How to Get Your Journal Articles Indexed in DOAJ: The Go-To Guide for OA Publishers
Open Access Indexing

How to Get Your Journal Articles Indexed in DOAJ: The Go-To Guide for OA Publishers

Shanu K
Shanu K


Getting indexed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) is on top of every Open Access (OA) publisher’s bucket list. And with good reason. It is one of the biggest, community-based, OA service globally.

Getting indexed in DOAJ increases journal visibility, fosters trust, improves citations, attracts submissions, and is often a requirement for procuring OA funding. There is also a strong likelihood that DOAJ indexing of journals will be a requirement for Plan S compliance.

Starting this year, DOAJ plans to start approaching relevant OA journals that are not indexed and will help them submit a quality application for consideration. But, you should take a more proactive approach instead of waiting around for DOAJ to find your journal. In this blog post, we have outlined the benefits of getting indexed in DOAJ and a clear flow that will guide you through the steps to get your journal’s articles indexed.

Benefits of indexing in DOAJ


On last count 13,596 OA journals are currently indexed in DOAJ. These were chosen after careful review and only after having fulfilled certain basic criteria which we’ll cover in the latter part of this article. So why does indexing in DOAJ matter?

  1. A standard for OA quality: As stated, OA journals only make the cut for DOAJ after having met certain criteria and after being reviewed and accepted by the DOAJ staff and team of volunteer editors. So journals approved by DOAJ are considered to meet ethical and quality standards — thus helping combat the problem of predatory journals. Many organizations and individuals around the world use DOAJ as the go-to resource for quality OA journals.
  2. A 3X increase in journal traffic: After being indexed in DOAJ, journals witness a 3X increase in website traffic, which translates to better visibility and more exposure. An increase in traffic helps attract better authors and quality submissions.
  3. DOAJ metadata is freely and widely available: When you submit your article metadata to DOAJ, it is distributed to all major aggregators, university libraries and many research organizations. This improves your content’s reach manifold.
  4. Promotes Open Access: DOAJ is working to promote open access as a sustainable model for scholarly publishing. Which is why it helps put the spotlight on high quality, peer-reviewed OA journals — could yours be next?

Sounds great? Let’s get cracking.

How to get your journal indexed in DOAJ

Step I: Check your eligibility

First off the bat, let’s cover the basic eligibility criteria that need to be fulfilled before you can consider filling the application for DOAJ indexation.

Your answers to each of the questions below should be a clear YES. If you answer No for any of them, you will need to fix it before you can proceed with your application.

  1. Is the full text of ALL content in your journal Open Access, available for free, and accessible without any delay (i.e. without an embargo period)?
  2. Do you have a dedicated homepage for the journal?
  3. Is all business information about your journal — journal’s aims and scope, instruction for authors, the editorial board, peer review and other quality control measures, Open Access statement, plagiarism policy, and licensing terms — hosted on the same site as the homepage or clearly and prominently linked to from the homepage?
  4. Is all journal content, including archive material, available on one site?
  5. Is the journal’s site used exclusively for the journal’s content and not for marketing any other product or service?
  6. Does each journal article have its unique URL?
  7. Does your journal have at least one ISSN registered with
  8. Is your journal’s homepage clear and easy to navigate with prominent links to the current issue, past issues, search functionality, an About page, the editorial board and a contact us page?
  9. Are all articles published in your journal subjected to a rigorous quality control system (editorial review or peer review) prior to publication?
  10. Is the exact type of review process you use mentioned clearly on the journal’s website?
  11. Is the journal’s Editorial Board page updated with the board members’ names and latest affiliations, and a way to contact them?
  12. Does your journal have clear guidelines for authors and are these guidelines linked from the homepage?
  13. Are all charges you levy on authors for article processing and publishing clearly displayed on the website?
  14. If you do not levy any charges, is this stated on the website?
  15. Is your journal’s OA policy clearly stated on the site? Is it clearly linked from the home page, if on another page of the site?
  16. Does your journal’s site clearly and precisely state the terms of use and reuse of submitted and published content? (DOAJ considers a CC license as best practice. Read DOAJ’s Copyright and Licensing Help Page)
  17. Users can access your journal’s content without registering?

Please note that being a member of DOAJ is not a requirement for selection, nor does it better the chances of your application being selected. This is a common misconception publishers tend to have and DOAJ clarifies on their website:

“Being a Publisher Member does not guarantee that your journals will be included in the DOAJ. All applications are treated equally from both members and non-members.”

If you answered Yes to all of these questions in the first go, you may be eligible for DOAJ Seal. Read more about it in the section on DOAJ Seal.

Step II: Handy checklist before you send in your application

So your answers to all the eligibility questions above were a resounding yes? Good for you! Before we move on to filling in the application form:

  1. Read through these ‘Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing’ and ensure your journal complies:
Reproduced from COPE:
  1. Download and print this document: A guide to filling in the application form. Fill it along with someone who knows everything about the journal you plan to submit for indexing. This person could be you, but it may also mean working with the editor or a volunteer who’s been closely involved in the journal’s activities.
  2. Proofread and double-checkthe information you’ve filled into the document above to ensure that everything is accurate and matches the information on your website. This is extremely important because you will have to get your application right the first time. DOAJ rejects duplicated applications outright.

All done? Let’s move on to actually filling in the form.

Step III: Applying for DOAJ indexing

The form is straightforward, provided you fill in the document linked above correctly. If you are not very comfortable with English, the application form is also available in 14 other languages (Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, French, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Turkish, Ukrainian). If you are not comfortable with any of these languages either, it would help to work through the form with someone who understands English well.

Some very important things to keep in mind:

  1. The form does not auto-save. So, you will need to have all the information handy and complete it in one sitting. This is why it’s important to have filled in the document in Step II.
  2. Be careful while filling in the form. If you miss questions or submit inaccurate information, your application will be rejected. You cannot resubmit since duplicated applications are also rejected outright as stated above.
  3. The contact details you provide should be of a real person with a real name. This refers to the details you give in questions 9, 10, 11.

If you add administrator, webmaster or any other non-specific names and emails, your application will be rejected. Also, be sure to give contact details that will be valid in the long-term. Generally, DOAJ can take 6 months or more to send an email response of acceptance or otherwise. If they do not receive a response back from you, this will also lead to rejection.

4. The form is divided into six sections: All of these sections show up on one page.


Section 1: Basic Journal Information

This section spans question 1 to question 35 and asks for information about your journal including title, URL, ISSN, publisher, contact details, article processing and submission charges, archiving details, digital identifiers used, languages, formats, keywords, etc.


Section 2: Quality and Transparency of the Editorial Process

This section covers question 36 to question 43 and asks for the journal’s Editorial page URL, the review process, plagiarism policy, number of submissions, and links to aims and scopes and instructions for authors pages.


Section 3: How Open is the Journal?

This section has just one question which asks for the URL of the page that states the journal’s Open Access statement. Please note that to be eligible for consideration in DOAJ your journal must make all content open immediately upon publication — no embargoes allowed.


Section 4: Content Licensing

This section covers question 45 to question 51 and inquires about your journal’s content licensing and how liberal it is. Specific details asked for include the type of license your content carries, deposit policy directory details, compliance with the Budapest Open Initiative’s definition of OA, etc.


Section 5: Copyright and Permissions

This section has two questions pertaining to your journal’s copyright policy. Specifically, DOAJ wants to know whether authors who submit work to your journal retain copyright and publishing rights.


Section 6: Your details

This is the last section and it asks for your name and email address. This will be used to send you automated emails about your application’s progress through the assessment funnel. Please add real names and contact details here to prevent rejection. This section also has the final and only ‘Submit’ button which you should click on only after filling in the form in its entirety and after double-checking it thoroughly for errors.

All set? You can now go ahead and fill the application form.

Step IV: What happens next

Immediately upon submission: Once you submit your application, you will receive a confirmation email. Save this email — you may need it if you contact DOAJ with any questions regarding your application in the future. If you don’t get a confirmation email, contact DOAJ.


DOAJ Review: Your application will now undergo assessment by up to four members of the DOAJ Team. The first assessment will automatically reject applications that:

  1. are duplicate
  2. have malware or spyware
  3. do not have an ISSN, have a fake ISSN or have an ISSN not registered at

You will not be informed if your application is rejected at this stage.

If your application passes the first assessment, it will be reviewed by the Managing Editor who then assigns it to an Editor for review. The Managing Editor can reject the application outright without review, especially if it is incomplete.

The Editor will assign the review to an Associate Editor who will carry out a detailed review of your application and contact you in case of any questions. Post his review the Associate Editor will make an accept or reject recommendation. The Editor will then cross-check the Associate Editor’s review and recommendation. The final call on acceptance or rejection is taken by the Managing Editor.

So, all of this is happening behind the scenes. In the meantime, you can expect to receive a couple of automated emails — first when your application is assigned to someone on the editorial team and the second when he/she starts working on your application.


Besides these, you are no longer involved in the process, unless the Associate Editor reaches out to you. Do not constantly email DOAJ requesting updates about your application. You may do so after you’ve waited 6 months to hear back from them.

Step V: When the results come in

Accepted: Congratulations! Your journal will now be classified by subject and DOAJ will assign it an LCC code. You will receive two emails — one will be an automatic confirmation email about your acceptance and the second will have information on how you can log in to your DOAJ Publisher account. You will need this second email to upload your article metadata.

Rejected: If your application for DOAJ indexing has been rejected, tough luck. The reason for rejection will be communicated to you. You can submit again for inclusion in DOAJ after 6 months, provided the recommendations suggested in the rejection email have been implemented. Some of the most common reasons for rejection DOAJ lists include:

  • there is no response from the applicant
  • the contact details provided do not include a name
  • nothing has been published in the last calendar year
  • incomplete or incorrect ISSN information
  • incomplete application
  • every URL in the application form is identical
  • duplicate application
  • the journal is already in DOAJ
  • the journal does not adhere to the Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing
  • the journal does not fulfill the basic requirements listed on this page
  • the journal is not open access
  • the journal does not publish original research

Step VI: Start uploading your article metadata to DOAJ

DOAJ does not automatically collect article metadata for indexed journals. You will have to upload them actively to DOAJ. There are three ways to do so:

  1. Upload manually: This is tedious and okay for an occasional article or for correcting and overwriting an already uploaded article metadata.
  2. Upload DOAJ XML: The XML of your article is ‘read’ by the DOAJ system and the metadata is auto-populated. SciSpace (Formerly Typeset) eases this process by auto-generating ready-to-upload DOAJ XMLs of your articles in seconds.
  1. Using DOAJ API: This is the easiest way to upload your metadata. You may need technical know-how or a software developer to help you with this. Read more about DOAJ API.

So, there you have it — a clear cut guide to getting your journal indexed in DOAJ. Note that this blog post lists minimal effort-maximum effect guidelines and if you fulfill these requirements 100%, your journal has very high chances of getting indexed, assuming your journal’s content and quality are on point. If you are willing to go above and beyond, we recommend you try for the DOAJ Seal.

What is the DOAJ Seal and how to get it for your journal


The DOAJ Seal is awarded by DOAJ to journals that follow publishing best practices and OA policies to an outstanding standard. It is a mark of certification for Open Access journals awarded only if they fulfill certain criteria. You do not need to apply for DOAJ Seal separately. The same application form you fill for indexation is used by DOAJ to judge whether your journal qualifies for the Seal.

If you meet these seven conditions you may find yourself at the receiving of the coveted DOAJ Seal. You:

  • provide permanent identifiers in published papers
  • upload article metadata on DOAJ
  • deposit all published content in a long term digital archiving or preservation program
  • embed machine-readable CC licensing info in all your journal articles
  • have CC BY, CC BY-SA or CC BY-NC license
  • have registered your deposit policy with a deposit policy registry and
  • let the author retain copyright to their work without any restrictions.

DOAJ will collect all of this info from you in the application form. Of the 13,000 odd journals indexed by DOAJ, only about 1300 have qualified for the Seal — so, just about 10%. If you get in, it’ll serve as a fantastic testament to your journal’s quality standards. Good Luck!

SciSpace (Formerly Typeset) is a platform built specifically to revolutionize production flows in the STEM publishing industry. Over 400 publishers have used SciSpace to shave their production time and costs by 80% and become compliant with various indices and archiving platforms. Book a demo and let’s overhaul your journal’s growth together. Also, learn more about prominent indices for academic journals here.

Before You Go,


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