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Improving the Transparency, Credibility and Impact of Open Access Journals
Abstract: From my perspective as Managing Director for the Directory of Open Access Journals, I will discuss the most important issues related to furthering the momentum of Gold Open Access Publishing. The issues I will discuss will be improving the transparency and credibility of Open Access Publishing and what a service like DOAJ tries to contribute in that regard. I will discuss the problems related to Hybrid Open Access publishing especially in relation to the way that the open access mandate United Kingdom has adopted, which has led to huge support to Hybrid OA-publishing at the expense of pure OA-publishing, which has given OA-publishing a bad name in the UK. As well I will discuss the need for marginalizing and eliminating the problem of unethical, questionable OA-publishers. Further I will discuss a number of future demands on Open Access journals in terms of providing more granular measures of impact (beyond the terrible Journal Impact Factor), the need for policies related to research data and related issues.
Keywords: DOAJ, Open Access, Credibility
Comments on this paper
Didi Rordorf
Comments on Lars' Presentation about DOAJ
Dear Lars,

I have gone through your presentation with a lot of interest. MDPI has been listing its journals with DOAJ since around 2008, including depositing metadata on an article-level, and most of the academic editors of MDPI journals are therefore likely aware of your database. MDPI has started to sponsor the DOAJ after we found that a similar project in India (Open J-Gate) suddenly disappeared from the Internet.

As you rightly note, one of the key challenges currently faced by open access journals is the lack of credibility. I think Publishers of open access journals have done a lot for the transparency of their operations, much more than traditional Publishers, but they are still viewed with more scepticiscm.

You note in your presentation that OA journals should be more transparent regarding a few aspects (your list: editorial process, peer-review process, rights (readers, reuse, remix), services provided to authors, archiving, discoverability, etc.).I think that this should apply universally to all Publishers, independent of their model of operation. But becaus of the inherent claims of "pay to publish" that open access journals face, it would be good to have a standardized *certification process*, i.e. a publisher would pay an organization such as DOAJ or OASPA for being certified. DOAJ/OASPA would send off someone to visit the Publisher with checklists to have a full picture of the operations of the publisher. This would then be the basis for a certification of operational quality. I understand that DOAJ has been working, at least partially, into this direction with the newly released application/evaluation form.

At MDPI we have also been working on a small database that will be released as part of soon, which will offer statistics about publishers and journals, and offer the scholarly community a place to publish their feedback and past experiences with particular journals. This should also help to render the discussion about journals more objective. We are intentionally also including the "worse" Publishers, so as the community can asses the impact of these shady publishing operations.

Finally, I would be interested to know a bit more about the usage of DOAJ - in case you are in a position to reveal this:
  • What is the monthly outreach of DOAJ in terms of pageviews?
  • Where are the users based (geographical location)
  • Do we have any idea about the type of users, i.e. is DOAJ primarily used by researchers, or is there a significant fraction of users from the general public as well?

Thank you for your presentation, Lars!


Matthias Burkhalter
Thanks for the Presentation
Dear Lars,

Thank you very much for presentation. I have read it with great interests and I look forward to the future of open access publishing.

Best regards,