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Archive for the ‘Publishing Best Practices’ tag

Why publishers should never NOINDEX their RSS feeds

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(Update: Three months after this blog post was published,  OA Publishing London removed the NOINDEX meta-tag from their RSS feeds. Now, all the journals currently being published online by OA Publishing London have been restored in JournalTOCs.)

Last week, JournalTOCs stopped indexing all of the 40 journals published by OA Publishing London because this publisher took the unusual and illogical measure of requesting aggregators not to index (aggregate) the RSS feeds for the current issues of its journals. Tables of Contents from the OA Publishing London journals will no longer be updated at JournalTOCs. Those who have been following any of the 40 journals will not be able to keep up with new issues.

Why would OA Publishing London want to stop aggregators and search engines from crawling and collecting its RSS feeds? Years ago, it might just have made some sense using the noindex meta-tag for RSS feeds, but nowadays there is no need to noindex such feeds. Google and the rest of modern search engines can easily identify RSS feeds and they act on that by not including RSS feeds in web search results.

Publishers should, in reality, very much want their RSS feeds to be indexed, because it can help aggregators and search engines to direct users to where the newest content is. Search engines are smart enough to understand the difference between a feed and webpage, and use the feed as a pointer to the webpage where the real source of the content resides. Allowing search engines to index RSS feeds is therefore an important way to drive traffic to the webpages of the actual content.

There is no scenario in which a publisher is not interested in having their latest content indexed. Old feeds generators, such as the deprecated Feedburner, still provide users with the outdated option to noindex feeds to prevent them from being penalized by search engines. Publishers need to be reassured that that it is no longer an issue, and indexed feeds do not create penalty situations. Google itself will normally not show RSS feeds in search results.

The noindex meta-tag is not good for publishers. Any publisher who wants to enable RSS readers, aggregators and APIs to reuse details of their content should make sure to remove the noindex meta-tag from their RSS pages and from their software that generates RSS feeds.

The noindex meta-tag to be removed looks like this:

<meta name=”robots” content=”noindex“>

This code tells search engines and aggregators that they should not index or crawl the content of the RSS feeds.

So, if you want the abstracts of your latest publications to be indexed by JournalTOCs, search engine, aggregator or any web service, and thus ensure that hundreds of thousands of potential readers can discover your content, you should make sure you ARE NOT using the noindex meta-tag.

The noindex meta-tag can help in search engine optimization (SOA) but it should be used wisely, rather than simply assuming that it’s always a good idea to use it. noindex should only be used for web pages you don’t want showing up in search results or want to hide from the external world. For example a test page, archive page, or something similar that is not relevant for the publisher’s business; these should have the noindex tag, so that they don’t end up taking the place of the real important pages in search results (Google’s algorithm tends to avoid placing multiple links from the same domain on the front page (unless the website has a good ranking)).

For optimal crawling, Google recommends using also RSS/Atom feeds

RSS pages (feeds) are not only relevant pages; they are used by the search engines and aggregators to redirect users to your relevant webpages! They help to market your real content. They are good for everyone, including readers, authors, end users and for your business.

Written by Santiago Chumbe

January 26th, 2015 at 5:07 pm

Are we running out of journal names?

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With so many journals appearing everyday it is no wonder publisher and prospective publishers are running out of names for their journal titles, and an unavoidable consequence of this is duplication.

We constantly stumble with “new” titles that are already being used by other journals. This duplication of journal names is particularly notorious in the case of new Open Access (OA) journals. Some publishers just add something superfluous such as “journal”, “research” or even the conjunction “and” to the title to make it look different to a title that is already been published.

A word cloud generated with Wordle from the titles of the 21,350 journals indexed by JournalTOCs looks like this:

Journal Titles

The word cloud doesn’t include some common noise words such as journal (removed from 7,400 journal titles, including six ejournal) and 2,034 international. We also have removed from the journal names 7,802 of, 1,026 de, 110 für and 27 di. Perhaps we should have removed Revista (journal in English) which is found in the titles of 648 journals in Spanish. Research was found 1,377 times, Science 1,278 and Studies 771 times.

In this context, duplication is very likely to happen. Doing quick searches with JournalTOCs can expose cases such as:

  • Social Sciences (OA journal), Kaunas University of Technology
    Social Sciences (OA journal), MDPI
  • Advances in Chemical Engineering, Elsevier
    Advances in Chemical Engineering and Science (OA journal), SRP
  • Chemical and Process Engineering, Versita
    Chemical and Process Engineering Research (OA journal), IISTE
  • IJCT: Indian Journal of Chemical Technology (OA journal), NISCAIR
    IJCT: International Journal of Chemical Technology (OA journal), Knowledgia Review
  • American Journal of Business and Management (OA journal), World Scholars
    American Journal of Industrial and Business Management (OA journal), SRP
  • Engineering Management Journal, IET
    Engineering Management Research (OA journal), CCRE
  • Human Resource Management Journal, John Wiley & Sons
    Human Resource Management Review, Elsevier
    Human Resource Management Research (OA journal), SAP
  • International Journal of Business and Management (OA journal), CCRE
    International Journal of Business and Management Tomorrow (OA journal), IJBMT
  • Journal of Management, Sage
    Management (OA journal), SAP
  • Organization and Management (OA journal), Versita
    Organization Management Journal, Taylor & Francis
  • IJTM: International Journal of Technology Management, Inderscience
    IJTM: International Journal of Technology and Management (OA journal), Science Target (Not accepted by JournalTOCs)

How ethic is to name a new journal using a similar title of a journal that has already been published? Shouldn’t somebody be looking after the journal names being used [and sometimes abused by predatory publishers]?

As it is envisaged that the number of journals will continue increasing, protecting the name of their journals can be a good investment for publishers. This is valid for both seasoned and new titles. The last thing that a consolidated journal would want is to be asked to change its title. On the other hand a genuine and honest new publisher should avoid confusion with any other publications by using distinctive and concise titles. Also, services such as JournalTOCs will double check new journals that have similar names to other journals and the chances for those journals to be rejected are then higher.

How do you protect the name of your journal? Getting an ISSN for a journal doesn’t protect the journal name, and we all know how easy it is to get an ISSN for a journal. The fact is that journal names cannot be copyrighted. The best way to protect a title is to register it as a trademark. Thus a journal title can be registered with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office to prevent others from using the journal title to name other journals. To further protect the identity of the journal, publishers can also register a DOI for the journal title. Doing so would increase the chances of the journal to be highly considered and looked at without suspicions. In addition authors and readers will have fewer chances to be misled.

Written by Santiago Chumbe

February 11th, 2013 at 4:05 pm

How many Open Access journals have ceased to publish?

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Predatory publishers are already damaging the Open Access reputation. Unfortunately, the uncontrolled proliferation of new Open Access journals is also negatively impacting on the standing of the Open Access movement.

From the list of 3,850 Open Access journals currently indexed by JournalTOCs, we detect that in average two of those Open Access journals cease publishing or disappear altogether every month. In addition, we noticed that various Open Access journals indexed by JournalTOCs are struggling to continue publishing new issues. The temptation for some of those journals to publish “anything” is real.

The questions we would like to ask to our friends at DOAJ are:
1. How many of the Open Access journals, registered with DOAJ, have ceased to publish?
2. Can DOAJ provide us with an API to help us to detect the OA journals that no longer exist?

Not found at DOAJ

In average, JournalTOCs receives 10 requests per day to add new Open Access journals to its database. In most of the cases, those journals do not meet our selection criteria and consequently they are not added to JournalTOCs.

Open Access journals are helping researchers to boost their number of publications and citations. For example Prof. Syed Tauseef Mohyud-Din has achieved an impressive number of 350 new papers published in less than four years. However, aren’t we abusing the current explosion of spurious scholarly Open Access journals? Is the peer-review model working in the same way for both Open Access and commercial “traditional” publishers? Many questions are still to be answered regarding Open Access.

Written by admin

May 28th, 2012 at 11:55 am

JournalTOCs Background Publications

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These publications of the ticTOCs Project cover the presentations made on the technology, research, standards, advocacy work, and findings produced by ticTOCS and that are part of the background of the JournalTOCs Project.

You can download these publications from here, or request copies from the ICBL ( or the JournalTOCs Team (

Written by Santiago Chumbe

May 13th, 2009 at 1:33 pm