So, how did JURN do in 2015? Here’s a quick end-of-year summary:
* Added around 450 new titles published in English, over 390 of those having been added since August 2015.
* The JURN Directory now contains links to 3,120 titles (that’s after duplicated links are removed, since some titles are in multiple subject categories).
* Found and added over 350 more eco titles published in English. Created a new openECO A-Z linked listing page for all 600 English-language eco titles in JURN.
* JURN has continued to directly add selected open journals in languages other than English. Many other non-English titles are of course silently and seamlessly added to JURN — via the natural growth of titles in reliable aggregation services such as Scielo, Revues, DOAJ and similar.
* Geology and mapping: Added a further 35 of the larger open geoscience journals, along with about the same number of mapping science journals. JURN’s coverage of geological topics is now excellent, including geological prehistory, paleontology and paleobiology. But note that about 60 minor geoscience titles still remain to be added (mostly these offer national coverage and are from small nations such as Portugal, Finland, Belgium, Hungary, Poland). These smaller titles are being slowly added to JURN.
* Law: JURN had a further large intake of general and specialist law journals in English in 2015.
* Non-English titles: Several new national open journal aggregators were added in 2015, such as those of Turkey and Malaysia. The link to Cyberleninka fulltext was repaired, restoring a swathe of Russian coverage.
* Repository fulltext: Continued selective expansion to cover the fulltext available in suitable open repositories. Special attention was paid to filling in any gaps in coverage of the Commonwealth nations, and to giving Africa (outside South Africa) better repository coverage where possible. Coverage of Arabic language material has also significantly improved, though in most cases the content is simple scans of calligraphic pages and thus is not searchable except via sparse metadata.
* Agency reports: JURN’s very big and thorough intake of eco journals had the side-effect of bringing in many subject repositories on such topics, especially marine and polar, and also national service repositories (Forestry Commission, National Parks Service, NOAA and similar). Also many well-hidden caches of reports and monographs issued by global development or conservation agencies.
* DOAJ: From late July 2015 the DOAJ’s article pages and linked table-of-contents were restored to JURN’s search results. They don’t tend to show up often (Google’s algorithms seem to be doing intelligent on-the-fly de-duplicating and discarding, preferring to surface a direct link to the original article where possible) but occasionally a DOAJ record will serve as a useful backstop for a search with thin results.
NEW FEATURES AND SIDE PROJECTS:
* July saw a couple of new features added to JURN’s search experience, such as it is. Speech input for the search box, and a new Image search option.
* August saw the launch of the full repository search GRAFT (Global Repositories Access — Full Text), based on a week’s work spent combining and thoroughly cleaning/updating various lists of the world’s repositories.
* Launched a paid Microsoft Publisher magazine template, as ‘donationware’ to help out with JURN’s modest running expenses.
* Some of JURN’s more awkward search results are slowly improving and getting easier to scan by eye, re: results with links cryptically titled “open file” or “7tgt4oe.pdf”.
* Of course, Google is also working behind the scenes on improving relevancy ranking, semantics, de-duplication, document title identification, and (most vitally) swiftly removing broken links. A user of JURN should encounter virtually no broken links.
CHECKING, CLEANING, TESTING:
* All the early 2009-10 additions to JURN were checked, getting a complete and very close hand-and-eye scrutiny and weeding. A small handful of undergraduate journals from those early years have been removed from the search index. They remain in the Directory.
* Close scrutiny of all Spanish, Portuguese, South American, Russian and French titles, to determine if they were better covered via results from Scielo, Dialnet or other aggregators. Also manually checked all Italian journals, even though they have no national aggregator.
* Fully auto-checked JURN’s entire URL index for continuing presence on Google Search. Continuing Linkbot checks of the JURN Directory.
* Three detailed group tests were undertaken, running JURN against a long list of other similar search tools.
* Ongoing monitoring of the evidence for claims about allegedly ‘questionable’ or ‘predatory’ journals, including weekly monitoring of the DOAJ’s ‘removed journals’ spreadsheet.
* JURN’s daily number of users continues to climb, though the huge spikes seen in previous years seem to have been evened out and lost among the constant traffic.