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Promoting High Quality Open Access Journals in African Higher Education

Presentation at the ADEA AAU
Webinar 20th April 2017
Lars Bjornshauge

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Promoting High Quality Open Access Journals in African Higher Education

  1. 1. Promoting High Quality Open Access Journals in African Higher Education Presentation at the ADEA AAU Webinar April 20th 2017, Lars Bjørnshauge
  2. 2. • Introduction – Basic messages • The drive towards Open Access • African journals into the flow! • Briefly about DOAJ • Implications for (OA) journals • Key criteria for inclusion in DOAJ • What DOAJ can do to help • Questionable Publishers
  3. 3. Where I come from: • Public funded research should be accessible for all • The traditional subscription model: – is not sustainable and does not serve research and society – is essentially based on the print age! – is discriminating larger parts of the World • Technology has opened up new opportunities.
  4. 4. The promises of Open Access • Open Access can: – remove access barriers – reduce participation barriers – create a truly global scholarly communication system – reduce the total costs – increase the impact of research on research, societies and the people!
  5. 5. OA and the Ethos of the Library Profession Open Access can finally make core elements of the ethos of the library profession come true: Instead of being gate-keepers, prohibiting “unauthorized users” accessing publicly funded research, libraries can provide information free to all for reading, re-use and re-mix.
  6. 6. • Open access is inevitable – not a question about if, more about when and how (the implementation). • The mission of DOAJ is to help publishers do a better job in making their journals attractive, transparent publishing channels on a global scale
  7. 7. Open Access • Not invented in Europe or North America • Strongest developments in Europe • In the beginning soft policies – recommendations, primarily Green OA • Now stronger mandates – EU research funds – EU Commission – Several European Research funders – Some from North America
  8. 8. • Universities, Research Funders & Governments: – Constant growth in the number of OA-policies and OA-mandates – increasingly demand real OA from day one (Gold OA with/without APCs), with extensive re-use rights – OA to publications seen as part of the wider Open Science/Open Scholarship agenda – Are questioning current research assessment practices (Impact Factor etc) and developing new models
  9. 9. • Founded at Lund University, Sweden – launched May 2003 with 300 journals • Since 2013 operated by Infrastructure Services for Open Access ( – a non-profit company registered in the United Kingdom • Basic demand then: • Just list of Open Access Journals • Gradually developing in to: • The authoritative go-to point for peer-reviewed scholarly journals not based on the subscription model
  10. 10. DOAJ – much more than a list of journals! • A global list of peer-reviewed Open Access journals – all subjects and languages – journals undergo evaluation based on a set of criteria – 9.400 titles (April 2017) • An aggregation of article level metadata – Publishers upload article metadata into DOAJ – 70% of the journals do so – Currently 2.500.000 records • All DOAJ services (including evaluation) and data are free for all - to use, download and re-use
  11. 11. Publisher upload article metadata
  12. 12. Harvesting data from DOAJ To Library Systems, Discovery Services etc
  13. 13. • Numbers – since March 2014: • New applications: – 7.200 rejected – 4.400 accepted • Reapplications – 1.500 rejected/removed – 3.600 accepted • As of today: – 1.300 re-applications to handle – 2.700 in process – 250 on-hold (suspected questionable journals) – 500 new applications per month!
  14. 14. Research Assessment • The single most important obstacle to a transition to Open Access! • Often based on the Journal Impact Factor (JIF) – subject to manipulation, gaming and fraud • Researchers are NOT primarily rewarded for WHAT they publish, but WHERE they publish • Research assessment systems have to change
  15. 15. Research Assessment • Many countries in Africa and beyond – Strong push to publish in ”high quality” journals – Strong push to publish in ”international” journals • Supports the system, that we want to change! • In reality it supports questionable publishing practices – publisheers who are in it for the money and not providing good services to the author
  16. 16. Open up African Research! • Lots of challenges! But they can be overcomed • What is needed is: – More self-confidence in the research results produced – Support and develop local publishing channels – Collaborate across countries – Aggregate on open source platforms • African research results should be visible and discoverable on a global scale!
  17. 17. • Implications for journals: – The trend towards stronger OA-mandates will result in a selection of certified/approved publishing channels! – To be compliant with the new demands, journals have to change – Journals have to be transparent about their practices, policies, licenses (use and re-use issues) and much more
  18. 18. ”Quality” • Quality is about the services that the publisher/journal provides to the author • Elements in quality – Editorial ”quality” – Peer-review process – Openness/licensing – ”Technical quality” – “Dissemination” quality Lars Bjørnshauge
  19. 19. Issues… • Many (OA-)journals do not live up to reasonable – editorial standards – technical standards – ethical standards • Many (OA) journals are underperforming in terms of the service they provide to their authors • Many so-called ”publishers” are exploiting the publish and perish pressure on researchers Lars Bjørnshauge
  20. 20. (OA)-journals • Should be much more transparent regarding – the editorial process – the peer-review process – rights (reader rights, reuse rights, remixing rights etc.) – the services they provide to the author, such as • Archiving • Identifiers • Discoverability Lars Bjørnshauge
  21. 21. We will help out! • COPE, OASPA, WAME & DOAJ: • October 1st 2015 Lars Bjørnshauge
  22. 22. The Principles 1. Peer review process 2. Governing Body 3. Editorial team/contact 4. Author fees 5. Copyright 6. Identification of and dealing with allegations of research misconduct 7. Ownership and management 8. Web site. 9. Name of journal 10. Conflicts of interest 11. Access 12. Revenue sources 13. Advertising 14. Publishing schedule 15. Archiving 16. Direct marketing October 1st 2015 Lars Bjørnshauge
  23. 23. Trusted OA-journals! • DOAJ has responded to the demands and expectations by implementing stronger criteria for inclusion (March 2014) – To create better opportunities for funders, universities, libraries and authors to determine whether a journal lives up to standards – transparency! – To enable the community to monitor compliance – To address the issue of questionable publishers or publishers not living up to reasonable standards both in terms of services to the author and in terms of business behavior. October 1st 2015 Lars Bjørnshauge
  24. 24. Why stronger criteria? • To motivate and encourage OA-journals to – be more explicit on editorial quality issues – be more explicit on rights and reuse issues – improve their “technical” quality fostering improved dissemination and discoverability • To promote standards and best practice • It is all about good OA-journals! • Lack of transparency and credibility hurts all publishers! October 1st 2015 Lars Bjørnshauge
  25. 25. Must haves for journals to be listed (I): • An Open Access statement • Comply with the BOAI definition
  26. 26. Must haves for journals to be listed (II) • A peer-review process, and describe the kind of process • An editor/editorial board with clearly identifiable members • Licensing and copyright information • Aims and scope • Published a least 5 articles per year to qualify
  27. 27. Recommendations to journals wanting to be listed • Unrestricted copyright for the author • No exclusive publishing rights • No transfer of commercial rights • Clear licensing conditions • Preferably use of Creative Ccommons licensing • Embedded licensing information with articles • No mention of Impact Factor, instead use journal citation distribution and/or altmetrics
  28. 28. • New criteria & new application form implemented March 2104 after extensive consultation with the community • 9.000 journals had to re-apply • Re-applications closed March 31st 2016 • May 2016: 2.850 journals removed – failed to do a reapplication
  29. 29. New criteria • The new application form: • October 1st 2015 Lars Bjørnshauge
  30. 30. We are asking about… • The editorial board • The peer review process • Archiving/preservation • Plagiarism • Openness – Licensing and copyright – Re-use rights • Charges • … and much, much more October 1st 2015 Lars Bjørnshauge
  31. 31. Editorial ”quality” • QUALITY AND TRANSPARENCY OF THE EDITORIAL PROCESS • The journal must have an editor or an editorial board, all members must be easily identified • Specification of the review process – Editorial review, Peer review., Blind peer review, Double blind peer review, Open Peer Review, Other • Statements about aims & scope clearly visible • Instructions to authors shall be available and easily located • Screening for plagiarism? • Time from submission to publication
  32. 32. Editorial issues Specify what kind of reveiw process is applied: Editorial review, Peer Review, Blind Peer Review, Double Blind Peer Review, Open Peer Review
  33. 33. • Openness, Reuse& Remixing rights, Licensing, Copyrights and Permissions! Openness
  34. 34. Reuse/remix
  35. 35. Licensing
  36. 36. Copyright and permissions
  37. 37. Archiving/Preservation • Archiving is important – too many OA-journals do not have an archiving arrangement
  38. 38. Plagiarism etc
  39. 39. Deposit policy
  40. 40. Charges
  41. 41.
  42. 42. three-tier evaluation proces Managing Editor Associate Editors: reviewing applications, communicate with publishers, recommend inclusion/rejection Editors: allocating applications to Associate Editors, recommend inclusion/rejection Managing Editors: allocate applications to Editors & decide on inclusion/rejection
  43. 43. Current staff • Managing Director (1 FTE) • Community Manager (1 FTE) • Editor-in-Chief (1 FTE) • 5 Managing Editors (3 FTE)) • 50+ Volunteers, working unpaid a few hours per week • And….. October 1st 2015 Lars Bjørnshauge
  44. 44. The DOAJ Ambassadors! • Facilitated by a one year grant from IDRC, Canada, 11 DOAJ Ambassadors have been recruited to – Promote DOAJ, evaluate applications and reapplications – Promote Best Publishing Practice and raise awareness about questionable publishing – Covering Asia, Middle East, Africa & Latin America + 3 Ambassadors covering Russia and neighb. countries • 20/presenting-the-doaj-ambassadors/ October 1st 2015 Lars Bjørnshauge
  45. 45. Your African DOAJ Ambassadors • Southern Africa: – Ina Smith – • East Africa: – Solomon Mekonnen – • West Africa: – Pascal Soubeiga – • North Africa: – Kamel Belhamel –
  46. 46. What a DOAJ Ambassador can do! • Algeria • The National Commission for the Validation of Algerian Scientific Journals – decisions December 2016 • All Algerian Scientific Journals ( list of 389 journals) – must be online and Open Access- No funding for print journals. – must be included in the new platform of Algerian Scientific Journals - Aggregation – the Editor of Algerian Journal can not ask for APCs from authors, the editor will receive a compensation if his Journal is indexed in the New platform "ASJP".
  47. 47. Benefits of being listed! • Important/extremely important benefits of being listed: • Increased visibility : 97% • Increased traffic : 85% • Prestige : 86% • Certification : 87% • Eligibility for support from OA-publication funds: 64% • Better promotion : 80% • Increased submissions : 72%
  48. 48. Questionable or unethical publishers
  49. 49. How we detect questionable journals • Low publishing quality • Journal name, website, fees, peer review, publisher, ownership, volume of articles, advertisements, prominent soliciting for editors, ambiguous company address, many journals and few articles • Low scientific quality • focus, format, self-citations, plagiarism • Malpractice • false claims, hidden costs, spamming authors, wrong information, fake Impact Factor
  50. 50.
  51. 51.  Do you or your colleagues know the journal?  Can you easily identify and contact the publisher?  Is the journal clear about the type of peer review it uses?  Are articles indexed in the services you use?  Is it clear what fees will be charged?  Do you recognize the editorial board?  Is the publisher a member of a recognized industry initiative?
  52. 52. • We are global and we want to help! • Respecting different publishing cultures and traditions • Not primarily exclude, but rather facilitate and assist the journals to come into the flow • While at the same time promoting standards, transparency and best practice
  53. 53. Our ambition: DOAJ to be the list of good Open Access journals! if an OA journal is in the DOAJ it complies with accepted standards – if not: take care!!
  54. 54. Thank you for your attention! lars
  55. 55. Thanks to all the Library Consortia, Universities and Publishers and our Sponsors for the financial support to DOAJ! DOAJ is entirely dependent on support from the community Support the work we do for research funders, universities, libraries, researchers, publishers and the people! or e-mail: