is not English, or who may not be aware of, or have access to, the full breadth of scholarly literature.

Two articles in BMC Medicine point to the negative impact that some journals can have. One gives an individual academic’s point of view of the volume of unsolicited email invitations to publish, many of which are “unclear as to whether the manuscripts published by these journals add value to either the journals or the submitting authors.”[1]  The other investigates the scale and distribution of deceptive open access publishing both geographically and across scientific fields.[2]

“There is a global problem with information inequality and integrity”, said OASPA’s President Paul Peters, “not all publishing bodies operate to the required standards for producing quality literature. Researchers need resources to effectively evaluate these factors. Think. Check. Submit. will help researchers to carefully assess their options in order to make an informed choice before submitting their papers”.

The number of active academic journals grows by around 3.5 per cent each year[3] – in 2014 this equated to almost 1,000 new titles. In terms of regulation, DOAJ implemented new criteria for open access titles in March 2014.  Since then it has processed 6,000 applications, of which 2,700 have been rejected, 1,800 are in process, 1,500 have been accepted. In the same period 700 journals have been removed from DOAJ.

The ISSN network, coordinated by the ISSN International Centre, identifies and provides a bibliographic description to more than 60,000 new print and online serials per year. Every journal must have a registered ISSN before they can apply to be indexed in DOAJ and yet an ISSN number in itself is not intended to certify the quality of a serial. As a step toward certifying quality, the International ISSN Centre has established partnerships with scholarly organizations to promote quality open access resources with its new Directory of Open Access Scholarly Resources – ROAD – which offers a freely accessible description of 12,000 + OA resources including journals, conference proceedings, academic repositories, monographic series and scholarly blogs.

We are delighted to announce the launch of this campaign and would welcome your questions or feedback. Please leave comments here or visit for further information.

[1] You are invited to submit – David Moher and Anubhav Srivastava
BMC Medicine 2015, DOI:10.1186/s12916-015-0423-3
Published 4 August 2015:

[2] “Predatory” Open Access – A longitudinal study of article volumes and market characteristics
Cenyu Shen and Bo Christer Björk
BMC Medicine 2015, DOI:
Published 01 October 2015:

[3] Taken from The STM Report: An overview of scientific and scholarly journal publishing, Fourth edition

Reapplications are open. Have you submitted yours yet?

Just a reminder that reapplications are open and that you must submit your reapplication(s) before the end of 2015. Failure to do so, will result in your journal being removed from DOAJ.

The reapplications are coming in fast. BioMed Central just submitted 220 in one go! Great work BMC.

We recently sent out a first reminder to 4680 accounts. Did you get yours? If not, let me know and add to your email address book / your domain safelist.

Guidance on submitting your reapplications can be found here. If you have more than 11 journals in DOAJ, the process is slightly different. Get in touch and I will guide you through.



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.

We will also be listing all our working volunteers on our site. I’ll add a link to that page later.

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!

If you are interested in volunteering for us, please get in touch! We are always looking for volunteers to help us process applications.

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

VACANCY Publication Specialist

UPDATE: Applications are now CLOSED.

The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) indexes more than 10000 open access journals covering all areas of science, technology, medicine, social science and humanities. It is a white list of open access journals and aims to be the starting point for all information searches for quality, peer reviewed, open access material. Publishers must apply for their journal(s) to be indexed in DOAJ and each application is reviewed manually by the editorial team. We receive approximately 80 new applications every week.

DOAJ is now seeking a freelance Publication Specialist to assist the editorial team with reviewing new applications and reapplications. The role requires knowledge of academic publishing, in particular: online journals, editorial process, best practices and publishing technology standards.

DOAJ is a virtual organization so the role is based from home. The successful applicant will be expected to provide their own work space and equipment. Most meetings are conducted virtually but expenses will be paid if you attend any physical meetings.

Hours of work: 15-25 hours per week. Working hours are flexible and you will be expected to manage your own time but it would be helpful if some of the time could be spent between the hours of 8-4pm (GMT).

Pay: Hourly rate negotiable.

Language: English + 1 other preferable

Role Purpose

Working in the DOAJ Admin system, the role is to methodically review, assess and eventually approve/reject journal applications.

Key Accountabilities

  • Check new applications against the DOAJ criteria for acceptance.
  • Manage all communication with the applicants and respond to their queries.
  • Liaise with the Editor-in-Chief, Managing Editors as needed.
  • Promote awareness of DOAJ, its resources and services to successful applicants and the academic publishing community in general.
  • Attend team and editorial Hangouts every week.

Qualifications / Experience Required

  • Higher education or graduate
  • At least two years experience in academic publishing
  • Previous experience of manuscript submission systems or large databases is desirable
  • Open access and its developments
  • Publishing technologies, standards and best practices
  • Excellent IT competence
  • Publisher relations experience an advantage

Personal Qualities / Skills

  • Fluent in English
  • Good communication skills, both written and oral
  • An understanding of how to handle confidential and/or sensitive information
  • Good organisational skills
  • Ability to produce accurate work, demonstrate good attention to detail and meet deadlines
  • Strong team player
  • Ability to work on own initiative
  • Motivated and resourceful
  • Adaptable and flexible
  • Experience of building effective working relationships

To Apply

Please send a CV and a short cover letter to the Community Manager, Dominic Mitchell, at dom[@]doaj[.]org by 26th August 2015.

Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)

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