o-1816 to the readers

The IJOEM, DOAJ Seal, and Plan S

Correspondence to
F. Hbibzadeh, MD, The IJOEM

Tel: +98-71-3225-2258

E-mail: farrokh.habibzadeh@theijoem.com

Received: Sep 29, 2019

Accepted: Sep 29, 2019

Influenced by the high penetration of the Internet throughout the world, Open Access (OA) publishing was officially born more than 15 years ago. The OA movement was begun to provide users with free access to scholarly publications for any lawful purposes.1 There are several types of OA. In “gold OA” journals, authors pay an article processing charge to publish in the journal. In “platinum OA” journals, authors do not need to pay for publication. Hybrid OA journals are a combination of subscription and gold OA models. Some OA journals provide immediate free access; others only after an embargo period of up to 3 years, which protects their subscription revenue.1

Established in 2003, the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) is an online directory of peer-reviewed OA journals. In December 2012, DOAJ announced that it had introduced new criteria for including journals in the Directory and intends to collect more information about the journals it lists.2 As part of this new accreditation process, journals already included in DOAJ were asked to reapply to be retained in the directory.

The IJOEM was accepted for inclusion in the DOAJ after its very first issue. Its reapplication was also successful and, based on the new criteria, the Journal was awarded the DOAJ seal, a mark reflecting a high level of openness and adherence to best-practices and highest publishing standards.3 To the best of our knowledge, The IJOEM is the only biomedical journal in the region to be awarded the DOAJ seal. Many journals in developing countries face problems in acquiring the DOAJ seal for lack of ready access to advanced digital tools, including permanent identifiers (eg, digital object identifiers, DOI) and online archiving systems (eg, PubMed Central).4

The DOAJ seal, although a sign of adherence to the highest publishing standards, does not indicate the scientific quality of a journal. However, Medline (Index Medicus), the most prestigious indexing system in the biomedical sciences, has indexed all the Journal’s issues, including those published before The IJOEM was accepted for indexing.5 Medline usually indexes only those issues published after the journal is accepted for indexing. Among more than 400 biomedical journals published in Iran, Medline retrospectively indexed all issues of only 3 journals after acceptance. Given Medline’s well-known strict prerequisites for including new journals, being indexed reaffirms the quality of our journal.

On September 4, 2018, a consortium of research founders, with the support of the European Commission and the European Research Council, established the cOAlition S (Plan S), an initiative to provide free, full, and immediate access to OA journals worldwide.6,7 According to Plan S, as of 2021, no scholarly publication should be locked behind a paywall or by an embargo.

Many OA journals are published in the world, but for the time being, only a few have implemented Plan S.8 I am pleased to inform you that The IJOEM, a platinum OA journal, is the only medical journal in the rejoin that has implemented Plan S. This implementation is, indeed, in line with our primary mission to provide free access to quality scientific materials for all people throughout the world.

We continue to improve our Web site;9 our Internet connection is now secure because we use an SSL connection. From this issue on, we will also provide podcasts for selected articles. Other changes are on the way—just wait and watch!


  1. Habibzadeh F. Open access journals in the Middle East and Iran. J Korean Med Sci 2019;34:e123. doi: 10.3346/jkms.2019.34.e123
  2. Frantsvåg JE. The DOAJ spring cleaning 2016 and what was removed—tragic loss or good riddance? Publications 2019;7:45. doi: 10.3390/publications7030045
  3. Directory of Open Access Journals. What is the DOAJ seal of approval for open access journals (the DOAJ seal)? Available from https://doaj.org/faq#seal (Accessed September 29, 2019).
  4. Gasparyan AY, Yessirkepov M, Voronov AA, et al. Comprehensive approach to open access publishing: platforms and tools. J Korean Med Sci 2019;34:e184. doi: 10.3346/jkms.2019.34.e184
  5. Habibzadeh F. Inclusion of the IJOEM in MEDLINE (Index Medicus). Int J Occup Environ Med 2013;4:1.
  6. What is cOALition S? Available from www.coalition-s.org/about/ (Accessed September 29, 2019).
  7. The Lancet Group. Plan S: the final cut. Lancet 2019;393:2276.
  8. Frantsvåg JE, Strømme TE. Few open access journals are compliant with Plan S. Publications 2019;7:26. doi: 10.3390/publications7020026
  9. Habibzadeh F. The IJOEM goes all digital. Int J Occup Environ Med 2018;9:161-2.

Farrokh Habibzadeh, MD,
Editor and Founder,

Cite this article as: Habibzadeh F. The IJOEM, DOAJ seal, and plan S. Int J Occup Environ Med 2019;10:157-158. doi: 10.15171/ijoem.2019.1816

 pISSN: 2008-6520
 eISSN: 2008-6814

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