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Bioline International – Journal Selection & Inclusion Policies

Bioline International’s mission is to provide reliable, sustainable access to a variety of bioscience journals published in the developing world, with the hope of diminishing the South to North knowledge gap and improving the international exchange of scientific information. With a focus on important international issues such as tropical disease, women’s and community health issues, biodiversity, the environment and international development, Bioline accepts applications from journals across the developing world. Journals that wish to participate in the Bioline International project must submit an online application, meet inclusion criteria, and be ready and willing to work actively with the Bioline International staff. Bioline International recognizes that journals, editors and staff from different areas of the world have access to varying degrees of technology and training, and thus the degree of involvement will vary from journal to journal.

Journal applications

All interested publications must complete an online application, available from the Bioline International website at:

Once a journal’s application is completed and received, the application will be reviewed by the review committee, consisting of members from the Bioline International Advisory Board. If suitable, the journal will be accepted and the procedure to add the journal to the Bioline system will begin. If there are insufficient resources at the time that a suitable journal is identified, it may be placed on a waiting list for inclusion. If a journal is deemed unsuitable due to application criteria or other issue, they will be notified as such. The journal may apply to join Bioline at a later date, should they undergo policy revision or other changes that may make them eligible.

Journal eligibility & inclusion criteria

Acceptable journals must, first and foremost, meet the following criteria:

  • Organized and published in a developing or transitional country
  • Published by a scholarly or academic institution or organization, operated on a not-for-profit basis – that is, be published on an academic or research basis – not a commercial venture
  • Willing and able to offer their journal on an open-access (free) basis in full-text format through the Bioline website
  • Contain only research material that has been peer-reviewed
  • Have a mission statement or focus that coincides with one or more subject areas covered by the Bioline International project

Furthermore, preference will be given to journals who also:

  • Are able to provide Bioline with useable digital copies of their published journal material
  • Are well established, with a clear indication of sustainable funding, and have a strong publication record
  • Publish on a regular basis
  • Show a willingness to maintain communication with the Bioline staff, despite the inherent difficulties of technological barriers

Journals that are not considered eligible if they:

  • Are not supported by a scholarly association or an institution
  • Are not peer reviewed
  • Do not show a sustainable method of funding
  • Are not willing to provide immediate free access to the journal content
  • Do not contain research that aligns with the subject areas of Bioline
  • Are published in the developed world
  • Have files that are published in such a way that they cannot be converted for the Bioline website (ie: no English abstracts, character sets that cannot be converted, etc).

Procedure for adding new journals to the Bioline International website

In general, the procedure for adding new journals to the Bioline website remains standard regardless of journal origin or what types of files are provided. 

The procedure for adding a new journal is as follows, once the journal has been accepted:

  1. Accepted journals are asked to sign a Memorandum of Understanding, granting Bioline International the right to distribute the journal content on behalf of the publishers. (example MoU - Bioline International E-Publishing agreement)
  2. Journal officials are asked to transfer a preliminary set of files for the most recent issue (or for the most recent publication year). A preliminary issue is processed and added to the Bioline International website, along with journal information pages, such as “about the journal”, “information for authors”, “editorial board”, etc.
  3. Journal officials are asked to check all material very carefully.
  4. Once all material has been checked and deemed acceptable, Bioline staff will begin to collect and add as many back files as the journal can provide. Back files are generally added as time and resources permit, while newly published issues of the journal are added immediately to the work queue.

In all cases, every effort is made to provide both PDF and HTML versions of the journal articles added. In the case of journals that are published in different character sets (for example, Turkish full text or Chinese full-text), only PDF versions of the text are added, though the abstract page should also contain an English abstract.

Procedure for removing a journal from the Bioline International website

Though it happens very rarely, there are some situations in which a journal may need to be removed from the Bioline International website. Such situations include:

  • A change in the journal’s editorial or publication policies, resulting in journal material that cannot be offered on an open access basis
  • The journal editors, officials, or steering committee no longer wishing to participate in the Bioline International project
  • Bioline International identifies a significant drop in the quality of journal articles, lack of peer review or other problem.

In such cases, the removal procedure is as follows:

  • A written notice to terminate the MOU will be issued
  • If the journal wishes to remove their journal material from the Bioline website, attempts will be made to resolve any problems and keep the journal. Bioline will also offer alternative solutions – such as offering the material on an open access basis with a delay from the original publication, or keeping the existing back files but not adding new back files.
  • If the journal refuses these options, all material will be removed from the Bioline International website and made completely inaccessible to any Bioline website users. In such cases, Bioline International will archive such material on CD or DVD, in case the journal officials change their mind at a later date – so that the material can be easily recovered without massive duplication of effort
  • Bioline International will notify any journals in advance of removing their journal material if problems are identified. Journals will be given the opportunity to rectify any issues. If quality remains a problem, Bioline will remove the journal from the website.

Wherever possible, Bioline will make an effort to post notices to website users, providing an alternate link (if available) or some direction as to how to contact journal officials.

Waiting list

If an acceptable journal cannot be added to the Bioline International website due to lack of resources, it may be placed on a waiting list.

Bioline will give preference to adding journals from the waiting list as soon as resources become available.

Last revised Nov. 27, 2008

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