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Criteria for adding DOAJ: summary of responses Lucy Wrightington 26 Jan 2009 18:42 UTC

I have been asked by several people to post the responses I received about
this topic a while ago.
With a little editing, here are the best of the responses. Thanks to
everyone who sent their criteria.

Lucy Wrightington, Senior Librarian
Dickerman Library
Wadsworth Center, N.Y. State Dept. of Health
Empire State Plaza, Albany, NY 12201
phone: (518) 474-6168


One consideration would be level of access.  There are many supposedly
free full text journals on the major directories (FreeMedicalJournals,
DOAJ) that only provide access to selected articles.
1) How good is it?  If it's indexed in Medline, that's a big plus but I
do list some that aren't, especially foreign titles in areas of interest.
2) Is it a specialty where we have students or residents?
3) How easy is it to use, how reliable is the web site?

  We leave it up to the selectors (aka subject librarians). If they
deem it valuable, we add it.

1.  Is it indexed currently (or in the past) by one of the index databases
we currently have. Our Main ones are Index Medicus, CINAHL for Nursing,
PsychInfo for psychology, EBM (evidence-based Medicine Reviews) are just

2. Other quality index/databases such as Elsevier's Excerpta Medica, Chem.
Abstracts etc. and others like Google Scholar (AGHHH!!) which may be
available to our users through other means.  I also say in the past for IM
(Criterial # 1) had indexed a number of journals from India then dropped
them.  Some are now being indexed again and databases like Excerpta Medica
are indexing some of those among others.  Thomson ISI Recently announced
that Journal Citation Reports have added a number of "regional

3. How diverse is the editorial board and what are the qualifications of
some of the article editors/reviewers?
  I take a look to first see if it is peer reviewed, look at the location,
professional credentials, and at times the articles published by some of
the reviewers. If an outside U.S. publication, are there local U.S.
reviewers to assist authors wishing to publish?  If regional (South
America, Africa, India, etc) does it appear to be a majoror significant
publication of that region. Also, are many or all of the articles in
English. [unfortunately, I believe that while many worthwhile publications
are in other languages, researchers will tend to look to their primary
language instead of waiting for a sufficient technical translation and here
it is english.]

4.  Is the subject matter something that some faculty member may be
currently doing research on? Again, if possible look at the researcher to
see if (s)he is familiar with another language.  If such a specific subject
area, contact the researcher to see if it is of use to them.

5. How likely do you think it might be for that journal to be cited by
articles in quality journals in your area? Now or in the near future?

I agree there are too many free journals to just include all of them.

Our first criterion is that there is substantial current indexing im PubMed
or another of our databases.

Of the remainder, I look at the following:

Is the content in one of the areas that is important to us?  Might one of
our users find a reference to an article in the journal in a bibliography
of another article.
I look at the online journal itself to see whether all of the content is
there, or just a selection.
At the end, it's a judgment call.  I look at the publisher (society?).  I
don't usually include free trials.

The overall problem with many of the free journals is that they are
unstable.  They are free today, but next month they may not be.  If you try
to be comprehensive, you will have to stay on top of them.

peer reviewed is a good guess.

Since we use (an) A-Z (vendor) to manage our list of journals
(online and print) we don't have any criteria, if it is open access it
is listed.  We also are a part of OhioLink which has many other
electronic journals that are not medically related.  The number of
available online journals is well into the tens of thousands.  While
this sound like it is hard to manage or for patrons to search through,
it isn't.  Serials Solutions does all the work and our patrons rarely
"browse" through the list.  Usually they go into the search box and type
the name of the journal they are looking for.  Even with a very small
collection I really discourage traditional browsing through the alphabet
because just even a small collection will have several pages for the
letter J since there are a lot of journals that start with Journal of.

I am curious what others do about the free electronic journals. I am also
curious what they do about journals donated by doctors on a regular basis.
Meaning the doctor receives an individual subscription and after about a
month or two donates the journal.

Since the free electronic journals change often (did you notice Wiley took
away most of the free access when they absorbed blackwell?) it is too
difficult to constantly update the catalog. So instead, I have a separate
tab on the library webpage with a list of all electronic journals. It is
easier to update a list than constantly update the catalog.

I have added a few free journals to our A to Z list; those journals are few
in number and appear to me to most directly meet the need of a program; the
program has relatively fewer print journals in our library to draw from
than other departments; also I consider the time it takes for me to add the
journal to our electronic A to Z list, make sure it is cataloged and linked
properly. Also, if the journal is not in Ebsco or Gale, as FT or indexed,
that is important to, since it would add content, viewpoint, and variety to
our online collections.

I would love to hear if others actually have written selection criteria
for listing free ejournals.  I'm afraid ours is pretty strictly gut
feeling e.g. Soil Conservation would appear to be out of scope but
Employee Benefits and Compensation turns out to be useful.  I have to
say that I have been surprised at some of the things that do get used.

We are struggling with this issue as well. Not sure we want to clutter
our ...alpha lists with a lot of esoteric free titles.
We have added selectively so far.

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