The DOAJ Cuts: Preliminary notes on Africa

A few days ago–shortly after DOAJ’s big cut–I posted a few preliminary notes on that cut, taking most of a day out of writing up my comprehensive 2011-2015 study of serious OA journals. I then turned back to working on the book-length results (which I hope to have out in a very few weeks, at which point the data will be freely available, as will the PDF version of the book).

I didn’t specifically mention Africa in those quick notes because it didn’t stand out–its percentage of dropped titles was pretty much average, and actually lower than most regions (considerably lower than the United States, for example.

I’ve become aware of a series of messages seeming to suggest that I’m deliberately ignoring Africa and that somehow DOAJ is conspiring with Jeffrey Beall to suppress global-south OA publishing. I am not affiliated with DOAJ and not the person to address the latter suggestion (which, unless it’s also suggested that DOAJ is trying to suppress OA in the U.S. and Canada, both with much higher percentages of dropped journals, seems unlikely), but I can address the first: it’s not true.

The post was a quick note; my job at this point should be to complete the report. I have no support staff; I’m an independent semi-retired researcher.

But, just to clear the air, here’s more detail on Africa (the Middle East is treated as a separate region–and yes, it also had a higher percentage of cuts than did Africa).

Journals (graded A or B)

Country D15 D16 %Removed
Algeria 5 5 0%
Burundi 1 1 0%
Democratic Republic of the Congo 1 1 0%
Ethiopia 5 3 40%
Ghana 1 1 0%
Kenya 7 6 14%
Libya 2 2 0%
Madagascar 1 1 0%
Mauritius 2 2 0%
Morocco 7 6 14%
Nigeria 28 18 36%
Rwanda 1 1 0%
South Africa 73 49 33%
Tanzania, United Republic of 1 0 100%
Tunisia 1 1 0%
Uganda 3 1 67%
Zambia 2 0 100%
Total 141 98 30%

Legend:  D15=In DOAJ as of 12/31/15 and fully analyzed; D16=In DOAJ as of 5/10/2016 and fully analyzed; %Removed=% of D15 not in D16.

What of the eight other Nigerian titles? Five–all from the same publisher–have APCs but don’t state the amount to be charged; three seem to have disappeared–two yielding parking pages, probably for failure to renew domain registration, one yielding 404s.


Same legend as above.

Country D15 D16 %Removed
Algeria 316 316 0%
Burundi 10 10 0%
Democratic Republic of the Congo 3 3 0%
Ethiopia 194 148 24%
Ghana 10 10 0%
Kenya 87 87 0%
Libya 76 76 0%
Madagascar 16 16 0%
Mauritius 204 204 0%
Morocco 971 549 43%
Nigeria 1,965 1,681 14%
Rwanda 16 16 0%
South Africa 2,412 1,608 33%
Tanzania, United Republic of 40 0 100%
Tunisia 12 12 0%
Uganda 1,321 1,119 15%
Zambia 78 0 100%
Total 7,731 5,855 24%

Note that Nigeria has a much lower percentage of cut articles: the journals removed were typically small.

Now, back to what I should be doing–noting that, when I get to the final group of chapters (one for each region of OAWorld, with APCLand treated as a separate region), Africa–by far the smallest region in terms of number of serious OA journals–will receive exactly the same treatment as every other region.

As for DOAJ’s criteria: It’s not my job to defend them (I discussed them in January 2015), but I will say that a directory where the only criterion was “this journal says it’s open access” would be useless (among other things, it would presumably include the thousands of “journals” that have never actually published anything and, I guess, every “hybrid” journal whether it’s ever actually had an OA article or not) and would do much to support the enemies of open access.

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