Indonesia is number 1 for open access journal publication in the world: what it means for the local research ecosystem

The original Indonesian version on The Conversation Indonesia (we also made a backup as a Gist on Github)

Indonesia apparently ranks first as a country that publishes research journals with an open access system or what is called open access (OA).

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Open Access (OA) is a scientific paper publication mode that provides access to the public. Anyone can download the full paper and various supporting documents freely and for free because the author or research institute already covers the publishing costs.

The latest data shows Indonesia ranks first by publishing 1,717 journals with open access, followed by the UK (1,655) and Brazil (1,544) (note: we don’t the exact number, but we’re sure that at least 90% of them are using Open Journal System from PKP). The total of OA journals in the DOAJ list is only 16% of the total journals published in Indonesia. (note: we compare the total number from DOAJ with Garuda scientific database)

This achievement shows that Indonesia has an important position in the world of academic publications in the world. This article seeks to explain what this achievement means for the research ecosystem in Indonesia.

An open research ecosystem

The number of OA journals in Indonesia shows how the research ecosystem in this country has started to open up to the public.

Open access is the beginning of the development of science. These were the initial ideals of the open access movement. Knowledge will not be maximally developed if access is limited (paywalled).

The results of research, especially those funded by the state, should be opened as widely as possible to the public. The public here means not only the research community, but also the general public. They should also be given access to research results.

With the largest number of OA journals in the world, the knowledge of Indonesian researchers should be able to freely reach the public.

The government has started to realize this.

This is evidenced by the recent Law on National Science and Technology System (National System of Science and Technology Law – No 11/2019) which explicitely mandated (with no technical guidelines) all results to be open access.

Through this mandate, the government hopes to encourage not only the transparency of the research process, but also innovations and new findings that benefit society.

Indonesia’s research position in the world

The world should envy Indonesian researchers when they know that many Indonesian journals are OA journals and the majority of researchers will publish their articles free of charge.

According to our records, the research publication system in Indonesia since the 1970s has implemented the non-profit principle. At that time printed-research publications were sold for a low subscription fee which was calculated from the cost of printing only.

This is where Indonesia wins over any research ecosystem.

Some notable similar ecosystems are the Scielo research ecosystem in Brazil, the African Journal Online (AJOL) scientific publishing ecosystem and the Africaxiv from the African continent.

What these three ecosystems have in common is that they are managed by non-profit entities (the majority are universities, research institutes, and professional associations) with a non-profit governance model.

This is precisely the opposite of what happened in Europe and the North, which operate under the command of business entities that charge expensive fee no matter the option you choose, OA or non OA.

The next steps

To support the open research ecosystem in Indonesia with the OA journal, cooperation between journal managers, researchers and the government needs to be improved.

Here are some recommendations we offer to strengthen the OA system in Indonesia for relevant stakeholders.

Journal managers

Journal managers need to build self-confidence by building a more credible management of academic journals. To do this, for example, to establish generic and standard journal management guidelines at the national level (ARJUNA) and COPE at international level.

They also need to diversify science, such as types of papers that they accept for publication (aside to only accept original research), channels for disseminating (eg: in audio and video formats), as well as publishing networks not only domestically but also abroad, such as DOAJ, OASPA, and OAPEN.

Lecturers and researchers

Researchers or lecturers can reduce the motivation to publish their research in paid journals. They must realize that the research results are also important to be widely disseminated to the public.

They must also build their capacity to distribute their articles in a popular fashion to reach wider audience.

Government

The government needs to reduce or even stop their dependence on foreigners for instruments for assessing the quality of local journals or research, especially if we already have that instrument.

To replace it, the government can use journal management standards set by international organizations that publish journal management guidelines such as COPE. For the local version, Indonesia has ARJUNA).

The Indonesian government should use COPE and ARJUNA instead of exclusive standards such as Scopus and Web of Science because in the dissemination of science, exclusivity is one thing that should be avoided the most.

About the author

My current focus is how to provide the hydrostratigraphy of volcanic aquifers in Bandung area. The research is based on environmental isotope measurement in groundwater and morphometry. My work consists of hydrochemical measurements. I am using multivariate statistical methods to provides more quantitative foundation for the analysis and more insight into the groundwater behavior, especially its interaction with surface water. I use open source apps like R and Python to do the job. In my spare time, I also have a side project to promote open science in Indonesia's research workflow. One of my current focus is promoting INARxiv, as the first preprint server of Indonesia (osf.io/preprints/inarxiv) and serving as ORCID and OSF (osf.io) ambassador. Research interest: Hydrochemistry, multivariate analysis, and R programming. Blog: dasaptaerwin.net, derwinirawan.wordpress.com. (https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1526-0863)