General information

For authors and other users

For libraries

For publishers

FAQs for publishers have moved to the For Publishers page.

What is DOAJ?

The Directory of Open Access Journals is a service that indexes high quality, peer reviewed Open Access research journals, periodicals and their articles' metadata. The Directory aims to be comprehensive and cover all open access scientific and scholarly journals that use an appropriate quality control system (see the section below) and is not limited to particular languages or subject areas. The Directory aims to increase the visibility and ease of use of open access scientific and scholarly journals—regardless of size and country of origin—thereby promoting their visibility, usage and impact.

Back to top

How do we define 'Open Access Journal', 'Quality Control', 'Research Journal' and 'Periodical'?

Open Access Journal:
We define open access journals as journals that use a funding model that does not charge readers or their institutions for access. From the BOAI definition[1] of 'open access' we take the right of users to "read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles" as mandatory for a journal to be included in the directory.

Quality Control:

The journal must exercise peer-review with an editor and an editorial board or editorial review (particularly in the Humanities) carried out by at least two editors.

Research Journal:

Journals that report primary results of research or overviews of research results to a scholarly community.


A serial appearing or intended to appear indefinitely at regular intervals, generally more frequently than annually, each issue of which is numbered or dated consecutively and normally contains separate articles, stories, or other writings.

Back to top

What are the basic standards that a journal must meet for an application to be considered?

DOAJ adheres to the Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing, a joint statement published by COPE, DOAJ, OASPA and WAME. We advise that all applicants read through this statement before applying.

To facilitate a faster response time, applications are initially triaged to ensure they meet some basic criteria. These are:


  • Subject: all scientific and scholarly subjects are covered. We use the Library of Congress Classification Outline.
  • Types of resource: scientific and scholarly periodicals that publish research or review papers in full text.
  • Acceptable sources: academic, government, commercial, non-profit and private sources are all acceptable.
  • Level: the primary target group should be researchers.
  • Content: a substantive part of the journal should consist of research papers. All content should be available in full text. See our policy for case report journals.
  • All languages are accepted.


  • The full text of ALL content must be available for free and be Open Access without delay (i.e. no embargo period).
  • Registration: User registration online is acceptable on the condition that the journal has a proper Privacy Policy in place and abides by Data Protection rules. That is to say: user data will never be distributed without the explicit permission of the user; upon request, a user's email address is removed from mailing lists; all data held about the user will be made available to the user upon request.

Quality: The journal must exercise quality control on submitted papers using a peer-review system. A journal must have an editor and an editorial board. Only in the case of Humanities journals we will accept a form of editorial review using only two editors and no editorial board. Where an editorial board present, at least 5 of its members must be clearly identifiable with their affiliation information. See our policy for Humanities journals.

Periodical: The journal must have at least one ISSN (International Standard Serial Number) registered at In general, if a journal exists in print and online, then it should have both an ISSN for the print version and an ISSN for the electronic version.

Back to top

What is the procedure for a journal being accepted into DOAJ?


We must receive an application for every journal wishing to be considered for inclusion. Due to the level of detail required, we recommend that the application is made by the journal's editor or publisher. Once submitted, the application passes through a triage process and is assigned to a DOAJ Associate Editor. There are over 40 pieces of information in every application that we will check and verify. As you complete the application form, remember to ensure that the journal's web site states clearly and accurately the information DOAJ is asking for in the application form. The things that we will check include but are not limited to:

  • That the journal's ISSN(s) number(s) is registered at and matches the application;
  • That the title in the application matches what is registered at and what is stated on the journal's web site;
  • That the country of the publisher in the application matches the country registered at; this may not always be the country to which the journal is registered.
  • That the journal has an editor or an editor and an editorial board with identifiable members; we will contact you for members' contact details as part of our review process. These will not be made publicly available.
  • That the full text of articles is free, without embargo, upon publication;
  • That the journal's Open Access policy is clearly stated on the journal's web site and is easily findable;
  • That the journal executes some form of editorial review or peer review, that this is clearly stated on the web site and that it matches the answer given in the application form;
  • That the journal is Open Access according to the BOAI definition. By this we mean that the journal's articles have "free availability on the public internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself."
  • That any fees for publishing in the journal are clearly displayed in a place that is easy to find; if there are no charges to authors this should also be highlighted.
  • That if the journal has any other kind of author charges, they are clearly stated and easily findable on the web site;
  • That the language of the full text articles match the language stated in the application.

If the information provided in the application is unclear or does not match what is on the site, or we think that it is incorrect, the member of our team handling your application will contact you for clarification.

Status updates

We are unable to provide status updates for any application that is less than THREE months old.

Acceptance into DOAJ

Upon acceptance into DOAJ, the journal is classified by the DOAJ team according to the Library of Congress Classification (LCC) system. An automatic confirmation email is sent to the person listed in Question 9; it contains details on how to log into your Publisher account. You will need these details to upload article metadata. The journal is then visible in DOAJ immediately.

Rejection of an Application

If your application is rejected, a member of the DOAJ team will let you know, along with the reason for the rejection. A rejected journal may reapply for inclusion once it has demonstrated clearly that it has made the improvements suggested by the DOAJ.

Uploading or creating metadata in DOAJ

We strongly recommend that ALL journals provide us with article metadata in XML format or create the data manually using our metadata entry form. A script looking for new articles to publish to the site runs every 30 minutes. DOAJ is OAI-PMH compliant and once the article is available in DOAJ it becomes automatically OAI harvestable.

Back to top

How are journals classified / categorised?

All journals in DOAJ are classified according to the Library of Congress Classification (LCC) system. The subjects are assigned by our editorial team once a journal is accepted for indexing in the database. If a publisher chooses to upload article metadata to us, a journal's articles inherit the same subjects.

Subject categories appear in search results for journals and are structured as follows:
- where subjects are separated by a full stop, the subjects are part of the same category level at LCC and in DOAJ. For example: 'Philosophy. Psychology. Religion' is one category.
- where subjects are separated by a colon, the second subject is a sub-category of the first. For example: 'Philosophy. Psychology. Religion: Philosophy (General)' shows that 'Philosophy (General)' is a sub-category of 'Philosophy. Psychology. Religion' and this journal has been categorised as General Philosophy.
- where subjects are separated by a pipe, the second category has no relation to the first. For example: 'Philosophy. Psychology. Religion: Philosophy (General) | Social Sciences: Social sciences (General)' means that this journal has been categorised both as General Philosophy AND General Social Sciences. Back to top

What is Open Archives Initiative, OAI, OAI-PMH?

OAI, Open Archives Initiative, supplies a common framework to web communities that allows them to gain access to content in a standard manner by means of metadata harvesting. Read the details of our OAI feature.

How can I support/sponsor DOAJ?

We would be delighted if you donate to DOAJ. We rely entirely on contributions. Please read our Support DOAJ page for further information.

Back to top

Do you have any restrictions for the use of your site code and software?

The code used to generate the DOAJ web site is open source as are the various pieces of software used for the different features. The site or "work" is licensed under a CC-BY-SA license.

Back to top

How do I search in DOAJ and what information about a journal or article can I find?

Use the Search to look for journals and article metadata in DOAJ. You may refine your search results by using the facets in the panel on the left, or by sorting and filtering using the fields at the top of the search results.

You can choose to search on any of the following fields:

  • All fields
  • Title
  • Keywords
  • Subject
  • Identifier (DOI, ISSN)
  • Abstract
  • Author
  • Year
  • Country
  • Language
  • Publisher
  • Journal title
  • Alternative title
  • Provider

If you write more than one word in your search query it will be treated as a phrase. To search on full article titles, use " " around the title, e.g. "Is social, cultural and recreational participation a luxury for people living in poverty? An analysis of policy intentions and measures"

The search results in DOAJ contain the following fields:

Journal Title
The title of the journal. If there is a green tick next to it then the journal was accepted using the new criteria.

The entity responsible for publishing the journal.

Platform, host or aggregator
The entity responsible for delivering or hosting the journal or content.

Publication charges?
Does the journal charge article processing charges (APCs)?

Started publishing open access content in?
The year that the first complete year of fully open access content is available freely online.

Journal Language
The language that the full text articles are published in.

Either the ISSN for the print version of the journal OR the ISSN for the electronic version of the journal OR BOTH.

The keywords that best describe the journal, as provided by the publisher.

Date added to DOAJ

Home page
The URL of the journal's home page.

Journal license
The type of license that the publisher assigns to the journal. This may be a Creative Commons license, or an equivalent. Some publishers have different types of licenses for different articles. We list the most restrictive license in search results.

Country of publisher
The country where the publisher has legally registered their offices.

Back to top

How do I browse issues or Tables of Contents?

You can browse the tables of content for those journals where publishers have uploaded article metadata to us. Click on the blue, hyperlinked journal title in search results to access them.

Back to top

Which journals in DOAJ have a CC-license?

Go to this search of journals and expand the Journal License facet in the left hand panel. The number of journals per license is in brackets next to each license type.

Back to top

How is license information applied and displayed in DOAJ?

The current version of DOAJ allows publishers to supply license information at the JOURNAL level. Because some journals have different licenses from one article to another, we ask publishers to supply the license that best fits ALL of the content; this is usually the most restrictive license. We are working to give greater granularity to license information.

Back to top

What does the green tick symbol mean?

In March 2014, DOAJ started to implemented its new criteria for journals being accepted into the directory. All journals accepted after this date display a green tick symbol:
Tick icon: journal was accepted after March 2014 appears next to the journal title in search results;
Tick icon: journal was accepted after March 2014 appears on a journal's Table of Contents page.

Back to top

Can I use DOAJ with Javascript disabled?

If you disable all Javascript, it will not be possible to search the DOAJ. If you can switch off certain components and allow others, then you can continue to use DOAJ. Search will not work with Javascript switched off completely because some of the code that is required is served by Google's Javascript library hosting so if disallowed, search will fail. Other Javascript components are 'Addthis' which is our share feature that allows people to share items from within our site. Disabling this will simply disable the feature. Another component is Bootstrap ( which is the framework used to build the DOAJ website. This contains some Javascript for some of its features. Bootstrap was originally created by Twitter and made publicly available. We're not aware of any data collected by Twitter as part of its integration into the DOAJ site.

Back to top

What happened to Browse? How can I browse journals by Subject?

The updated Search functionality in DOAJ combines the traditional functions of search and browse into one. This is an updated way of finding information, in line with the process of filtering and drilling down to the results that are required.

To browse for journals by subject:

    Starting at the Search page:
  • Select 'journal' from the 'Journals vs Articles' facet
  • From under the 'Subject' facet, choose the subject that you wish to browse
  • To see more Subjects than the 10 listed, change the number at the top of the facet from '10' to the number of Subjects you would like to see.

Only journals corresponding to the chosen subject will show. You may make further refinements by selecting other facets.

We will be adding a Subject browser to the site at some point in the near future.

Back to top

Can I find information about which countries have journals included in DOAJ?

Yes, go to the Advanced Search page and select 'journal' from the 'Journals vs. Articles' facet at the top of the left hand panel. Then expand the 'Country of publisher/publication' facet to show all journals published by country. By default the list is sorted by country with the most journals, in descending order.To see more than 10 countries, change the number at the top of the facet from '10' to a greater number.

Back to top

Are there other ways to find Open Access content?

Yes, read more about Self-Archiving and Open Archives in the Southampton Self-Archiving FAQ. You can also consult the Directory of Open Access Repositories and the Directory of Open Access Book.

Back to top

Why is the subject area that I'm looking for not covered?

This is because we have not indexed any journals in that subject area yet. Applications for journals in under-represented areas, or areas that are not represented at all, are always welcome. Please apply here for inclusion in DOAJ.

Back to top

Is there an RSS/ATOM feed in DOAJ?

We have an ATOM feed. The feed contains information on journals added in the last 30 days and includes the latest 100 items.

Back to top

How can I find out whether a journal charges author processing fees (APCs)?

You can find this information in two ways:

  • Go to the Advanced Search page and expand the 'Publication charges' facet. By selecting 'No charges', you will retrieve a list of all the journals in DOAJ where the publisher has told us that they do not charge authors anything at all.
  • APC information is displayed under each journal in search results.

Back to top

How can I get journal metadata from DOAJ?

The DOAJ service supports the OAI protocol for metadata harvesting (OAI-PMH). Thus, any OAI compatible service can obtain records from DOAJ. The OAI data is always up to date. OAI is well-established and easy to use. The base URL is: You can add most OAI verbs and other commands directly on to that. Read a full description of this service here. Our current OAI offering is standardised around Dublin Core. We will expanding the metadata in it in the latter half of 2014.

You can also Download a list of journals in CSV (comma-separated) format which can then be imported into Excel or any equivalent analysis tool. The CSV file is updated every 30 minutes. To retrieve the data:

  1. Download the file to your computer
  2. Open the file in a document processing program like Excel or OpenOffice.
  3. You can then choose which format you want the spreadsheet in.

Please be aware that the data included in this file ONLY includes a subset of the data currently and some information may be missing until a journal has reapplied and been accepted back into the DOAJ.

Finally, you can connect up to our RSS feed of new journals added which is updated every time new journals are added to the database. You can integrate the feed into your browser or straight into a web site.

Back to top

How do I get article level metadata from DOAJ?

Article level metadata can be harvested using the OAI protocol. Read a full description of this service here.

Back to top

Do you have any restrictions on the use of your site code and software?

The data in DOAJ is licensed to you under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License (CC BY-SA). The essence of this license is explained at the creative commons web site. (You may also be interested in the fine print.) The rights of the site-generated metadata, such as the Atom feed, are listed in the feed.

Back to top