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:
|Southern Africa||Ina Smith||South Africa|
|East Africa||Solomon Mekonnen||Ethiopia|
|West Africa||Pascal Soubeiga||Burkina Faso|
|North Africa||Kamel Belhamel||Algeria|
|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)||Natalia Popova||Russia|
Welcome to all of you!
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.