OPERAS Certification Service Description

The OPERAS Certification Service is offered to publishers who have registered with Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB), and is provided by DOAB Foundation on behalf of the OPERAS community. The Certification Service is currently operating in beta phase and will move into production in 2022.

The Certification Service aims to certify open access (OA) book publishers, based on their publishing practices, in particular their peer review procedure and their licensing policy. The service is intended to certify publishers at both publisher level and individual publication level. The goal of the service is to support trust in OA book publishing, by improving transparency around quality assurance of OA book publishers and their publications.

When partner platforms conform to certain specified requirements, they will be able to provide the service to the publishers that use their platforms. Each of the publishing platforms has to be reviewed to become a certified partner.

Publishing platforms need to enable certification at publisher level, which means they need to work with publishers to achieve certification. In practise, certification is done through an application procedure. DOAB enables publisher level records to be enriched with peer review (PR) information, classes, and certificates. DOAB also enables publisher level PR metadata to be assigned at publication and chapter level.

Criteria for certification

The Certification Service is based on a review of three elements:

The publisher’s peer review process

Publishers need to have an established peer review process for their OA books. If only part of their list of OA books has undergone peer review, it should be clear which books were reviewed. The peer review process should be transparent and made public through the publisher’s website. Peer review should be documented at the level of individual publications. DOAB classifies the type of peer review using a classification scheme, based on information provided by the publisher through an online questionnaire.

In short:

  • Publishers need to conduct peer review (PR) according to a formal process.
  • Publishers are willing to make this process public through DOAB.
  • Publishers fill in a form to determine the type of PR.
  • DOAB classifies the type of PR based on a form (or forms, in case of multiple PR procedures).
  • Publishers need to document the PR process at book level.
  • Publishers are able and willing to share PR documentation with DOAB.
  • DOAB can ask for PR documentation of specific publications.

The licensing policy

Publishers need to make their publications available under an open licence. This can be any Creative Commons licence or another open licence, as long as the publications are made openly available without any access restrictions. The open licence should provide a clear description of user rights, which should be available online. The applicable licence should be available within the publication and also made available through a hyperlink in the accompanying metadata.

In short:

  • Publishers need to make their publications available under an open licence.
  • The publication should be made available without access restrictions.
  • The licence must provide a clear description of user rights.
  • The licence should be provided within the publication and in the metadata with a link to the description.

The information on the publisher’s website

Publishers need to provide clear information about their OA book offering on their website. This information should include a description of their peer review process and of their licensing policy. To a certain extent, this is a continuation of the existing requirements to be listed in DOAB:

  • Academic books in DOAB shall be available under an open access licence (such as a Creative Commons licence);
  • Academic books in DOAB shall be subjected to independent and external peer review prior to publication.

The policies and procedures regarding peer review should be clearly outlined on the publisher’s website.

Certification procedure

Publishers need to apply for certification through an online application process. They are asked to provide information about the elements that will be reviewed, including links to the information on their website. DOAB reviews the application, classifies the peer review process, and checks the information on the publisher’s website.

Terms and conditions

Publishers can request to be certified if they agree to the terms and conditions of the service.

Publishers need to provide correct information and may be suspended from certification if there is evidence that the information they provided is incorrect. Suspended publishers may be required to reapply for certification and their certificate may be revoked. DOAB reserves the right to announce such measures through its media channels.

DOAB Scientific Committee

The DOAB Scientific Committee advises the DOAB Executive Board and the Supervisory Board on scientific matters and monitors the development and implementation of the Certification Service.

The Scientific Committee (SC) consists of members with experience or knowledge in SSH scholarship and the editorial side of monograph publishing. SC members have a diverse background, representing different publishing cultures and disciplines. The SC is an independent body, to be consulted in scientific matters. Its members cannot have other roles within DOAB. SC members are appointed for a period of 4 years, and can be reappointed for new terms. Members of the Executive Board and the Supervisory Board cannot be members of the Scientific Committee. Decisions are made by consensus and, if consensus cannot be reached, by majority vote.

The chair shall be appointed by the members of the SC. The chair of the SC acts as advisor to the Executive Board.

Scientific Committee members

Peer Review Certification application

The following are the current questions provided to a publisher wishing to take part in the Certification Service. The publisher needs to answer these questions and the answers will be reviewed by DOAB. Subsequently, DOAB will decide on certifying the publisher.

Review timing - Question A: At what stage is the peer review being conducted?

  • Before submission
  • After submission
  • After publication

Reviewed object - Question B: What is being reviewed?

  • Book proposal
  • Full manuscript
  • Sample chapters
  • Book proposal & Full manuscript
  • Book proposal & Sample chapters
  • Research paper
  • Research proposal
  • Preprint

Review Process - Question C: Who conducts the PR?

  • A single peer reviewer
  • Multiple peer reviewers
  • Peer to peer review
  • Crowd sourced reviewers
  • Editor or series editor
  • Editorial board
  • A single peer reviewer & editor or series editor
  • A single peer reviewer & editorial board
  • Multiple peer reviewers & editor or series editor
  • Multiple peer reviewers & editorial board
  • Peer to peer review & editor or series editor
  • Peer to peer review & editorial board
  • Crowd sourced reviewers & editor or series editor
  • Crowd sourced reviewers & editorial board

Review Process - Question D: Level of openness?

  • Single blind peer review
  • Double blind peer review
  • Unblinded peer review
  • Open peer review (the review is public)

Decision process - Question E: Who oversees the peer review process?

  • Publisher
  • Editor or series editor
  • Editorial board or committee
  • Scientific committee