Genome Biology: not listed in DOAJ

Genome Biology, a well-established open access journal published by BioMedCentral with an impressive impact factor, is not listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ).  Presumably this is because one of DOAJ’s criteria for inclusion is “All content freely available”. In Genome Biology, the research articles are open access, but subscriptions are required for other content. Genome Medicine uses the same approach and is similarly not listed in DOAJ.

This is just one illustration of a methodological conundrum for the open access article processing fee research project. We are using DOAJ as the main source list for open access journals, however the DOAJ title lists for open access publishers using OA APCs do not quite match the publishers’ own lists, at least not the Hindawi and BioMedCentral title lists. In some cases this is likely due to recent changes at the publisher (new journals, older journals that have ceased to exist, changed titles or merged). However, the omission of a journal like Genome Biology is significant for this type of research because it is well-established, with an impact factor and a relatively expensive APC.

Traditional journals that use a hybrid approach (some articles open access while the journal as a whole continues as a subscription journal) are appropriately described as “double-dipping” by the open access movement. Are we giving publishers like Springer (the owner of BioMedCentral) an unwarranted free ride for doing exactly the same thing? Considering the high cost of publishing in Genome Biology or Genome Medicine ($2,835 US), this may be a question worth asking.

2 thoughts on “Genome Biology: not listed in DOAJ

  1. I’ve also encountered this with BMJ, where all scientific content is OA, the rest is TA. I understand why DOAJ do not list these journals (disclaimer: I am on their advisory board) but it creates problems. Managing our publication fund that has a DOAJ listing as a per-requisite for funding (no hybrids allowed!) we have decided to treat these journals as OA. That is not a foregone conclusion, though …

    • Thanks, Jan. It is complicated, isn’t? Some OA funds will not pay for hybrid journals, so the distinction matters.

      DOAJ is an essential service. I worry a little if DOAJ tries to take on too much. A really good listing of journals with downloadable metadata to include in library catalogues and serials lists does a great deal to raise awareness and use of these journals.

      DOAJ is also very helpful for OA researchers and organizations with OA funds. However, in my view it would be unfortunate if in trying to meet the needs of OA researchers and funders DOAJ became less useful for its primary purposes.

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