DOAJ Survey Tracks Global Trends in Open Access Publishing

Whether or not open access is a viable model for the future is a topic of hot debate. The current standoff between Elsevier and a number of European institutions is one example of this uncertain future for academic publishing. A new survey of publishers from the Directory of Open Access Journals reveals data on the current trends in open access publishing. In this article, we explore the results of this survey and see how open access is impacting researchers and academic journals alike.

What is the Directory of Open Access Journals?

In 2003, Lund University in Sweden launched the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) to help researchers find open access journals and articles. Because the DOAJ maintains strict standards for which journals and articles are listed, researchers who use the database can be assured that they are viewing and citing reliable, quality sources. The DOAJ is easy to use, with keywords and other metadata tags organizing the articles.

DOAJ Publisher Survey Reveals Surprising Global Trends

In the summer of 2018, the DOAJ sent out a survey to more than 6,000 of its account holders (publishers). The survey returned a total of 1,065 responses. The respondents were questioned based on their geographical data, type of publishing organization, DOIs for articles, and article metadata. It also asked respondents to discuss the benefits of DOAJ-indexing.

The findings, compared to the last survey in 2013, revealed some interesting new trends. Eight out of the top ten publishers indexed were commercial publishers. The survey found that open access in Indonesia has jumped dramatically in the last five years. In 2013, just 9 survey responses came from Indonesia, while the 2018 survey had 155. This was the largest number of responses from any single country. On the other hand, the number of Indian responses fell drastically. In 2013, there were 101 respondents from India, compared to just 11 in 2018. It is also worth noting that the number of Indian journals in the index fell by 389 during this same time period.

The number of respondents using DOIs jumped from 35% to 73%. The DOAJ, however, highlighted a different opinion. Not all 73% of publishers surveyed had fully functioning DOI technology. The amount of metadata for articles increased as well, with 84% of respondents indicating they provide article metadata. However, 42% of all respondents said they were unclear as to what article metadata meant.

Benefits of DOAJ Listing and the Future of Open Access

More than 70% of respondents indicated that submissions to their journals showed subsequent increase due to DOAJ-indexing. 70% stated that their website traffic had also increased. ”Increased readership” and “increased scientific impact” were listed as two of the top three benefits of being indexed in the DOAJ. In fact, the DOAJ has become a foundation for other services, such as the Open Access Journal Finder (OAJF) run by Enago Academy. The OAJF uses a validated journal index provided by the DOAJ to enable researchers to find articles relevant to their own work.

Overall, the survey reveals that open access publishing is quite effective at increasing readership, submissions, and scientific impact. The abundance of commercial publishers producing open access articles is a good sign. It increases the amount of research available to scientists. Finally, it seems that developing countries are increasing their open access journals. However, they still need to update their technology to effectively make use of DOIs.

Do you use the DOAJ? What do you think of the survey results? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


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