Basic conditions for indexing

Read about the basic conditions for indexing your journal in DOAJ.

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Photo: Thomas Søndergaard

The type of journals that can apply

It is possible to apply for indexing for any academic Open Access journal regardless of language. The journal should comply with the guidelines described in "Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing".

  • Journals must actively publish research-based content.
  • All research fields are accepted.
  • The journal must publish at least five research articles a year.
  • The primary target audience must be researchers or practicing professional groups.

For recently started journals:

  • Before applying to DOAJ, a newly started journal must be able to present a publication history for more than a year or have published at least ten Open Access articles.
  • This is in addition to the standard requirement to publish at least five research articles per year.

DOAJ's definition of Open Access

DOAJ only accepts Open Access journals.

  • DOAJ defines Open Access journals as journals in which the copyright holder of an academic work transfers the right of use to others through an open license (Creative Commons or equivalent - for an explanation, see the section 'Licensing' below). The open license allows immediate free access to the work and allows any user to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search or link to full-text versions of articles, to 'crawl' them in connection with online indexing, translate them into data in software or use them in any lawful context.
  • The journal must present an Open Access declaration, which shows that DOAJ's definition of Open Access is met.
  • Full-text versions of all content must be available for free as Open Access without delay.
  • There must be no embargo periods.
  • It is not accepted that users must register in order to read content.
  • An amount is allowed to be charged for the print version of a journal.

The journal's website

  • The journal must have its own dedicated URL and website and be accessible from all locations.
  • Each article must be available as an individual full-text article.
    • There must be one unique URL per article.
    • The format must be at least HTML or PDF.
  • Journals that contain intrusive marketing will not be accepted for indexing. See 'best practice' recommendations on marketing.
  • DOAJ does not approve of the use of 'Impact Factors' or 'ranking metrics'. However, journals are welcome to present the 'Journal Impact Factor' calculated by Clarivate or metrics from Scopus. Journals must not display any references (images, links, logos) to 'Impact Factors' or 'ranking metrics' from other services.
  • The website does not have to be in English. If the website is available in several different languages, all information must be the same in all languages.

The following information about the journal must be available online and easily accessible from the journal's website:

  • Open Access Policy
  • Purpose and focus
  • Editorial staff (including institutional affiliation for all members)
  • Author Guide
  • Editing process (peer review)
  • License Terms
  • Copyright Terms
  • Author fees 
    • If a journal has no fees or charges, this must be stated. 
    • The information must include all fees or charges that an author may be charged from submission to publication, including: Submission fee, fee for editorial handling, article fee/APC (Article Processing Charge), fee per page, fee for colour.
    • Any fee waiver must be clearly stated with conditions for the waiver, e.g. size and time period.
    • If there is a fee for withdrawing the article after submission, this must not exceed the author fees. 
  • Contact information
    • The contact information must contain a correct name of a contact person and the journal's e-mail address.
    • The country listed in the DOAJ application and on the journal's website must be the country where the publisher is registered and carries out its business activities.


  • A journal must have at least one International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) registered and verified on
  • The ISSN(s) must appear on the website.
  • The name of the journal in the application to DOAJ and on the journal's website must be the same as that listed on

Quality control

A journal must have an editor and an editorial team.

  • The editorial team must appear on the website.
  • The names and affiliates of all editors and members of the editorial team must appear on the website.
  • Journals that display a list of their reviewers must state both the name and affiliation of all of them.
  • The journal's editorial team should consist of at least five people with suitable qualifications and expertise. It is recommended that not all members come from the same institution.

All articles must undergo quality control (a peer review) before publication.

  • The type of peer review and the details associated with this must be clearly stated on the website. This should also include the process for special issues if journals use special issues.
  • Each article should be reviewed by at least two independent reviewers.

It is recommended to use a service that can identify and prevent plagiarism, but this is not a requirement in order to be indexed in DOAJ.

The number of articles written by members of the editorial team should be minimised.

  • The proportion of published research articles where at least one of the authors is an editor, a member of the editorial team or a reviewer may not exceed 25% of the content in the journal's last two issues.

Special Issues

Journals publishing special issues or other content curated by guest editors must meet the following criteria:

  • •The editor-in-chief must be responsible for the content of the entire journal, including all special issues. These special issues must fall within the journal's focus area.
  • Articles in special issues must go through the same editorial process as regular articles, including external peer review, and must be clearly marked.
  • The journal must ensure that guest editors' information (including affiliation) can be checked and approved.
  • The editor-in-chief or dedicated members of the editorial team must supervise the work of the guest editor.
  • Articles submitted to a special issue by a guest editor must be handled in an independent review process and must not constitute more than 25% of the total content of the issue.


  • The license terms for the use and reuse of the published content must be clearly stated on the journal's website.
  • DOAJ recommends the use of Creative Commons licenses* for this purpose (see below).
  • If Creative Commons licensing is not used, similar terms and conditions should apply. Explanation of such conditions should be carried out with extra care.
  • It is recommended that licensing information be provided by or embedded in full-text articles, but this is not a requirement for indexing in DOAJ.

*In the case of Open Access publishing, Creative Commons licenses are a key copyright tool. With a Creative Commons license (CC license), the author retains the copyright to his work, but can then can tailor the copyright as needed, thereby giving the user of a work a number of freedoms in relation to applicable copyright. Creative Commons covers the area between full rights reserved ('all rights reserved'), partial copyright ('some rights reserved') and a total waiver of rights to the work ('public domain').

Read more about copyright on DOAJ's website on the subject.


  • Copyright terms that apply to the published content must be clearly stated and stand apart from similar terms that apply to the website, for example.
  • Copyright terms must not conflict with the license terms or conditions of Open Access policy.
  • Full rights reserved ('All rights reserved') are never suitable for Open Access content.

Read more about copyright at DOAJ's website on the subject.

Additional criteria for certain types of journals

There may be special rules or exceptions for certain types of journals. This concerns journals from the humanities/arts, clinical journals with 'case reports', conference journals, computer journals, 'overlay' journals, student-run journals, 'flipped' journals (formerly subscription or hybrid journals which have been converted to OA) and book review journals. These can be viewed on DOAJ's website.