Wednesday, August 01, 2007

DOAJ Review for The Charleston Advisor: Request for Comments

I am working on a review of The Directory of Open Access Journals for the October 2007 issue of The Charleston Advisor (TCA).

Comments from libraries, publishers, members, and sponsors of DOAJ would be most appreciated.

TCA is a peer-reviewed publication, with a primary focus on review of products of interest to libraries. Some articles in each TCA issue are open access, particularly those on open access initiatives (kudos to TCA for inviting reviews on OA products and initiatives).

TCA uses a 5-star rating system (with 5 stars representing the highest possible rating), based on 4 elements: Content, Searchability, Pricing, and Contract Options.

I have a particular interest in exploring economic models for sustainability of open access initiatives. Your comments on the DOAJ membership / sponsorship model would be most appreciated. Better yet - why not have your library or organization sign up as a member or sponsor now, and render the question moot?

Some preliminary thoughts on the elements:

1. Content: is DOAJ sufficiently comprehensive, and does the vetting process result in a list that we can trust for certain elements of quality, particularly peer review and open access status? How does DOAJ as a package of journals compare with subscription packages?

2. Searchability: can you find what you need on DOAJ? Is it easy or hard? Are there types of searches not currently supported that you would like to see?

3. Pricing: free access cannot be beat! However, here is where comments on the membership / sponsorship model would fit. One way to think of this: how does the cost of DOAJ membership compare with libraries paying for staffing to manage this kind of list on their own? Organizations in developing countries have expressed an interest in membership, but the initial suggestions do not fit their circumstances. Is there a way of defining a membership contribution that makes sense everywhere? How about a suggested membership fee based on X number of average days' salary? That is, DOAJ could calculate the initial suggestion based on number of day's salary, based on average salaries in Sweden. An organization in a developing country could then calculate the same amount of salary time based on salaries in their own country, and be confident that their contribution, while different in dollar amount, is fully equivalent to the contributions of others.

4. Contract options: this element may be more obvious with subscription resources, but is important with OA resources as well. Do we know everything we need to know about how we can use the resources in DOAJ? Journals and articles are free to read, of course - but what about inclusion in coursepacks or e-reserves, distribution in class?

Please post comments by August 12, or send to:
Heather Morrison
heatherm dot eln dot bc dot ca

Updated August 12, 2007


Klaus said...

And users of DOAJ??

Most journals in DOAJ are definitively not OA according BBB, see

Heather Morrison said...

Of course, comments by users of DOAJ are most welcome!

The journal (in DOAJ) I participate in as an editor (Partnership: the Canadian Journal of Library and Information Practice and Research), does use Creative Commons licensing. This licensing is not fully open as per Budapest, i.e. no commercial use or derivatives are permitted. An important point, thanks Klaus.

Heather Morrison said...

The definition of open access used by DOAJ is:

We define open access journals as journals that use a funding model that does not charge readers or their institutions for access. From the BOAI definition [1] of "open access" we take the right of users to "read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles" as mandatory for a journal to be included in the directory. (From the DOAJ About page, at:]

DOAJ communicates with journals identified for inclusion, to verify that the criteria are met. It is reasonable to assume that any journal listed in DOAJ is open access according to the DOAJ definition.

Creative Commons licensing would be preferable, of course, however CC licensing is not a necessary condition for a work to be open access.