Guide to applying

Before you start the application process, you will be asked to log in or register. You will be able to save your progress and review all your answers before you submit them. A PDF version of the application form is available for reference only.

Basic criteria for inclusion

The type of journal that can apply

Open access journals published in any language may apply.

  • The journal must be actively publishing scholarly research
    • All research subject areas are accepted
    • Should publish at least 5 research articles per year
    • The primary target audience should be researchers or practitioners
  • Newly launched journals
    • Before applying to DOAJ, a new journal must demonstrate a publishing history of more than one year, or have published at least 10 articles.
    • This is in addition to the standard requirement to publish a minimum of 5 research articles per year.

The type of open access

  • DOAJ only accepts open access journals.
  • We define these as journals where the copyright holder of a scholarly work grants usage rights to others using an open license (Creative Commons or equivalent) allowing for immediate free access to the work and permitting any user to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose.
  • The journal must display an open access statement indicating that it fulfils the DOAJ definition of open access.
  • The full text of all content must be available for free and open access without delay
    • No embargo period
    • Requiring users to register to read content is not accepted
    • A charge for the print version of a journal is permitted

Journal website

  • The journal must have its own dedicated URL and homepage that is accessible from any location
  • The website must be clear and easy to navigate
  • The journal should adhere to the guidelines described in the Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing
  • Each article must be available as an individual, full-text article
    • one unique URL per article
    • HTML or PDF, as a minimum
  • Journals that include intrusive advertising will not be accepted. See best practice recommendations for advertising.
  • DOAJ does not approve of the use of Impact Factors. However, we acknowledge that the only official Impact Factor is that created by Clarivate. Journals must not display Impact Factors/similar rankings from any other service
  • The website does not need to be in English. If the site is available in multiple languages the information provided must be the same in all languages.

The following information must be available online, and easily accessible from the journal homepage:

  • Open access policy
  • Aims and scope
  • Editorial board (including institutional affiliations of all members)
  • Instructions for authors
  • Editorial process (peer review)
  • Licensing terms
  • Copyright terms
  • Author charges
    • If a journal doesn’t have any charges then this must be stated
    • Must include all fees that may be charged to the author, from submission to publication, including:
      • submission fees
      • editorial processing charges
      • article processing charges (APCs)
      • page charges
      • colour charges
  • Contact details
    • The contact details must include a contact name and the journal's dedicated email address
    • The country in the application and on the journal website must be the country where the publisher is registered and carries out its business activities


  • A journal must have at least one ISSN (International Standard Serial Number) which is registered and confirmed at
  • The ISSN(s) must be displayed on the website.
  • The name of the journal in the application and on the website must match what is shown at

Quality control process

  • A journal must have an editor and an editorial board.
    • The editorial board must be listed on the website.
    • The name and affiliation of all editors and board members must be included.
    • If the journal is run by a student body, it must have an advisory board of which at least two members have a PhD or equivalent.
    • The editorial board for the journal should consist of at least five people. It is recommended that board members should not all come from the same institution.
  • All articles must pass through a quality control system (peer review) before publication.
    • The type and details of the peer review process must be stated clearly on the website.
  • Use of a plagiarism checking service is recommended, but not required for inclusion in DOAJ.
  • Endogeny should be minimised.
    • The proportion of published papers where at least one of the authors is an editor, editorial board member or reviewer must not exceed 20% based on the research content of the latest two issues.


  • The licensing terms for use and re-use of the published content must be clearly stated on the website.
  • DOAJ recommends the use of Creative Commons licenses for this purpose.
  • If Creative Commons licensing is not used, similar terms and conditions should be applied.
    • Extra care must be taken to state these terms clearly.
  • It is recommended that licensing information is displayed or embedded in full text articles, but this is not required for inclusion in DOAJ.
  • More about licensing

  • The copyright terms applied to the published content must be clearly stated and separate from the copyright terms applied to the website.
  • Copyright terms must not contradict the licensing terms or the terms of the open access policy.
    • “All rights reserved” is never appropriate for open access content.
  • More about copyright

Additional criteria for some journal types

  • Arts and humanities journals

    • For these disciplines (pages 10-16 only), DOAJ can accept journals that undertake editorial review, rather than peer review. Editorial review must be handled with a minimum of two editors.
  • Clinical case reports journals

    • DOAJ only considers case reports as research if they include the retrospective analysis of more than three clinical cases and/or a literature review. Before applying, make sure that the journal has published at least five articles per year that meet this definition.
  • Conference proceedings journals

    • For DOAJ to include journals that are dedicated to publishing conference proceedings, the journal must have an ISSN and a permanent editorial or advisory board providing editorial oversight. Papers from each published conference must be peer-reviewed according to DOAJ criteria. Full text of all conference papers must be available. Individual conference proceedings will not be indexed.
  • Data journals

    • DOAJ will accept journals publishing research articles about data or datasets, but not journals that simply link to datasets or announce their availability.
  • Overlay journals

    • DOAJ will accept journals that select and peer-review articles that are hosted on a preprint server or other site.
  • Student-run journals

    • If a journal is run by a student body, there must be an advisory board for the journal where at least two members have a PhD or equivalent qualification.
  • Flipped journals

    • Where a journal was previously published as a subscription or hybrid journal and has now flipped to a fully open access model, this information must be clearly displayed:
      • The date of the change to fully open access
      • The availability of the archive material (open access, free, or paywalled)
      • Reuse rights of the archive material (all rights reserved or open license)
    • For a journal to be included in DOAJ, all content published after it has flipped must be completely open access.
  • Mirror journals

    • A mirror journal is a fully open access version of an existing subscription journal, with the same aims and scope, peer review processes and policies and an editorial board with at least 50% of the same members. The journal may have a similar name as the subscription title, but it must have a different ISSN. DOAJ will currently accept mirror journals if they meet the usual basic criteria for inclusion.
  • Book review journals

    • Journals consisting only of book reviews will not be accepted.

The application process

  1. Your application is successfully submitted when you see a Thank You screen and receive a confirmation email.
    • If you do not receive that email, contact us.
  2. Your application will be reviewed by an editor. You may receive an email alerting you when this process has started.
  3. The editor may need to contact you as part of the review process. Please answer any questions they send you. This helps us process your application correctly. Be aware that we will reject an application if, after one month, we haven't received answers to our questions.
  4. The editor reviewing your application may be a volunteer and will not have a email address. Check your spam folder frequently just in case the emails have ended up there.
  5. If your application is accepted, you will receive an email to confirm this.

Time from submission to decision

The time from submission to decision varies greatly and is dependent on the responsiveness of the journal contact and/or applicant. Generally a decision is reached within three months. We cannot provide a status update for applications which are less than three months old.

If your application is rejected

You will receive an email giving the reasons for rejection of the application. Unless otherwise advised by DOAJ staff, you may not submit another application for the same journal until 6 months after the date of the notification of rejection.

If your application was rejected due to an unconfirmed ISSN, we may be able to reopen the application if the ISSN is confirmed within 3 months of the DOAJ rejection. Send an email to the DOAJ Helpdesk.

You are responsible for providing accurate information when submitting an application. Applications that contain information that is inaccurate or wrong, or that have answers missing, are automatically rejected. In cases where journal information is found to be untrue or misleading, DOAJ may decide not to allow further applications from the publisher for a period of up to three years.

DOAJ accepts only journals that follow good publishing practice. If our review finds a publisher is not adhering to best practice, or has questionable publishing practices, DOAJ will not allow further applications from that publisher for a period of up to three years.

Journals already accepted into DOAJ may be removed if they are found to be no longer adhering to DOAJ criteria or publishing best practice.

Please ensure that, if you do apply again after the exclusion period, the journal meets the DOAJ criteria for inclusion and any necessary changes have been made to the journal website or policies.


You may submit an appeal if your journal has been removed from DOAJ, or your application has been rejected and no new application is allowed for at least a year. Send an email to the DOAJ Appeals Committee.

The appeal should contain the following information:

  • Journal title
  • Journal ISSN
  • Reason for appeal
  • Evidence for the DOAJ Appeals Committee to consider
  • The original notification of rejection/removal

Appeals are considered by the DOAJ Appeals Committee, consisting of the Editor-in-Chief and members of the editorial team. Committee meetings are held monthly. After your case is discussed a member of the Committee will contact you with the result of your appeal. This will not be the same Managing Editor who handled your case originally.

No further communication will be entered into after the appeal is heard and the Committee has made their decision.

Updating your journal record

For journals that have been accepted into DOAJ, it is important that the information we hold about them is up to date.

You can update the journal information via our API or by logging into your account and going to your Publisher dashboard. Under 'My journals' is a list of all the journals connected to your account. Use the black 'Update' button, next to each journal record, to submit an update request to us.

A journal update request form will open with the current answers pre-filled. Change any answers that need to be updated. If you haven't updated the journal since before November 2020, when we revised the form, we suggest that you review every answer. Note that some questions may not have an answer, as new questions were added in November 2020.

Once you have amended and reviewed the answers, submit the update request to us.

Update requests are reviewed by the DOAJ editorial team for accuracy and we aim to process them within six weeks of submission.

In other languages

We are always looking for volunteers to translate our criteria. If you would like to volunteer to do this, please contact us.

Our criteria are in:

Change log

This is Version 1.2 of the Guide to applying.

Version: 1.2 (February 2022 - extra copyright and licensing information were moved to a separate page)
Version: 1.1 (December 2021 - a clarification to endogeny criterion)
Version 1.0 (November 1.0)