Skip to Main Content
Chat With Us

Setting up an Open Access Journal



This guide is useful for anyone interested in starting a scholarly journal. This guide aims to cover some of the best practices around forming an editorial board, advertising calls for submission, creating journal policies, and indexing and marketing your

Indexing your Journal - Common Questions

Indexing your journal can help scholars find articles and generate more traffic to topical submissions from your authors. Listing on accredited repositories and directories can help in growing the reputation and credibility of your journal.

Open Journal Systems (OJS) Guide

The OJS 3 Visual Guide is a helpful tool in general, and also for filling out some of the questions on the form. 

Be sure to use the the find feature (CTRL+F) to navigate the entire Guide to find details you need.


Applying to the DOAJ

Please find the Link to the DOAJ Application to submit one for your journal.

OJS also has a helpful reference for this in their Getting Found: Building Visibility - please find a link to Appendix 1: DOAJ Application Guide for OJS Journals

  • The application for the DOAJ is undergoing an upgrade in Q2 of 2020, please refer to a March 9th 2020 article detailing the planned changes to the application form.
  • The current application consists of 58 questions with the following sections:
    • Basic Journal Information
    • Quality and Transparency of the Editorial Process
    • How Open is the Journal?
    • Content Licensing
    • Copyright and Permissions
    • The Qualifiers for the DOAJ Seal
    • Editorial Manager details


Why Apply to the DOAJ

Indexing your journal in the Directory of Open Access Journals is a great way to increase the accessibility and credibility of your journal.

  • This repository of Journals and articles can be easily searched for keywords;
  • The rigorous set of standards required by the DOAJ has the benefit of credibility, which is always important for scholars and researchers;
  • Open Access publication funds often require DOAJ indexing to release funding for a given project.

Basic Journal Information and Background

The first questions in the applications will prompt you to answer some generally basic questions regarding your Journal.  These include questions like:

  • Name of your Journal
  • Principal Contact for your Editorial Team
  • URL of your eJournal Website
  • Publisher (which, for the record, is indeed Boston College University Libraries)

The list goes on; there are a couple subjects which may be less obvious in this section which will be covered below.  Please do feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions regarding this section.

Journal Identifiers (Questions 4, 5, and 28)

In questions 4 and 5 of the application, you are prompted to provide a Print and Digital ISSN for your journal.  If your Journal does not have a print edition, you will only have the Digital ISSN identifier.  However, if you do print your journal - your journal will have one unique Print ISSN, and one unique Digital ISSN. 

To find this information, click on Settings and then Journal to find basic metadata including the Print and Digital ISSN.

Question 28 has to do with Article, rather than Journal identifiers.  Professional Knowledge Portal (PKP) which is the parent company for Open Journal Systems (OJS) uses Digital Object Identifiers, (DOIs) to identify specific articles.  

Preservation and Archiving (Questions 25 and 26)

In order to preserve the data and content in each Journal, PKP enlists in the LOCKSS archive program, which provides backups of our content in the event our serves are destroyed.  Please find two links below for more helpful information and context on our archiving policy.


Questions about the Editorial Process

This section deals with the Editorial Process of your journal and asks questions about the information provided regarding your journal's review process and guidelines for authors.  If you use the Editorial Workflow in OJS, you can simply copy from the links below which describe in detail the different processes for the Review Workflow and Author Guidelines, respectively:

  • Instructions for submitting to your journal are determined by each journals editorial board, however, these instructions are generally listed and editable under "Settings > Workflow > Submissions." Below is the standard example of a submission checklist to give some ideas for what to make sure authors know prior to submitting their work.









How Open, Content Licensing, and Copyright

As the name suggests, all of the Journals we host on Open Journal Systems are indeed open - this means readers can access the content for free after setting up a username in OJS.  Please visit PKP's homepage for more information on the explicitly open platform.  The software that OJS is licensed under the open sources GPL v2 license.

All of the journals currently hosted by Boston College Libraries use some form of a Creative Commons License that the author signs before submitting the work to the journal for publication. Creative Commons licenses vary in what they cover, but the most common is known as a CC BY license.  This means that content that is found on OJS is free to cite and reuse so long as the author is attributed.  Creative Commons licenses leave the author as the principal copyright holder, while the library also maintains the rights to distribute published material (or, more specifically, to make sure such content is available.)

For the DOAJ application, you will be asked to describe or provide the language on your journal's Open Access statement.  Your eJournal page displays information, like a Copyright Notice - which can be edited in the backend of your website.

The DOAJ Seal

The DOAJ seal is attributed to the DOAJ journals that exemplify the best practices of Open Access and peer review.  This is a great way of increasing the credibility of your journal and making it an attractive space for scholars.  

The criteria for the Seal is listed on the application page, and it is here as well:

  1. have an archival arrangement in place with an external party (Question 25). 'No policy in place' does not qualify for the Seal.

  2. provide permanent identifiers in the papers published (Question 28). 'None' does not qualify for the Seal.

  3. provide article level metadata to DOAJ (Question 29). 'No' or failure to provide metadata within 3 months do not qualify for the Seal.

  4. embed machine-readable CC licensing information in article level metadata (Question 45). 'No' does not qualify for the Seal.

  5. allow reuse and remixing of content in accordance with a CC BY, CC BY-SA or CC BY-NC license (Question 47). If CC BY-ND, CC BY-NC-ND, 'No' or 'Other' is selected the journal will not qualify for the Seal.

  6. have a deposit policy registered in a deposit policy directory. (Question 51) 'No' does not qualify for the Seal.

  7. allow the author to hold the copyright without restrictions. (Question 52) 'No' does not qualify for the Seal.