The Records of the Australian Museum has long followed the principles of free, accessible and timely scientific publication – now, these principles have been rewarded by the journal’s admission to a prestigious publishing index.

In early March 2022, Records of the Australian Museum, the Australian Museum’s own peer-reviewed journal, was admitted to the influential Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). This global directory is an indexing service of entirely Open Access academic publications, one that presents a viable and increasingly powerful alternative to other well-established and often commercial directories and indices.

So, what is Open Access? In short, it’s a framework of principles and practices that allows research outputs – such as the articles published in our journal – to be freely available online, with no charge to readers or authors. In the strict sense, Open Access also reduces or entirely removes barriers to copying or reusing by applying Creative Commons copyright licensing. Provided access to the internet, these mechanisms allow for maximum availability and use, regardless of one’s geography, institutional affiliation, or financial means. Since going online in 1999, the journal has operated as an open access publication in many respects. However, it is only now that we have formally assembled all the necessary administrative steps in order that we meet DOAJ’s uncompromising, but critical, membership standards.

Timeline of frontpage design of Records of the Australian Museum.

Timeline of frontpage design of Records of the Australian Museum.

Image: Shane McEvey.
© Australian Museum.

Since its establishment in 2003, DOAJ has grown exponentially and currently comprises more than 17,000 journals worldwide. DOAJ’s mission is ‘to increase the visibility, accessibility, reputation, usage and impact of quality, peer-reviewed, open access scholarly research journals globally’. This statement aligns well with the AM’s own focus on making our science and collections widely and freely accessible to everyone – whether it is free general entry to the museum or free access to the publications based on research on its vast collections.

Since its beginnings in 1889 – when Sydney had a population of 400,000, the Eiffel Tower ribbon had just been cut, and construction of the Panama Canal was in its early stages – Records has continuously modernised at every opportunity by adopting new technologies, keeping up to date with best practice academic publishing standards, and sharing research based on our collections as they have steadily grown. Through adhering to stringent Open Access criteria, Records takes one further step forward. Now at the forefront of the Open Access movement in Australia, we are the first Australian journal on the DOAJ index in the fields of taxonomy, systematics and zoology, and one of only ten Australian scientific journals listed. We believe the indexation of Records will greatly enhance the journal’s reach and impact, making it more widely accessible than ever before.

Dr Anders Hallan, Associate Editor, Records of the Australian Museum; and Research Associate, Malacology, Australian Museum Research Institute.