DOAJ: platform facilitates access to open access journals

Publicação: 14 de June de 2022

Open access journals from all countries and in all languages can apply for inclusion

DOAJ is the Directory of Open Access Electronic Journals, maintained by Lund University Libraries in Sweden, which allows to search for the title of the journal and the article

Launched in 2003, with 300 open access journals, by Lund University in Sweden, the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) is an independent online directory that has more than 17,700 open access and peer-reviewed journals, from 130 countries, in 80 languages, and more than 7.57 million registered articles from various areas of knowledge, such as science, technology, medicine, social sciences, arts and humanities. Developed by a non-profit organization, it aims to increase the visibility, accessibility, reputation, use and impact of quality scientific, peer-reviewed and open access journals worldwide, regardless of the discipline, geography or language, in addition to committing to keep its services and metadata free to be used by everyone.

But perhaps the great differential of the Directory is the indexing of journals that publish texts in diamond open access or gold open access, whose basic difference between diamond open access and gold open access is payment: diamond has no cost for authors or readers, while gold charges the authors. It is worth remembering that the number of articles that an open access diamond journal can publish is often smaller and some are in niche areas of science rather than multidisciplinary reach, and therefore their coverage may be smaller than that where large-budget commercial journals achieve with their resources. This means that open-access diamond journals should receive greater support so that they can have better reach, and prevent them from becomming commercial publishers. Here we leave a question to those who choose the journal based on editorial metrics and not on pure science, as well as to institutions such as Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (Capes) and Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq), which use metrics to evaluate science and researchers: what are the interests? Isn’t ideal science ideal?

The Journal of the Brazilian Society of Tropical Medicine (RSBMT), diamond open access, is one of the Brazilian journals that is part of the DOAJ, under the category “Tropical”, in addition to the Revista Amazônia: Science & Health; Revista de Patologia Tropical e Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz. These journals are considered very important because they passed the DOAJ criteria, whose quality of journals is guaranteed by a list of requirements that are evaluated before the material is made available on the page, in a kind of screening. One of them, for example, is to check if the journal is really freely accessible. The Directory requires the journal page to make explicit that readers can read, download, copy, distribute, print, search for, or link to the full text of articles or use them for any other purpose, without asking the author or publisher’s prior permission.

Considered one of the most complete indexes of open access journals, the DOAJ encourages journals to provide detailed information on their websites about the objectives and scope of the journal, the editorial board, instructions for authors, the description of the quality control system, the declaration of open access, the plagiarism policy and the licensing terms of the published content, since all journals indexed to the Directory need to present their editorial policies to meet principles of transparency and best practices in academic publications.

Being indexed in a scientific research database is essential for any journal. Getting indexed in a relevant database means recognition of merit, endorsement of the quality of their articles and, consequently, for their authors, who are usually subjected to processes of measuring the performance of activities, both academic and service. Open access journals from all countries and in all languages can apply for inclusion.

To be included in the DOAJ, a joiurnal must have quality control in its work, such as presenting an editor and editorial board, having an ISSN (International Standard Serial Number) and e-ISSN, for online journals and, mostly, adhering to free access policies – which use a publication model that users access, read and download articles free of charge. It is a way to guarantee the right to use the material for free by readers and also share the published material, promoting the exchange of knowledge. In order to be indexed in each of the databases, a journal must meet their own requirements, but they must first know the focus of the existing options and then organize for an application.

Open access index excludes thousands of journals

The DOAJ was criticized for including predatory journals in its base. This led them to tighten the inclusion criteria for new journals and demand that all indexed journals should resubmit their request to join the Directory. An article published in the scientific journal Nature in May 2016, entitled Open-access index delists thousands of journals highlighted the exclusion of about 3,300 titles as part of an effort to exclude questionable and inactive editors.

To ensure that the articles available are of high quality, the DOAJ provides experts to give feedback on the material submitted. This team is composed of professionals from different places who can assist in languages other than English. The publication process is completely free and consists of three stages: filling out and sending the application form, defining the typology of the registered journal and verifying the data submitted.

Principles of Transparency and Good Practices in Scientific Publication

In 2013, the DOAJ, in a joint initiative with the Committee of Publication Ethics (COPE), the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA) and the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME), published the set of standards known as Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing. The principles bring together 16 topics, including peer review, editorial board, copyright, conduct to deal with scientific misconduct, conflict of interest, revenue sources, advertising, and many others, covering virtually all aspects inherent to scientific publication. According to the website, the criteria derive mainly from those developed by the DOAJ in its creation in 2003. The participating organizations aim to disseminate the set of standards to their members in order to make more publishers follow the ethical principles that guide good practices in scientific communication, in addition to dedicating themselves to establishing standards of conduct in scientific publication and identifying principles of ethics and transparency that distinguish legitimate journals from non-legitimate – often fraudulent.

For more information on how to use the DOAJ database, please ckeck the quick guide. If you are interested in submitting material for analysis and possibly posting to the DOAJ, visit the Journal Application Form. To learn more, visit the Directory of Open Access Journal website.