Research4Life to partner with DOAJ to ensure the inclusion of quality open-access journals

DOAJ-03Research4Life and DOAJ announced today a working partnership that will help to ensure that the users of Research4Life will have access to the largest possible array of open access journals from publishers following a quality standard. The partnership will also help highlight the importance of peer reviewed open access material. The partnership reinforces the work that both organizations are already doing, and creates useful new synergies.

DOAJ is a white list of open access journals which seeks to increase the visibility and ease of use of open access scientific and scholarly journals, thereby promoting their increased usage and impact. The DOAJ aims to be comprehensive and cover all open access scientific and scholarly journals that use a quality control system to guarantee the content.

For some time now, the content team at Reasearch4Life, coordinated by Kimberly Parker of the World Health Organization, has seen an increasing amount of requests from open access publishers, particularly in the developing world, wanting to have their content included in the Research4Life programme portals which reach 8000 institutions spread over 100 low- and middle-income countries. The Research4Life team performs some basic checks on what content is included into its database and they are already sifting these applications to establish legitimate journals – work which has synergy with what DOAJ is doing in this area. Kimberly said: “We were already using DOAJ listings as a touchstone in assessing conformance with publishing standards; however, we hadn’t formalized the approach. In particular, we were not recommending that the publishers we turned away should review the DOAJ application requirements and work to fulfil them.”

DOAJ has built an expertise over more than eleven years in assessing and identifying quality, genuine open access journals, developing extensive criteria aimed at promoting best practice and transparency in academic publishing. Those criteria form the basis of the Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing, a statement first published in 2013 and now widely used as a benchmark for quality, peer reviewed publishing.

The partnership between Research4Life and DOAJ will include the following activities.

  • From December 2015, Research4Life will only include new open access journals that are indexed in DOAJ. Journals requesting to be included in the Research4Life programmes must be indexed in DOAJ first. Over the coming year, the legacy open access journals in the Research4Life database will also be reviewed to confirm they are indexed by DOAJ.
  • Research4Life and DOAJ will collaborate on communicating with publishers not indexed in DOAJ referring them to the DOAJ application form.
  • Research4Life will highlight the DOAJ Best Practice statement for authors from the developing world to encourage them to consider publishing standards when selecting a journal for their publications.

Richard Gedye, Chair of Research4Life’s Executive Council, said:

I am happy that Research4Life can partner with DOAJ to ensure that high quality open access titles, particularly from the developing world, gain exposure through the Research4Life programmes. This is a wonderful opportunity to play to the strengths of both organizations.
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