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How to filter journals based on Open Access licensing conditions

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Yesterday I found this post by Tony Hirst where he reported that unfortunately JournalTOCs didn’t include metadata that identifies whether a journal is Open Access or not. In fact he pointed out that he couldn’t find a service that returns a simplistic “yes/no” response to the query “is the journal with this ISSN an open access journal?” In the same post, Kevin Ashley from the Digital Curation Centre commented that he couldn’t believe that we didn’t already have something to do that.

So, today we have added to the API the option to filter journals based on Open Access licensing conditions.

The option has been implemented as part of the journal API call:

So far this call has been used to search for journals. For example to search for journals whose title contains the keywords learning AND technology you will use: technology?output=journals

In the above example the parameter key is output and the parameter value is journals . If you know the ISSN number of a journal (electronic or print ISSN, it doesn’t matter for the API) you will use for example:

to retrieve the content of the latest TOC of the journal whose ISSN is 1687-7489.

OK, until now nothing is new. What we have added today are these new parameter values:

– title
– url
– rss
– rights
– issn
– eIssn
– publisher
– subjects

For example to find out whether the journal with ISSN 1687-7489 is Open Access or not, you will use output=rights:

The API will return one of these simple texts:
– Subscription
– Free
– Partially Free
– Open Access
– Unknown

You can still identify whether a journal is Open Access or not from the <dc:rights> element provided in the RSS that is returned by queries for journals, without parameters, such as for example

You need to be aware that currently only a thousand of Open Access (OA) journals are indexed by JournalTOCs. A small quantity if we take into account that the number of OA journals is estimated to be more than 6000 journals. There are three reasons why JournalTOCs has such a small number of OA journals:

– Most of the OA journals do not have TOC RSS feeds and very few OA publishers provide OPML to list their journals.

– Quite a lot of OA journals seem to be relatively new, do not have regular issues or haven’t published yet.

– Few OA journals are ranked among the high quality journals. JournalTOCs is very carefully in including only journals that have shown evidence of being scholarly publications.

However, JournalTOCs is working with our OA community to leverage the presence of OA journals in its index. Thus, Roddy MacLeod, our User Community and Marketing Advisor, is using the DOAJ database with the aim of adding more than 500 OA journals by before the end of 2010. We have been liaising with the developers of OJS (probably the most popular Open Source software used by OA journals), with the aim that OJS have their RSS feeds enabled by default, to encourage OA publishers to use the RSS feeds. Coincidently, today System Developer James MacGregor from PKP has informed us that the most recent versions of OJS now have their RSS feeds enabled by default on installation. That is very good news and we would like to encourage OA publishers to upgrade their OJS software and make sure that support for RSS is activated in their OJS installations.

We hope that this new API options be useful to our community of users. Let us know any bug or send us your comments.

Other examples using the new options:

Written by Santiago Chumbe

November 19th, 2010 at 8:56 pm