Authority, Authors, Business Models, Commerce, Controversial Topics, Ethics, Open Access, Peer Review

Housecleaning at the Directory of Open Access Journals

Source: wikmedia.org

Source: wikmedia.org

Last week, Nature News & Comment ran a piece with the headline “Open-access website gets tough.” In it, author Richard Van Noorden reported that the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) is cleaning house: deleting all entries from its list and “asking all of the journals in its directory to reapply on the basis of stricter criteria.” This development seems clearly to come as the result of growing concern about “predatory” journals—publications that present themselves to potential authors as rigorous and high-quality scholarly open access (OA) journals but actually do little more than collect processing fees up front and then publish whatever is submitted, often without any peer review or even meaningful editorial oversight. Because there is great worldwide demand for the opportunity to place articles in peer-reviewed journals, and because setting up a fake “journal” is both cheap and relatively simple, the appearance and growth of such scams are hardly surprising. And while the DOAJ is a highly reputable resource, the law of large numbers would lead us to expect that at least some of these fake and dubious journals would find their way into that directory.

And so they have. In the Nature article, DOAJ founder Lars Bjørnshauge is quoted as saying that he expects “about 10% of journals [in the existing directory] will not be able to pass the reapplication.” This seems like a reasonable estimate, given that the DOAJ currently lists just under 10,000 journals and a recent study by Walt Crawford found that 904 of the titles tagged by Beall’s List as “potential, possible, or probable” predatory journals have entries in the current version of the DOAJ.

In order to establish each journal’s OA bona fides and to keep the scam artists out, the DOAJ’s new application form asks over 50 questions, including the following:

  • In what country is the publishing company legally registered?
  • How many research and review articles did the journal publish in the last calendar year?
  • What is the average number of weeks between submission and publication?
  • Which article identifiers does the journal use (DOI, Handles, ARK, etc.)?
  • Does the journal impose article processing and/or article submission charges?
  • Does the journal have a deposit policy registered with Sherpa/Romeo, OAKlist, Dulcinea, or other similar registry?

According to the application form, access embargoes of any length will disqualify a journal from inclusion; journals that put any content at all behind a pay wall (i.e. hybrid journals) are also excluded. Otherwise, little information is provided about how the various criteria will be weighted, and it appears that the decisions will be substantially subjective. At the head of the form is the following (slightly confusing and almost chiastic) notice: “All the information provided will help our Editorial Team with their assessment, to help them make an informed decision based on the information that you provide.” DOAJ has been recruiting volunteers–most of them librarians–to help with the review process.

In addition to inclusion in the directory, the DOAJ will also provide a DOAJ Seal to identify journals that meet a set of specific criteria related to “the openness, indexability and discoverability of the journal” (though the Seal explicitly has no bearing on “the scholarly quality of the papers published in the journal”).

The DOAJ’s response to the Nature piece has been rather defensive. Two days after it ran, the DOAJ blog published a response titled “Proactive Not Reactive,” pointing out that the “process of drafting new, tougher criteria started way before the so-called ‘Science sting’ which found problems in the peer review process of many of the questionable open access journals deliberately selected for the study.” A couple of days after that, when the DOAJ revamp was mentioned on the LIBLICENSE listserv and Scholarly Kitchen Chef Joe Esposito called attention to “the role of Jeffrey Beall in initiating a process that began this reformation,” the DOAJ’s Bjørnshauge reacted quickly and aggressively. “Beall did not initiate this process!” he said, pointing out that the DOAJ began reviewing its inclusion criteria in December of 2012—though it’s worth pointing out that by that point, Beall’s List had been exposing the problem of predatory publishers for a year. In fact, when the DOAJ initiative was announced in December of 2012, the announcement explicitly acknowledged that one of its goals was to “address the issue of publishers not living up to reasonable standards both in terms of content and of business behavior.” If Beall is not to get credit for bringing the scale and growth of that problem to light, I’m not sure who should.

At first, all of this touchiness struck me as entirely unnecessary. “Look,” I wanted to say to Bjørnshauge, “you’re doing the right thing. Everyone thinks you’re doing the right thing. We all approve of this housecleaning operation. Accept the praise and carry on with the good work.”

The more I think about it, though, the more I recognize the awkwardness that the DOAJ’s initiative creates for the OA community. Over the past few years, whenever anyone has brought up any kind of problem with an OA initiative or model, that community has consistently responded with a panoply of variations on the message “Move along, there’s nothing to see here.” But the DOAJ’s housecleaning plan implies, by its existence, that housecleaning at the DOAJ is needed—or, in other words, that predatory OA publishing is a real problem that deserves serious attention. So the message we are now getting is, “Beall is wrong to say we have a problem with predatory OA publishers and Bohannon is wrong to say we have a problem with lax or nonexistent peer review among OA journals, and besides, we’re going to help fix those problems by tightening the inclusion criteria at the DOAJ.”

What will be interesting to see—and hopefully the DOAJ will allow us to see it—is the acceptance/rejection ratio that emerges from the new application process and the tighter standards. Of course, the sample of publishers that apply for inclusion will be self-selected, meaning that many of the least scrupulous publishers will simply decide not to try. But since the DOAJ is not offering any specifics about how its new criteria will be weighted, it’s likely that at least some scam artists will take the gamble. And unless the DOAJ plans to make public the names of rejected journals, the downside of applying is nonexistent; if you’re rejected but can remain anonymous, you’re no worse off than you were before.

Let’s not lose sight of the bottom line, though: the revision and tightening of acceptance standards is a welcome and praiseworthy initiative on DOAJ’s part, and there is every reason to believe that this process will make an already valuable tool even better. Kudos to Bjørnshauge and his team for undertaking what promises to be a significant—and necessary—project.

[Update, March 2o15: On March 5, SPARC announced that DOAJ had finished revamping its inclusion standards, the details of which can be found here.]

About Rick Anderson

I'm Associate Dean for Collections and Scholarly Communication in the J. Willard Marriott Library at the University of Utah.

Discussion

53 thoughts on “Housecleaning at the Directory of Open Access Journals

  1. Sorry, but OA advocates have been worrying about predatory OA publishers from the word go. All credit to Beall for his work, and yes, DOAJ could have responded quicker had it had more resources, but please don’t try to rewrite history

    Posted by coppenheim | Aug 14, 2014, 5:35 am
    • In my posting, I provided a link to a page where you can see OA advocates saying things like “(these journals) are nothing to do with us” and “these journals never posed any sort of problem.” Can you provide examples of OA advocates raising the issue (rather than reacting to someone else raising it) and calling for action (rather than dismissing the issue or minimizing its importance)?

      Posted by Rick Anderson | Aug 14, 2014, 8:07 am
      • Hi Rick. You ask for an example of an OA advocate raising this issue and calling for action. See my article, “Ten Challenges for Open Access Journals,” first delivered as a keynote at the first OASPA meeting in September 2009. It has a whole section on scam journals. Excerpt: The Davis/Anderson sting in June 2009 “won’t drive all dishonest journals from the field, even if we wish it would. But it does help.”
        http://dash.harvard.edu/handle/1/4316131

        That’s my earliest but not my harshest coverage. I’ve used stronger language in many articles, interviews, and blog posts since then. In a post from December 2012, I said, “We should identify scam OA journals, shame them, and advise authors and readers against them.”

        In an interview with Richard Poynder I called the growth of scam journals “cancerous”.
        http://poynder.blogspot.com/2013/07/peter-suber-on-state-of-open-access.html

        Which reminds me: While Beall has undoubtedly done the most to raise the visibility of this issue, for which he deserves congratulations, I don’t think he was the first. For that I’d point to Richard Poynder, who also deserves congratulations. See Poynder’s interviews with Bentham (April 2008), Dove Medical Press (November 2008), Libertas Academica (January 2009), Sciyo (February 2010), InTech (October 2011), and OMICS (December 2011). I’m sure you can find the links from his site or Google. If not, I’ve collected them in the supplements to my book for page 50.
        http://bit.ly/oa-book#p50

        Posted by Peter Suber | Aug 14, 2014, 5:55 pm
        • Thanks very much for these comments, Peter — and you’re right that both you and Richard Poynder deserve credit for your work on this issue. In this regard, I very much wish that you and he weren’t such an exception to the rule.

          Posted by Rick Anderson | Aug 14, 2014, 7:21 pm
  2. So the message we are now getting is, “Beall is wrong to say we have a problem with predatory OA publishers and Bohannon is wrong to say we have a problem with lax or nonexistent peer review among OA journals, and besides, we’re going to help fix those problems by tightening the inclusion criteria at the DOAJ.”

    I would say, rather: Beall is wrong to say the problem with predatory publishers is limited to OA publishers; and Bohannon is wrong to say the problem with lax or nonexistent peer review is limited to OA journals. The DOAJ housekeeping is intended to raise the bar for OA journals and publishers above the status quo.

    Posted by Mike Taylor | Aug 14, 2014, 5:48 am
    • I never said that — don’t put words in my mouth. I’ve made it very clear that I choose to limit my work to OA journals, sort of like you limiting your hobby to vertebrae and not the entire skeleton.

      Posted by Jeffrey Beall | Aug 14, 2014, 8:07 am
    • Mike, I’m not aware that Beall or Bohannon has said either of those things — can you point us to quotes from them to that effect?

      Posted by Rick Anderson | Aug 14, 2014, 8:11 am
      • The Open-Access Movement is Not Really about Open Access

        “The gold open-access model actually inventivizes corruption, which speed[sic] the path the failure. The traditional publishing model, where publishers lived or died on subscriptions, encouraged quality and innovation.” (page 590, paragraph 3).

        “The gold open-access model in particular is flawed; there are only a few publishers that employ the model ethically, and many of these are cutting corners and lowering their standards because they don’t have to fear losing subscribers.” (page 591, paragraph 7).

        “Traditional [i.e. non-OA] journals didn’t have the built-in conflict of interest that gold open-access journals have.” (page 596, paragraph 4).

        “predatory publishers – a product of the open-access movement” … “The [open-access] movement has fostered corruption on a grand scale.” (page 596, paragraph 6).

        I have thought you’d be familiar with that article.

        Posted by Mike Taylor | Aug 14, 2014, 8:31 am
        • In this context one can also remind the world of this masterpiece: http://poynder.blogspot.com/2012/07/oa-interviews-jeffrey-beall-university.html

          “RP: How do you define a predatory publisher?
          JB: Predatory publishers are those that unprofessionally exploit the gold open-access model for their own profit.”
          (…)
          “RP: Is there such a thing as a subscription-based predatory publisher?
          JB: No, not according to my definition of predatory publisher.”

          Choosing to limit one’s work to specific area of a given problem is one thing, but coining definitions in order to give the impression that the given problem limits itself to the specific area is something quite different.

          To use mr. Beall’s own analogy: mr. Beall is not limiting his skeletal hobby to vertebrae, he insists that skeletons consists of vertebrae alone.

          (by the way, that reminds me of a strange habit of some people to insist that article processing charges are something essentially and radically different from page charges, but that’s entirely different story)

          Posted by Tomasz Lewandowski | Aug 14, 2014, 9:31 am
        • Mike: None of those quotes amounts to a statement that predation is limited to OA publishers. All of them say that predation–at least, what Beall defines as predation–is a particular problem in the OA publishing community. Those are two very different statements.

          Tomasz: The quote you’ve found actually does make it seem that Beall sees predation as a purely Gold OA phenomenon; thanks for that. So then I guess the next question is: do you (or Mike) disagree that what Beall calls “predation” is exclusively a Gold OA phenomenon? Can you provide examples of non-OA publishers doing what Beall characterizes as predation?

          Posted by Rick Anderson | Aug 14, 2014, 9:50 am
          • disclaimer: my post was still awaiting moderation when mr. Anderson posted his, so he wasn’t referring to quotes from mr. Poynder’s interview, at least I suppose so.

            Posted by Tomasz Lewandowski | Aug 14, 2014, 10:07 am
          • Rick: That’s entirely different question.

            In fact, the only reason I insisted that mr. Beall stated propositions that seem to imply that he thinks that what we call “predation” limits to OA journals is that he denied it in relatively strong terms, with wording seemingly aimed to ridicule the opposing disputant.
            (as a matter of fact he also stated similarly here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wBwgj5lc0dE, with the storytelling being something like “OA is a very positive movement, but unfortunately some publishers have decided to exploit one of the main distributions models which I call the gold OA model and those are the predatory publishers” at around 1:40)

            The obvious fact is that OA junk journals are numerous and quite (in)famous, while TA junk journals are (almost) inheard of.

            We may note here that predation among subscription-based journals is not an unimaginable “bussines model”. As a matter of fact, from my own experience I can recall something very close to this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hakin9#DICKS_hoax Of course, the magazine in question (as well as numerous child-magazines from the same stable) is not a peer-reviewed scientific journal, it is a trade magazine. BUT it claims to undertake a form of proof-read, which is in fact a blind peer-review among not-exlusively-academical pool of experts. The magazine is making considerable money by spamming would-be authors, receiving their submissions for free (mostly… from India and Middle East), executing the publishing process in Central Europe and selling their subscriptions in Western Europe and USA (their prices are stated in dollars).

            There are rumors of similarly ran TA academic journals in Russia, but I never had time and opportunity to investigate it. In fact, hardly anyone did – and here J. Beall has his advantage, because it’s his hard work of several years alone (or almost alone) that made the case of “predatory OA publishers” a loud one.

            And here we arrive to hypothesis no. 1: We know virtually nothing about TA predatory journals, because virtually noone but mr. Beall investigates those kind of problems and he arbitrarily chose (at least as far as in 2012) to investigate only and exlusively OA journals.

            Maybe the one who does investigate the semi-legendary Russian Predatory Journals will eventually become the new Jeffrey Beall of “anti-corporatist activist movement”? A clash between Captain America and Captain Russia comes to mind.
            But I find it unprobable. TA predatory journals are just less promising “bussiness model” that OA journals.
            It seems to me that it can be profitable only under two conditions:
            1) OA is little heard of (Mars maybe?) AND
            2) where individual persons tend to pay for subscriptions (because institutions are much more hard to trick)

            I don’t think that even Russia is such a place right now.

            But we come close to hypothesis no. 2. Observe that right now almost everywhere the exact opposite of the two conditions stated seems to take place:

            1′) OA is top-debated topic
            2′) individual persons tend to pay for APCs (or, at least, it is not unheard of)

            Predatory publishers are nothing but sneaky weasels: they are utilizng the Gold OA model because this is the right time to do so. In other times they would be selling philosopher stones. (note that a historical fact of philosopher stones tells us nothing about trustworthiness of a theory that water can be synthetised from thin air).

            Note that neither of above conditions are essential to Gold OA. They are “signs of our times” – or rather, they are properties of a given situation rather than of a given bussiness model: the model is new and still clumsy. Would it be well-known and well-developed (as it grows to be), the same weasels would be selling something else to the unwary.

            The truth is, I think, somewhere between two above hypothesis. Dig deep enough, and you will surely find some TA predatory publishers even among academics. Than again, almost surely purely predatory journals would not be numerous. They are just not trendy enough.

            P.S. That stated, I think that scams in TA are just hidden better: there seems to be many unethical publications scattered among journals that are, as a matter of fact, rather well-behaved, or at least not entirely fake (maybe apart from a bunch of homeopathy journals, but that’s different: the theory behind is what seems to be the problem, not the journal alone or scholars publishing in them). But the mechanism is different, the actor is different and the story is entirely different.

            Posted by Tomasz Lewandowski | Aug 14, 2014, 11:14 am
            • Predatory publishers are nothing but sneaky weasels: they are utilizng the Gold OA model because this is the right time to do so.

              They are using the Gold OA model because it is structurally suited to this particular type of predatory scam. They typically offer authors two fundamental services (rigorous review and prestigious publication); they require payment from the authors up front; and then they fail to provide the first promised service at all and provide only a deceptive simulacrum of the second. This kind of behavior is not well suited to a model in which you’re selling a final product to consumers. That — not a conspiracy of defamation against OA — is why this issue comes up specifically in the context of Gold OA publishing. The OA community’s unwillingness to acknowledge the structural conflict of interest inherent in this model (one in which the publisher makes more money the more articles it accepts) is one of the reasons it’s been so difficult to discuss the issue in a reasonable way.

              Posted by Rick Anderson | Aug 14, 2014, 11:32 am
          • do you (or Mike) disagree that what Beall calls “predation” is exclusively a Gold OA phenomenon? Can you provide examples of non-OA publishers doing what Beall characterizes as predation?

            By definition, no-one can provide non-OA examples of what Beall characterizes as predation. He set it up that way. But more broadly, see my 2013 post Predatory publishers: a real problem.

            Posted by Mike Taylor | Aug 14, 2014, 11:33 am
            • Then are you disagreeing with his definition of predation? I have to wonder, given that you’re on the record as saying that what Beall calls predatory OA publishing is “not troubling,” that these publishers “are nothing to do with us” (by which I assume you mean the OA community), and that they are not “our problem.”

              Posted by Rick Anderson | Aug 14, 2014, 11:39 am
              • What I said (and here I quote directly from the comment I left on your blog) was: “Yes, we know that there is a significant population of journals being published on a scam basis under the banner of OA. This isn’t troubling, because we ignore them.”

                That strategy has successfully prevented me, or anyone I know, giving money to a predatory OA publisher: see my tutorial on how to avoid giving your work to a “predatory open access publisher”.

                Meanwhile, many of my colleagues have repeatedly given their work to subscription publishers who have locked that work up where most of the world’s population, and many researchers, can’t see it. In more than one occasion, the authors themselves have been unable to access it. (And some of those same publishers are suing Delhi University — actively preventing education in the name of increasing profits.)

                So my experience, and that of everyone I know, is that no OA publisher they’ve dealt with has acted in a predatory way, but every subscription publisher has done.

                Posted by Mike Taylor | Aug 14, 2014, 11:44 am
                • “Yes, we know that there is a significant population of journals being published on a scam basis under the banner of OA. This isn’t troubling, because we ignore them.”

                  Then how did over 900 of them find their way into the DOAJ? That doesn’t seem like ignoring them to me.

                  Posted by Rick Anderson | Aug 14, 2014, 11:50 am
                  • Dunno. Wasn’t me.

                    That’s what the DOAJ is fixing right now, isn’t it? Doesn’t it seem a little churlish to beat them with the very stick they are burning?

                    Posted by Mike Taylor | Aug 14, 2014, 11:51 am
                    • Dunno. Wasn’t me.

                      So it sounds like what you meant to say was “This isn’t troubling because _I_ ignore them.”

                      Doesn’t it seem a little churlish to beat them with the very stick they are burning?

                      I’m not beating up on DOAJ here — if you’ll read the posting above, you’ll see that I’m praising them for addressing the problem. What I’m pointing out is that, at the very moment you were arguing that predatory OA journals aren’t a problem because the OA community ignores them, that community was actively directing people towards those journals. (I should also point out the absurdity of suggesting that ignoring a problem is sufficient to make the problem “not troubling.”)

                      Posted by Rick Anderson | Aug 14, 2014, 12:01 pm
                    • “Dunno. Wasn’t me.”

                      So it sounds like what you meant to say was “This isn’t troubling because _I_ ignore them.”

                      Let me just repeat what I said above, with the key parts bolded for the hard of reading:

                      That strategy [ignoring] has successfully prevented me, or anyone I know, giving money to a predatory OA publisher […] So my experience, and that of everyone I know, is that no OA publisher they’ve dealt with has acted in a predatory way, but every subscription publisher has done.

                      Posted by Mike Taylor | Aug 14, 2014, 12:05 pm
                    • And if you (and everyone you know) comprised more than a microscopic minority of the scholarly publishing community, then your assessment of the significance of predatory OA publishing would be right on.

                      Posted by Rick Anderson | Aug 14, 2014, 12:07 pm
                    • Extrapolate out the hit rate of zero predatory-OA victims among a couple of hundred. Extrapolate it out to as big a population as you like. Better still, extrapolate it to every researcher who has enough research skills to spend five minutes researching a journal before submitting to it.

                      “Predatory OA journals” are exactly like Nigerian 419 scams. We can all regret that they exist, and with that they didn’t. But they pose no threat to anyone who takes the trouble to be even very slightly discerning. Once more, see my tutorial.

                      Posted by Mike Taylor | Aug 14, 2014, 12:11 pm
            • The sense of “predatory in your blog post is quite different from what Beall and others are talking about with respect to OA journals, so what’s the relevance? Publishers have perfectly good reasons to go to court to defend their copyrights, which is a standard business practice that every publisher engages in. If you want to lump all publishers that sue for copyright infringement together as “predatory,” that’s your prerogative, but it has nothing to do with the scams that some OA journals are perpetrating.

              Posted by Sandy Thatcher | Aug 14, 2014, 12:46 pm
  3. It would be wrong to compare the new DOAJ listing with the old one and claim the difference was a measure of predation (whatever that means). Not meeting these new criteria does not make one a crook.

    And while Beale no doubt contributed to the awareness of this problem I doubt there is any sense in which he initiated the DOAJ process. “Initiate” is just the wrong word. The OA community has done a lot of work on these criteria. See my https://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2013/06/20/doaj-in-transition-interview-with-lars-bjornshauge-managing-editor/.

    Posted by David Wojick | Aug 14, 2014, 6:40 am
  4. Unlike the rest of us who submit papers to real journals for consideration through peer review or by an editor, Walt Crawford self-publishes a pretend journal that he uses to personally attack those he disagrees with. Much of what he’s written about me in his self-published “journal” can only be classified as hate speech. No authentic scholarly journal would ever accept the hate-filled articles he’s self-published.

    In fact, someone — perhaps Crawford himself — edited the Wikipedia article about me, adding hateful text backed up with “citations” from Crawford’s silly journal, but the edits were disallowed and reverted by Wikipedia administrators, for the encyclopedia does not permit such self-published works to be used as sources.

    Crawford’s hubris is amazing. He exempts himself from having to have his work vetted by peers, and he packages his personal vendettas in the genre of scholarship. It’s hardly surprising that the increasingly irrelevant DOAJ is clinging onto Crawford for support.

    I am will not be deterred by these petty attacks and will continue to help researchers all over the world avoid submitting their work to predatory journals, including the predatory journals listed by DOAJ.

    Posted by Jeffrey Beall | Aug 14, 2014, 7:29 am
  5. According to the application form, access embargoes of any length will disqualify a journal from inclusion; journals that put any content at all behind a pay wall (i.e. hybrid journals) are also excluded.

    This, to me, is a disappointing and counterproductive approach. There are journals doing interesting experiments with new business models that will be excluded here. For example, BioMed Central’s Genome Biology journal makes all research articles fully OA, yet also writes news and opinion articles and review articles and requires a subscription to read them to help pay for the generation of such useful content and to potentially reduce costs for authors. Under the new DOAJ rules, the journal won’t be included, despite the excellent job it does making research papers fully accessible to the world.

    This seems a very rigid approach to me, strictly limiting journals to following one particular orthodoxy, rather than rewarding innovation done in the name of furthering access.

    Posted by David Crotty | Aug 14, 2014, 8:25 am
    • Yes; it would be nice if this part of the policy was refined to omit hybrid journals (as is evidently intended) while not excluding journals whose research is all OA but which also include non-research.

      Posted by Mike Taylor | Aug 14, 2014, 8:32 am
      • Why is it important to omit hybrid journals? Why not include them under their own category and clearly state what they are? Are freely available articles licensed under CC-BY in a hybrid journal somehow not open access?

        Posted by David Crotty | Aug 14, 2014, 8:36 am
        • Well, I will try not to get sucked into speaking for the DOAJ! But …

          My own take is that hybrid journals are greatly inferior to all-OA journals but that I’d have no great problem the DOAJ listing them separately from OA journals.

          But maybe we should avoid getting sidetracked into discussing Hybrid at this point? I’ll leave you to make a closing statement on the subject if you wish, and I’ll restrain myself from replying.

          Posted by Mike Taylor | Aug 14, 2014, 8:40 am
          • I guess I take the point of view that access is access, and if you want research published in this manner, then a directory that helps authors find appropriate outlets should include all the appropriate outlets, rather than just those that follow one particular dogmatic approach.

            Posted by David Crotty | Aug 14, 2014, 8:47 am
            • Yes; but unlike you, DOAJ is (among other things) a pro-OA advocacy organisation.

              [Darn it, broke my don’t-reply pledge!]

              Posted by Mike Taylor | Aug 14, 2014, 8:49 am
              • But are they “pro-OA” or “pro-strictly-one-limited-definition-and-methodology-for-providing-OA”?

                Posted by David Crotty | Aug 14, 2014, 8:57 am
                • At the risk of both prolonging a sidetrack I said I wouldn’t perpetuate and speaking for an organisation whose inner workings and policies I don’t know …

                  My guess is that their goal is universal OA, and they they perceive hybrid journals as either a slow route towards, or even an impediment to ever reaching, that goal.

                  And with that, I really will stop speculating.

                  Posted by Mike Taylor | Aug 14, 2014, 9:00 am
        • Thomson Reuters is using the DOAJ listing for filtering of Open Access articles on their new InCites Platform. This is unfortunate because they too will be excluding OA content in their analytic tools. That said, as of right now, they are not getting useful metadata tags for OA on an article level so you’ve got to start somewhere.

          Posted by Angela Cochran | Aug 14, 2014, 9:32 am
    • My journal offers hybrid gold open access because some of our authors’ organizations require it. We do so as a service to our authors and, admittedly, as an effort to keep good authors publishing with us. The articles follow exactly the same strict review process — I am not involved in the access decision — and, if accepted (46% rate), are placed online immediately and totally open.

      How are we any different from a “pure” OA journal? If somebody is looking to publish OA, why are we placed at a disadvantage by not being on the DOAJ list?

      Posted by Ken Lanfear | Aug 14, 2014, 11:09 am
  6. Do the new criteria for inclusion on DOAJ require the CC-BY license only as a condition for inclusion?

    Posted by Sandy Thatcher | Aug 14, 2014, 10:13 am
    • The application form lists a variety of CC licenses as well as an “other” field. But to receive their “seal” one must use CC-BY or CC-BY-NC.

      Posted by David Crotty | Aug 14, 2014, 10:23 am
  7. People who are interested in this discussion, might also be interested in Quality Open Access Market; http://www.qoam.eu.

    Posted by Leo Waaijers | Aug 14, 2014, 10:51 am
  8. Rick, you use the term “OA community” or “that community.” Can you clarify what exactly you mean by that terminology?

    Posted by Laura Bowering Mullen | Aug 15, 2014, 12:52 am
    • Certainly. I’m referring collectively to those individuals and organizations that advocate and/or lobby on behalf of open access.

      Posted by Rick Anderson | Aug 15, 2014, 8:55 am
  9. Housecleaning is must to maintain the credibility of any list/indexing service. As a result of Bohannon’s fake paper scandal, OASPA did housecleaning. OASPA terminated the membership of Dove Press and Hikari, as a result of Bohannon’s fake paper. (http://oaspa.org/oaspas-second-statement-following-the-article-in-science-entitled-whos-afraid-of-peer-review/)

    DOAJ has removed 114 OA journals by a similar housecleaning activity (I believe that DOAJ’s housecleaning activity was accelerated by Bohannon’s fake paper). I also believe that ISI TR, Ebsco, Proquest, etc have also included these criteria during their evaluation process. Housecleaning is necessary. I support it.

    So it seems that OASPA, DOAJ, ISI, Ebsco, etc should do housecleaning depending on ‘Beall’s list”. Yes we agree or do not agree this true that Beall’s list is used as Gold Standard for any housecleaning activity. Even application of indexing of new journals are outright get rejected, if that new journal’s name is available in Beall’s list. (One publisher shared this information but for confidentiality I can not disclose further information). So now we got a “GOLD Standard”.

    But I want to know whether Beall has made any house cleaning??? Bohannon’s paper proved that predatory publishers exist and he proved that Beall was successful to point out them. But at the same time Bohannon’s paper proved that Beall was unsuccessful to do Housecleaning. The results showed that neither the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), nor Beall’s List are accurate in detecting which journals are likely to provide peer review. And while Bohannon reports that Beall was good at spotting publishers with poor quality control (82% of publishers on his list accepted the manuscript). That means that Beall is falsely accusing nearly one in five as being a ”potential, possible, or probable predatory scholarly open access publisher” on appearances alone.” Please see my analysis here where I have proved how Bohannon and Beall were wrong in some points: http://scholarlyoadisq.wordpress.com/2013/10/09/who-is-afraid-of-peer-review-sting-operation-of-the-science-some-analysis-of-the-metadata/)

    As of today, I can safely say that Beall is reluctant in Housecleaning. Yes I have some proofs.

    He is quite reluctant to remove any name. For example, for removal of any entry it requires advises of 4 member advisory board. As per his blog, ‘Appeals are limited to one every 60 days’. But inclusion can happen within few minutes by a single person. More examples required? “Appeals” page was initially placed prominently in the banner of the blog. Result: Everyday lots of discussion/request were available in that page. Then slowly he placed that page in “other pages” with some other entries. At the end he silently placed the link ‘appeal’ at the end of this very very long page “http://scholarlyoa.com/publishers/”.
    Result: Now very few discussion/request is coming in this page.

    Posted by a301khan | Aug 15, 2014, 7:10 am
  10. 1) The problem with Beall’s list is that he is not fighting against OA predatory publishers but against a conspirancy of – mostly European – collectivists, see his article: http://triplec.at/index.php/tripleC/article/view/525/514

    2) It would be a big step forward if databases like WoS or Scopus would be transparent in their journal selection criteria as DOAJ now is.

    Posted by Falk Reckling | Aug 16, 2014, 10:56 am
  11. Reblogged this on Libraries are for Use and commented:
    This is interesting news from DOAJ. I’ve been concerned about using this source in our Ejournals list and our Summon. It will be interesting to compare the difference pre- and post-revision.

    Posted by Karen R. Harker, MLS, MPH | Aug 20, 2014, 5:29 pm
  12. Reblogged this on Atlibber and commented:
    This post by Rick Anderson, and the comments that follow, is an excellent introduction to the conversation about the quality of Open Access Journals. The comments include a conversation joined by important voices like Peter Suber, Richard Poynder, and Jeffrey Beall (of Beall’s list).

    Posted by atlibber | Aug 21, 2014, 9:51 am
  13. Rick, you wrote:

    “What will be interesting to see—and hopefully the DOAJ will allow us
    to see it—is the acceptance/rejection ratio that emerges from the new
    application process and the tighter standards. … And unless the DOAJ
    plans to make public the names of rejected journals, the downside of
    applying is nonexistent; if you’re rejected but can remain anonymous,
    you’re no worse off than you were before.”

    Just to confirm for readers that we currently publish lists of
    journals added and removed, as well as a list of rejected applications
    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/183mRBRqs2jOyP0qZWXN8dUd02D4vL0Mov_kgYF8HORM/edit?usp=sharing

    . We will soon add a page showing journals that have failed to pass
    the reapplication process once that kicks off later this year.

    And, just for the record: from the very outset DOAJ lists only fully OA-journals, that is journals without embargo and hybrid journals are as well not included.

    Posted by Lars Bjørnshauge | Aug 28, 2014, 3:19 am
    • This is great, Lars — thanks for providing the link to the list and for your commitment to making the acceptance and rejection process transparent.

      Posted by Rick Anderson | Aug 28, 2014, 11:07 am
  14. Rick Anderson writes: “… little information is provided about how the various criteria will be weighted, and it appears that the decisions will be substantially subjective. At the head of the form is the following … notice: ‘All the information provided will help our Editorial Team with their assessment, to help them make an informed decision based on the information that you provide.’ ”

    Yes, I agree with this observation, but it is a problem people at DOAJ make themselves. I solved that problem.


    First, we have to distinguish between the QUESTIONS in the new application form (http://doaj.org/application/new) from the CRITERIA for inclusion into the database.

    We find the CRITERIA for inclusion in the DOAJ from a careful study of DOAJ’s whole web page. Especially with:
    http://doaj.org/about
    http://doaj.org/publishers
    but also with hints put into the application form:
    http://doaj.org/application/new

    Unfortunately, DOAJ has another view. In an e-mail from DOAJ I was told: “DOAJ has said from the beginning that the new criteria would eventually become the questions in the application form. Today, the new criteria ARE the application form. We haven’t received very much feedback from the community indicating that it does not understand this …”

    I know the people at DOAJ are positively thinking and are in many cases just collecting information. Blacklister, on the contrary, would quickly find a “wrong” answer to e.g. these DOAJ application questions:

    10) Contact’s email address?
    12) In which country is the publisher of the journal based?

    Furthermore DOAJ wrote: “When DOAJ started on the process of upgrading the criteria at the end
    of 2012, we said openly that it would be an evolving process and not just a one-off. The nature of open access publishing does not allow us to draw lines in the sand. We are always ready to reassess our decisions at DOAJ and we do that with the assistance of our advisory board.” In other words: There is no clear answer for inclusion in the database and things can even change over time. DOAJ has no intension to make its criteria crystal clear to applicants. This would allow DOAJ also to pass one applicant and to ban another who is giving the very same answers.


    THINGS COULD BE SO EASY. I have put all this together on DOAJ’s blog. You find everything related to:
    “What Your Journal MUST HAVE for acceptance” and
    “Your Journal SHOULD HAVE for acceptance (RECOMMENDED)”
    here: http://doajournals.wordpress.com/2014/05/22/daj-publishes-lists-of-journals-removed-and-added/comment-page-1/#comment-2

    DOAJ has released my information on its blog, but does not support it officially, although it is all collected from their own pages. In an e-mail from DOAJ I was told:

    “… we are in a difficult position re a list of basic criteria: if we published one, it would be open to abuse”

    I do not see this possible abuse. DOAJ has set up the application form very well and logical. In almost all cases it is such that a question also demands a link to a web page supporting the answer. Without support there will be no credit from DOAJ. A publisher can not lie on the journal’s web page. Readers and authors will demand what is offered there.

    DOAJ’s application form is so straight forward that the DOAJ Seal can be decided upon automatically. From the application form: “The Seal will be awarded to a journal by the DOAJ Editorial staff depending on the information provided in the application form.”


    The application form can support even more than the simple DOAJ Seal. I propose DOAJ POINTS:

    http://doajournals.wordpress.com/2014/08/08/proactive-not-reactive/comment-page-1/#comment-41

    The idea was released also on DOAJ’s blog (but again without official support). A journal indexed in the DOAJ can obtain between 0 and 20 DOAJ POINTS. In the same way as the DOAJ SEAL, the DOAJ POINTS follow from the entry in the DOAJ without any further human consideration. In a mathematical sense, the DOAJ POINTS follow from a function.

    Valuable, simple, and objective Open Access characteristics are selected from the application form to define the DOAJ POINTS. DOAJ POINTS try to measure best practice in Open Access publishing. The points have nothing to do with scholarly quality of the papers published in the journal, journal impact, prestige, or the like.

    Posted by Dieter Scholz | Sep 10, 2014, 8:04 pm

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