DOAJ EDITORS ON THE EFFECTS OF THE NEW DOAJ CRITERIA

This is a guest post by Andrea Marchitelli, Paola Galimberti and Andrea Bollini, who write about their experience of being DOAJ editors and their published paper: “Helping journals to improve their publishing standards: a data analysis of DOAJ new criteria effects”

After DOAJ implemented new criteria for inclusion of open access journals and invited all journals listed in the directory to reapply, a large number of journals was removed from the database, most for failing to submit an updated application within the deadline. DOAJ volunteers, Paola Galimberti as an  Editor and Andrea Marchitelli as an Associate Editor for Italy, wanted to investigate if their contribution, and the contribution by DOAJ volunteers all over the world, was effective in trying to improve the quality of journals indexed in the directory.

When the idea to write an article about the first results of the reapplication process became more clear, Paola and Andrea decided to involve Andrea Bollini, Chief Technology Innovation Officer at 4SCIENCE and Dominic Mitchell, DOAJ Community Manager, in the analysis of data.

Being active participants in the DOAJ community was really helpful when designing the article structure, because it made it possible to know, from an internal point of view, the steps of the reapplication process and all the checks needed to verify reapplications, where to look for the necessary data, and so on.

The starting point for this investigation was the scepticism about open access journals caused by Beall’s lists, by some retraction and misconduct cases that involved open access journals, and by some articles that suggested open access to be a way of publishing low quality journals under the pressure of the publish or perish system.

The main interest as editor and associate editor for a volunteer group deeply involved in this process was to examine the results of the implementation of the new criteria, and their capability to improve the quality of the directory and the reliability of the indexed information.

A dataset of 12,595 journals included in DOAJ since its very beginning in 2003 until May 15th 2016, was examined and compared to other sources. This operation had an immediate effect. The number of journals deleted from DOAJ during this period was 3,776; the majority of them (2,851 journals) were excluded because publishers failed to complete the reapplication on time; 490 had ceased publication or were otherwise inactive; 375 were excluded for ethical issues; 53 because they were no longer open access or the content was embargoed, the final 7 were removed for other reasons. The top five countries in terms of the percentage of journals removed were: Japan (74% of journals removed); Pakistan (60%); Canada (51%); United States (50%); and Mexico (49%).

Our study has shown that 158 of the removed journals were included in Beall’s lists; 1130 journals indexed in DOAJ were included in Scopus and/or JCR. Our analysis demonstrates that, thanks to the new acceptance criteria, and to the improved screening process performed by volunteer groups under the direction of the new criteria, there was a noticeable quality improvement of the journals indexed in DOAJ.

As members involved in this quality improvement process, the authors would consider the work made by DOAJ staff and volunteers in the different groups as a very effective result.

Full-text article: Marchitelli, Andrea, Paola Galimberti, Andrea Bollini, & Dominic Mitchell. “Helping journals to improve their publishing standards: a data analysis of DOAJ new criteria effects.” JLIS.it [Online], 8.1 (2017): 1-21. Web. 8 Feb. 2017. DOI: 10.4403/jlis.it-12052.

Continued support from Austria to DOAJ

We are happy to announce that Austria is continuing its strong support to DOAJ.

As we informed last year universities, research centers, the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) and the Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy (BMWFW) decided to support the work we do, generating more than € 30,000 to DOAJ.

We are extremely grateful for that, especially that the Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy is among the contributors, in fact the first ministry supporting DOAJ.

Austria once again showing leadership in Open Access and Open Science!

CHALLENGES OF THE LATIN AMERICAN OPEN ACCESS PUBLISHING MODEL

This is a guest post by Ivonne Lujano, DOAJ Ambassador, Latin America

Image result for ivonne lujano

 

A current search in the DOAJ database reveals that there are 916 journals from Latin America and the Caribbean that have been accepted after the implementation of stricter DOAJ criteria in March 2014. This represents approximately 16% of the journals that have gone through an evaluation process led by the DOAJ team. As it is stated in DOAJ policy, the criteria implemented emphasize the transparency of information presented by the journals to their users, which aims to improve quality and visibility of the scientific output published in peer reviewed journals.

Latin America has an extensive  background in open access journals publishing and, consequently, journals assessment policies are well developed. Different criteria for reviewing the quality of journals have been developed in the region by mainly two types of agencies: 1) national systems of evaluation (in Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, etc.), with different levels of complexity and implementation according to the purposes of assessment, for instance, to allocate funds to the journals; and 2) regional systems of scientific information, i.e. Latindex, SciELO and Redalyc, which have similar indexing criteria (de Oliveira Amorim et al., 2015). Because of these evaluation systems there has been a significant growth of quality in Latin American journals according to international publishing standards in the last few years.

However, there are still some challenges to push forward the Latin American OA model, specially in two key aspects that are related to the level of openness: transparency on charges for authors and copyright & permission policies.

The Latin American non APC model

One of the main characteristics of the predominant journals publishing model in Latin America is that articles are published without costs to authors. This non APC model is possible because of the public funds that journals receive from national or institutional budgets, resources to be managed by, mostly, scholarly publishers such as university presses. Different stakeholders in the region support the idea of staying as a non-commercial OA model despite some trends of charging different fees to authors and their institutions. Vessuri, Guédon & Cetto (2014) have raised awareness that in a context of competition, commercial publishers are seeing the potential of Latin American journals as an opportunity to make a profit from offering publishing services, which eventually could shift the non-commercial model. According to DOAJ data, only 8% of journals included from Latin America have APCs, which range from $4 up to $1400 US. These journals are edited in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico and Peru, and 62.6% of them are managed by associations and societies. Most journals edited by universities and research centres have no charges; however, there are some journals funded by public federal and state-level universities that charge minimal amounts to authors in order to cover some services, for instance, the cost of the DOI assigned for the article published. In any case, DOAJ strongly encourages editors to give transparent information on this topic because is still common to see journals with a lack of details on the charges levied.

Copyright and permissions in Latin American journals

Despite the success of the open access publishing model in Latin America, there are still some important challenges in this region in terms of permissions to use, reuse, adapt and remix the contents. Based on DOAJ data, 89% of indexed Latin American journals have adopted Creative Commons licenses to distribute their articles. Nevertheless, only half of these journals (49.1%) use the CC-BY license, which allows others to use the materials for any lawful purpose with the only requirement being the correct attribution of authorship and source of publication. One third of the Brazilian journals indexed in DOAJ use this license; only 14% of Colombian journals have the same policy. One of the major concerns among editors in Latin America is still commercial use: 45.8% of journals allow readers to use the articles only for non-commercial purposes. The use of the CC-BY-NC license represents 23.9% of Latin American journals listed in DOAJ, followed by 14.9% of journals using the CC-BY-NC-ND license and 6.9% that have adopted the CC-BY-NC-SA license.

The use of the most open license (CC-BY) is still controversial in Latin America because publishers mistrust the terms of this license, which represents a big challenge for open access advocacy. The Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA) recommends this license as it assures a wider reuse and distribution of content, e.g. the use in education practices. DOAJ accepts journals that use any CC license, but also encourages the adoption of the more unrestricted licenses. In order to achieve the DOAJ Seal for best practice in open access publishing, a journal cannot apply the most restrictive CC licenses for sharing scientific articles, i.e. CC BY-ND or CC BY-NC-ND.   

Conclusions

The Latin American open access publishing model is going through a period full challenges, especially when some governments have serious budgetary difficulties in Science & Technology and Higher Education systems.

In spite of that, there are many advantages of this model. One of them is the level of cohesion of editors that have worked in collaboration for the improvement of quality. Author charges and copyright policies are still important concerns in Latin America, and DOAJ is committed to collaborate with publishers of this region in order to improve best practice, as well as openness for readers and for authors.

References

De Oliveira Amorim et al. (2015) Evaluation Systems of Scientific Journals in Latin America, in: Alperin, J. and Fischman, G. (eds.) Made in Latin America : open access, scholarly journals, and regional innovations Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires: CLACSO.

Vessuri, H., Guédon, J.C., Cetto, A.M. (2014) Excellence or quality? Impact of the current competition regime on science and scientific publishing in Latin America and its implications for development, Current Sociology, Vol. 62(5) 647 –665, DOI: 10.1177/0011392113512839

 

SCIENCE OPEN INTERVIEWS OUR AMBASSADOR KAMEL BELHAMEL

We are very happy to announce that our DOAJ Ambassador Kamel Belhamel was interviewed this month by Science Open as part of the very successful Open Science series of interviews.

Jon Tennant, from Science Open, chats with Prof Belhamel about his thoughts regarding open access, his role at DOAJ, and the state of scholarly communication in North Africa.

“I am very proud to join DOAJ team. It’s exciting and motivating to be a part of this not-for-profit organisation. DOAJ gives me the opportunity to work in a pleasant multicultural environment and to meet very nice friends from different parts of the world. Every member of the team collaborates and this synergy carries us further and faster than I could have imagined.”

Please read the full interview here.

 

 

The DOAJ Team is expanding!

I am very happy to announce that the DOAJ Team has expanded. We welcome to the team Ilaria Flava, based in Rome, Italy, and Clara Armengou, based in Barcelona, Spain.

Ilaria joins us as Managing Editor and will assist with the monitoring of our editorial groups, the processing of applications and communicating final decisions to publishers. Having already volunteered for DOAJ as Associate Editor, Ilaria is familiar with our modus operandi. She assumes responsibility for 7 international teams of volunteers and by adding Ilaria to our team of managing editors, we will increase our throughput.

Clara joins us as Community Manager and will be covering my absence for the next year. Clara, who was open access officer at Cambridge University Press among other things, is currently working as Science Communication Officer at University Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona. Clara brings with her a vast amount of experience and by adding her to the team, we will continue to serve our online communities and, most importantly, all the publishers who are indexed in DOAJ. Clara will continue to raise awareness of DOAJ and the important issues surrounding open access, as well as support our Ambassadors’ activities across the global south.

You can read more about Ilaria and Clara on our About page.

DOAJ is International!

Adding Clara and Ilaria to our team means that DOAJ now operates from 15 different countries…

Algeria
Burkina Faso
China
Denmark
Egypt
Ethiopia
India
Italy
Mexico
Russia
South Africa
Spain
Sweden
The Netherlands
United Kingdom

… and between us we can speak over 25 languages. Open access knows no barriers and DOAJ strives to represent that as much as possible! How do you feel that we are doing?

Open Access Journals Strategy in Algeria

This is a guest post by Kamel Belhamel, DOAJ Ambassador, North Africa

algeriaThe importance of Open Access (OA) was recently recognised by Algerian scientists, libraries and publishers. Until recently, Algerian researchers preferred to publish their papers in European journals with an impact factor, in order to achieve certain personal goals (e.g. better career opportunities and advancement, CV fortification, etc.), however the Western system of scholarly publishing often stigmatizes developing country research as local rather than international.

One of the most important OA journal promoters in Algeria at this time is DGRSDT (National Council of Scientific Research and Technology of Algeria). Since 2015, the DGRSDT has organised workshops and supports Algerian editors in the implementation of open science. Many of those editors don’t have the experience of ensuring the quality and the transparency of the editorial process. Out of 359 Algerian scientific journals listed by the DGRSDT, only 7 are indexed in the DOAJ (or 1.95 %). Most of the scientific journals, supported via institutional memberships, don’t have a website and are only published on paper. So there is a need to develop a method for determining the quality of these journals and to help Algerian scientific journals to become more visible on the internet, thereby making them accessible and discoverable for the international community.

In response to the important need of access to scholarly content by the Algerian research community, the DGRSDT has started a project with the goal of collecting and publishing all information about Algerian editors and their scientific journals, thereby ensuring that research publications and research data will be publicly available on the internet. This project seeks to achieve, a) development of training programmes with editors, b) promotion of the exchange of ideas and experience among Algerian editors, c) establish global collaborative efforts by co-operating with international editors and organizations in the advancement of open access. Furthermore, following a recent meeting with myself, the DGRSDT has published a recommendation that all Algerian journals become familiar with the DOAJ criteria and apply for indexing in DOAJ. This is an important step toward the visibility of Algerian journals at an international level.

Since printed journals are costly and have very low visibility, one of the initiatives that is especially interesting is the launch a portal of Algerian scientific journals by the Research Centre on Scientific and Technical Information (CERIST). This portal, named Webreview, is open to anyone wishing to publish journal content online, either open or closed access, allows the development of scientific research in Algeria and will increase its visibility. Although DGRSDT is aware of the importance of OA repositories, they are still too small and there remains something to be done at both institutional and national level.

The Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research has already decided that PhD students can defend their theses by publishing their papers in Algerian OA journals indexed in Scopus, Web of Science, DOAJ, etc. This positive initiative will surely increase the number of Algerian OA journals and will generate considerable added value to science.

It’s soon upon us: the Ninth Open Access Week

It’s soon upon us! The ninth Open Access Week. This year, the theme is Open in Action, about taking ‘concrete steps to make … work more openly available and encourag[ing] others to do the same’. The theme corresponds nicely with our IDRC-funded Ambassador project where we have Ambassadors working around the world to promote the values of open access and the DOAJ.

On Facebook, over the coming days, I’ll be listing the details all the DOAJ-associated activities that are being held across the globe. I’ve started with a list of links to some of the DOAJ Team’s profiles on the Open Access Week web site. Here’s the post:

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FDirectoryofOpenAccessJournals%2Fposts%2F1295485780463658&width=500

Need a flyer or a poster?

What are you doing for open access week? Let us know. If you need any DOAJ promotional material for your event, we have an A5 flyer for printing out, an A4 information sheet (more suitable for a North American audience), and we have a flyer and a poster in French, and the same in Chinese. Don’t forget that we have a collection of presentations on Slideshare, too, which are a great resource for “clipping” (saving a slide), downloading etc. If you need something else, get in touch!

The Open Access Week web site itself also has a great Resources section, where you can download logos, handouts and posters.