QOAM stands for Quality Open Access Market. The price-performance ratio varies greatly for open access journals. QOAM aims at offering authors, academic institutions and research funders a better insight in these differences. Bringing these figures together in one place stimulates a quality based market for open access journals. Publishers must then compete for the choice of authors and the preference of funders.
QOAM has two measuring points for the quality of a journal: the transparency of the journal’s website and experiences of authors who published in the journal. The website of a journal should be informative about matters like the peer review process, and the role of the editorial board (and who is in it!). This makes a journal trustworthy. Library staff checks the availability of this type of information by completing a questionnaire, the Base Score Card. Author experiences may differ from a website’s promises. Therefore, QOAM also solicits author satisfaction via a short questionnaire, the Valuation Score Card. So, quality in QOAM stands for the quality of the service of a journal, not directly for the quality of its content. An article by Jelte Wicherts has shown, however, that the transparency of a journal’s website predicts academic quality in new journals
Both the Base Score and the Valuation Score run from 1 to 5. A four color code is based on these scores. If both scores are high (≥3) the journal is categorized as Strong with color code green. If both scores are low, the journal falls in the category Weaker, with color yellow. If the website score is low, but authors give a high score, the journal is color coded blue and indicated as an Opportunity (for the publisher). It then simply suffices for a publisher to improve the transparency of their journal’s website to see the journal promoted to green. The color code red is given when the website is promising, but authors are dissatisfied. These journals are seen as a Threat (to authors) and could be phony journals. In QOAM this color categorization is referred to as the SWOT matrix.
Open Access is a nascent market for academic publishing. Prices are dynamic. QOAM collects price information from three sources:
(1) Via Base Score Cards libraries mention the publication fee as quoted on a journal’s web site;
(2) Via Valuation Score Cards authors share the, sometimes negotiated, price they really paid for having their article published;
(3) Increasingly, publishers settle licenses with (consortiums of) institutions, resulting in discounts on the publication fee. QOAM inquires about these discounts, if necessary with an appeal to the Freedom of Information Act.
At the detail page of a journal under the tab ‘Price information’ all three prices are reflected.
QOAM is in the overlap of three domains: (1) Quality, (2) Open Access, (3) Market. Do subscription journals fit into these domains?
Ad 1. Quality. Yes. The Journal Score Cards are business model neutral.
Ad 2. Open Access. No. Subscription is at odds with Open Access.
Ad 3. Market. No. The current Big Deal packages obscure any market idea.
So, subscription journals do not fit in QOAM. Hybrid journals, however, do. But limitation of QOAM to full OA journals only is a one mouse click option.
QOAM is based on academic crowd sourcing. This means that one has to register with an academic email address before completing a score card for a journal, and only one Journal Score Card may be published for a specific journal per person. Email addresses are checked against a list of registered academic institutions. If, nevertheless, some scores might seem extreme, these will be averaged out if a journal has several scores. Besides of that, score cards are weeded after two years in order to guarantee that the scores reflect the latest developments of a journal. If someone is in doubt about a score, they may (when logged in themselves) click the email address of the scorer and contact him or her. Moreover, it is possible to notify the QOAM-Team via firstname.lastname@example.org. Thus, we rely on academic vigilance to avoid improper use.
If an open access or hybrid journal is not included in QOAM, please notify this via QOAM’s Contact box. We will include this journal in QOAM provided that it can be found in JournalTOCs, our journal record provider.
Yes, QOAM can be customized both at a personal and a group level.
If an author wishes to define a personal collection of preferred journals they may simply do so in MyQOAM, a personalized market place. Their library may complete the Base Score Cards for this collection and the author might invite colleagues to share their experience with a journal. Such a collection is private and will remain available every time the author logs in.
QOAM also facilitates so called QOAMcorners: tailored collections for e.g. projects, research teams or conferences. A list of licensed journals or country based journals is also an option. Again, libraries may complete the Base Score Cards, but this time a group invitation tool is available for requesting larger numbers of authors to complete a Valuation Score Card. The person who has setup the corner acts as cornerAdmin and may update the corner. In contrast with MyQOAM, corners may be visited by everyone.