Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Friday, August 22, 2008

New journals spotlight

The following open access journals were published on the Libertas Academica website today.
  • Cell Communication Insights, (Editor in Chief: Dr Tobias Schmid, Research Group Leader, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-University)
  • Gene Expression to Genetical Genomics, (Editor in Chief: Dr Shiva Singh, Distinguished University Professor and Professor of Molecular Genetics, University of Western Ontario)
  • Human Parasitic Diseases, (Editor in Chief: Dr Ashley Croft, Consultant in Public Health Medicine, Headquarters 5th Division, and Visiting Fellow at the Effective Health Care Consortium at Liverpool University)
  • International Journal of Cell Division, (Editor in Chief: Dr Fiorenza Ianzini, Assistant Professor of Pathology, Biomedical Engineering and Radiation Oncology, University of Iowa)
  • International Journal of Pain, (Editor in Chief: Dr David Fishbain, Professor of Psychiatry and Adjunct Professor of Neurological Surgery and Anesthesiology, University of Miami, Miami VAH, The Rosomoff Comprehensive Pain and Rehabilitation Center)
  • Primary Prevention Insights, (Editor in Chief: Dr Jun Ma, Associate Staff Scientist, Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute)
  • Rehabilitation Process and Outcome, (Editor in Chief: Dr Thilo Kroll, Senior Lecturer, University of Dundee)
  • Tobacco Use Insights, (Editor in Chief: Dr Zubair Kabir, Visiting Scientist, Harvard School of Public Health)
Please subscribe to the journals' RSS feeds and email newsletters to be notified when the first papers are published.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

An interview with DOAJ


The Directory of Open Access Journals is a wonderful research tool for users wishing to quickly search many open access journal articles. I recently had the opportunity to put some questions to the DOAJ team. (In the picture from left to right: Sonja Brage, Anna-Lena Johansson, Ingela Wahlgren and Salam Baker Shanawa.)

Tom: When and why was DOAJ established?

DOAJ: It was initiated during the first Nordic Conference on Scholarly Communication in Lund/Copenhagen October 2002 and the project started in January 2003 and was launched in May.

It was established because different collections of freely available journals and pre- and e-print archives and collections of learning objects were difficult to overview and integrate in library and information services, so it would be a valuable service for the global research and education community to collect and organize all open access journals in a way that allow libraries worldwide to integrate the resources in existing services/catalogues. DOAJ was intended to make search results more visible and reach users faster.

Tom: Does it have any 'parent' organisations? If so, who are they?

DOAJ: No there is no parent organisation, but DOAJ is provided and maintained by Lund University Libraries, Head Office and sponsored by Lund University, Ebsco, National Library of Sweden and INASP. DOAJ also receives funding from members.

Tom: What are DOAJ's goals?

DOAJ:

Technically:

  • Heighten the quality of open access journals by setting standards for, for example, copyright, the BOAI definition of OA, demand informative homepages and transparent editorial boards.
Idealistically:
  • Spreading scientific information to as many as possible for free.
  • Increasing the visibility of scientific research.
  • Promoting increased journal usage and impact.
Morally:
  • Information needs to be free.
Tom: What developments can we expect to see in the future?

DOAJ: We’d like to have tools to measure impact factors. We’d also like to provide long-term preservation.

Tom: What will DOAJ be like in five years?

DOAJ: Difficult to say but bigger of course. We hope that the quality of home pages of journals will be higher, for example, not all articles in one year in one big file, which makes it impossible to have DOAJ content, which leads to a wish: that all journals should provide us with their content, so that all journals are searchable on an article level.

Tom: How many people work on DOAJ? What do they do?

DOAJ: We have 3 librarians and one technician/system developer, but we share him with the rest of the head office.

Many might think that we “only” add journals to DOAJ but far from that. We receive a lot of feedback and we are very dependent on it for things like broken links to URLs. Also we get a lot of technical questions; many not very easy to answer for a librarian.

We publish a newsletter for sponsors and members and we also evaluate journals suggested to DOAJ and contact the editors. Then often follows a long communication about our criteria, which is not always clear to all editors. We communicate in English, but it is not always the first or second language for an editor. We receive email in French, German, Spanish and Portuguese and answer in English. When everything is OK we add the journal to the directory.

Part of our time we check that the already-added journals still live up to our criteria. If not, we contact the editor and if necessary we remove the title from DOAJ.

We assist editors in formulating information correctly, and discuss how a home page needs to look. Many people wanting to start an open access journal are not always confident about how to do it, for example that an ISSN is needed. We feel we do a great job by adding quality to open access journals by demanding certain criteria to be fulfilled.

Tom: What does DOAJ offer to researchers? How is it different to other research tools like Google, Google Scholar, and Pubmed?

DOAJ: DOAJ offers a “For author” service, where you can, for example, see which journals require a publication fee and which don’t.

Google and Google Scholar are harvesters. The material you find there is not necessarily open access or quality controlled. PubMed only covers medicine. In DOAJ you find only quality controlled scientific journals which are Open access. Our goal is to cover all subjects and languages. Just now there are journal articles in 41 languages.

Tom: Why should researchers publish in a journal which appears in DOAJ?

DOAJ: Researchers will get their results disseminated in a much faster way to more people. As we said earlier on, DOAJ stands for certain quality criteria.

Tom: Tell us about the SPARC Europe Seal.

DOAJ: To receive the "Seal" the journal has to choose the CC-BY license (Creative Commons license) and provide DOAJ with metadata on article level.

It was SPARC Europe and DOAJ who entered an agreement about introducing a certification scheme for open access journals, the SPARC Europe Seal for Open Access Journals. This was announced at the Fourth NCSC conference held in Lund in April this year.

The goal is improved information as to what users are allowed to do with papers published in an OA journal, possible long-term archiving of content, which makes publishing in the journal more attractive to authors, better exposure as a high-quality journal based on state-of-the art dissemination technologies.

More on DOAJ:
My thanks to Sonja Brage at DOAJ.

[Amended 28/8: names of DOAJ staff added.]

Thursday, August 14, 2008

New data for past authors

Authors who have had a paper published by us in our open access journals since July last year can now log-in to My LA to monitor the status of the article. Click on "My Article" to review:
  • How many times your article has been read since mid-August 2008
  • What other articles authors have also been reading before and after reading yours
  • The current production status of your article (this will continue to change as your article is added to indexing services etc)
Feedback is always welcome on this and any other service provided to authors. We can be contacted here.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Air, Soil and Water Research

Air, Soil and Water Research is a new open access journal Libertas Academica launched in March 2008.

Since being launched the journal has exceeded our expectations, with 5 articles published and over 7,000 unique table of contents views (excluding web indexing crawlers). The most widely read article has been read over 500 times and even the least frequently read paper has been read over 90 times. One of the major, yet not widely recognised, advantages of open access is that it allows readers to know exactly how widely read their work is.

We've just sent the first 'Inside View' newsletter for the journal. Inside View newsletters typically contain:
  • A summary of recent developments in the journal
  • Papers published in the previous two months
  • Titles of papers under peer review
Inside View newsletters are available for each journal, and can be registered for in My LA.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Hidden research tools in Google Scholar

Google Scholar is an outstanding research tool, and almost all of our open access journals are indexed there. When using Google Scholar it's easy to overlook how powerful it is. Here are five useful research tools you may not have been aware of:
  1. Import citations. Google Scholar can be set to display bibliographic citation import links for BibTex, EndNote, RefMan, RefWorks, or WenXianWang. To activate this, click on "Scholar Preferences", scroll down to "Bibliography Manager" and select the citation manager of your choice, then click the "Save Preferences" button.
  2. Show search results in a new window. A simple but useful function for managing more complicated searches, particularly if you're restricted to a browser which doesn't support tabs. To activate this, go to "Scholar Preferences" and tick the box beside "Results Window."
  3. Limit search results to articles in a specific journal. Click on "Advanced Scholar Search" and enter the journal name.
  4. Find non-OA material that your library subscribes to. In "Scholar Preferences" enter the name of your library then click "Save." If your library doesn't belong to Google Scholar's Library Links program consider asking them to join.
  5. Restrict your search by date. To find articles published after 2004 on a particular topic, enter a date on in the "Date" field on the Advanced Scholar Search page.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Two new introductory editorials

Introductory Editorials are now available for the following new journals:
Please support these journals by signing up for email newsletters and RSS feeds. We are still seeking Editorial Board members for most of these journals, so please contact me with a CV or biosketch if you're interested in applying.

Five tips for preparing figures

Almost all manuscripts submitted to Libertas Academica open access journals have figures of some kind associated with them. Figures are an invaluable component of an article. They make articles visually appealing but more importantly allow the authors to illustrate points which might otherwise remain obscure. Open access journals should not impose limitations on the quantity of figures used and generally do not charge additional fees for publication of colour figures.

The drawback of providing figures is the technical difficulties of creating and presenting them. What follows are some steps I recommend taking when putting together figures for a submission.
  1. Use a non-compressed file format. TIFF is ideal. Compressed file formats can result in blurring and pixellation. Counter-intuitive as it may seem, TIFF files also have a DPI associated with them, which is a very useful way of making sure that they meet resolution criteria.

  2. Provide, or be able to provide, high resolution figures. High resolution images are essential for typesetting. Either provide them when you initially submit your manuscript or when it is accepted for publication. If you provide them at the initial stage I suggest providing smaller versions of each file which are easily downloaded by peer reviewers. What constitutes high resolution? I recommend 900 DPI at 1 or 1.5 times anticipated display size.

  3. One figure per file. Don't place all your figures in a single file.

  4. No blurring or pixellation. When viewing each figure at 1 or 1.5 times anticipated display size look for excessive blurring and pixellation. Look particularly at text, which must be legible, and lines, which must be sharp and clear. If you detect problems increase the resolution.

  5. Have access to good image management software. Irfanview is excellent and Microsoft Office Picture Manager is also useful and comes with most Office installations. I also believe iPhoto on OSX and GIMP on Linux (and other platforms) to be suitable, although I haven't used either sufficiently for this purpose to be certain. All of these allow you to measure DPI and display size.
So in summary:
  • It's best to use a non-compressed file format.
  • Figures should be high resolution. Provide easily-downloadable half-size versions for peer reviewers.
  • Each figure should be in a separate file.
  • Look carefully for blurring and pixellation and where present increase resolution to compensate.
  • Good image management software makes these objectives easy to accomplish.
[Amended 14/10: summary added.]