DOAJ is now more accessible in China

The DOAJ website has been moved from Google-hosted javascript services which were preventing DOAJ being used in China.

Some parts of China block Google and Google services. DOAJ was using Google-hosted javascript services for its search functions. We have moved away from these services, a move which is strategically vital if we want our DOAJ Ambassadors for China to have any success in raising awareness of the site and best practice in open access publishing.

Usage from China is only a fraction of all usage. We are looking forward to seeing that usage grow over the coming months.

Presenting the DOAJ Ambassadors

Further to our announcement of the start of our IDRC-funded project focussing on the improvement of open access journals in the global south, I am delighted to present to you the list of 15 DOAJ Ambassadors. These Ambassadors will be working on behalf of DOAJ until April 2017 and will be operating in 11 regions or sub-regions across the globe. DOAJ is very lucky to have such a great list of names: people who have a wide-ranging set of skills and will bring huge amounts of experience to the DOAJ organisation.

After two members of DOAJ were invited recently to present at the NEICON/ASEP conference in Russia, we are very lucky to be able to extend the program’s work to the Russian Federation.  Three volunteers, led by Olga Kirillova, have also joined the list of DOAJ Ambassadors, extending the work of the program outlined to IDRC but on a self-funded basis. This is a hugely beneficial development for open access and DOAJ.

The final list of DOAJ Ambassadors are:

Region Name Based in
Southern Africa Ina Smith South Africa
East Africa Solomon Mekonnen Ethiopia
West Africa Pascal Soubeiga Burkina Faso
North Africa Kamel Belhamel Algeria
China Yanhong Zhai China
China Cenyu Shen Finland
China Xin Bi China
Middle East & Persian Gulf Mahmoud Khalifa Egypt
East India Sridhar Gutam India
West India Vrushali Dandawate India
South India Leena Shah India
Latin America Ivonne Lujano Mexico
Russian Federation Olga Kirillova Russia
Russian Federation (West) Maxim Mitrofanov Russia
Russian Federation (East) Natal’ya Popova Russia

Welcome to all of you!

A biography of each of these people will be posted here soon.

The majority of the Ambassadors will be converging on the island of Crete, in the beautiful village of Vamos, for an intensive 4-day training retreat starting next week. The outcome of that meeting will be an initial 2-month action plan for each Ambassador to implement as soon as s/he is back on home turf. That plan will then inform the actions for the rest of the year. It is really exciting that developments will start to take shape so soon after the retreat.

Each region will present its own challenges to the Ambassadors and to DOAJ but there will be exciting milestones to reach. For example, can DOAJ gain an online presence in China via the huge social media networks there? Will we see an increase in quality journal applications from India, a country sadly linked to questionable publishing practices and author spamming? Will we see an increase in the number of applications from East and West Africa, two regions of the continent that are sadly under-represented in DOAJ today? In Latin America, where a relatively large number of journals are already indexed in DOAJ, will we be able to increase the number of journals from the smaller countries like Bolivia, Ecuador or Guatemala?

In all of the regions, language can be a barrier. Almost all of the DOAJ site is in English and we haven’t yet found a good-enough piece of software that will translate the most important parts of the site for us. We will be addressing that as part of the IDRC project but having our Ambassadors on the ground will be hugely influential in increasing awareness of the site and our criteria.

DOAJ will be reporting on the progress of our Ambassador program regularly and I hope to be able to share some exciting statistics with you soon.

A Funding Opportunity for APC-free Open Access Journals and Platforms

This is a guest post by Pablo de Castro, Coordinator for the OpenAIRE FP7 Post-Grant Open Access Pilot.

OpenAIREplus_logoThe FP7 Post-Grant Open Access Pilot, as launched by the EC and OpenAIRE in May 2015, was mainly designed as a tool to fund Open Access publishing fees for publications arising from completed FP7 (7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development) projects. This is its main area of activity and this work is starting to bear fruit, with over 300 funded Open Access publications after a year of operation.

However, most of the journals in the DOAJ charge no APCs to their authors. Moreover, lacking a proper business model, funding opportunities for these journals are scarce beyond governmental and/or institutional funding and specific calls such as the Canadian SSHRC’s.

This is why this pilot has extended its funding scope to also cover APC-free OA journals and platforms through an alternative funding mechanism released on May 3rd. This funding mechanism will allow journals to collect support for the implementation of technical improvements on their publishing workflows. Its features and requirements will be thoroughly discussed at an OpenAIRE webinar on May 12th.

This initiative will specifically offer an opportunity to establish closer links between OpenAIRE and APC-free OA journals and publishers. While fully Open Access publishers like Ubiquity Press and Copernicus are OpenAIRE-compliant, OpenAIRE’s main focus has traditionally been—and will remain—on OA repositories and repository networks. Through this initiative, this will now be extended out to OA journals, allowing a deeper technical harmonization to take place in the APC-free OA publishing landscape.

One of the key technical improvements to be funded will be having the journal’s outputs regularly indexed at article level  in DOAJ. 69% of the OA journals currently listed in DOAJ are indexed at article level, which means there’s room for improvement. OpenAIRE is eager to promote this article-level indexing in DOAJ as a standard that will result in more visibility for the global OA content production.

Another strongly recommended enhancement is the systematic inclusion of the funding and project information in the article-level metadata within the publishing platform. While this is already a requirement for OpenAIRE-compliant repositories (at least for EC-funded projects, i.e. FP7 and Horizon 2020), it is only very rarely happening in APC-free Open Access journals at the time, even when it’s a key aspect of the way the contextual information around a publication is collected and shared. This collection of funding and project information will in fact be key for identifying eligibility for this alternative funding mechanism.

We are very much looking forward then to collecting interesting funding proposals from APC-free Open Access journals and platforms in the next two months. Make sure to register for the May 12th webinar if interested in this funding opportunity!