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Diamond Open Access

Diamond Open Access: An academic-led, community-driven, and equitable scholarly publishing model

Posted on : March 24th 2022

Author : Sithara Chandran


The Diamond model for open access has recently come to the forefront of discussion. With rising Article Processing Charges (APCs) under the Gold Open Access model, the focus has shifted to the Diamond model, which does not require APCs for scientific papers.

Science Europe and Coalition S, two organizations spearheading the development of an international Open Access strategy, recently launched an initiative to provide global support for establishing and maintaining the Diamond model. The action plan was made public on March 2, 2022.

Diamond Open Access is a scholarly publication model in which authors and readers gain access to journals and platforms for free. The estimated 17.000–29.000 Diamond OA journals worldwide (in 2021) represent 9% of the total article publication volume and 45% of Open Access publishing.

The OA Diamond Journals Study

Science Europe and cOAlition S issued an in-depth analysis and recommendations in March 2021 following a global study of community-driven Open Access publications. cOAlition S commissioned and supported the study in order to obtain a deeper understanding of the OA Diamond ecosystem. It analyzed crucial aspects for open access diamond journals, ranging from legal and governance frameworks to technical capabilities, editorial processes, and funding strategies. According to the study, diamond journals comprise a huge chain of relatively tiny publications serving a diverse range of scientific communities. They rely heavily on volunteerism, universities, and public funding. Although diamond journals are making progress toward Plan S compliance, they face a number of operational hurdles despite their numerous scientific merits. The report's recommendations are intended to assist research funding organizations, institutions, scholarly organizations, and infrastructures in strengthening OA diamond journals in the framework of Open Science in a sustainable manner.

In terms of financial health, the OA Diamond Journals Study states that little more than 40% of journals reported breaking even, while 25% reported a deficit. Almost a third of journals indicated that they were unaware of their financial condition, with university-owned journals and university presses accounting for more than a third of these. Additionally, 19% claimed that they were unaware of their previous year's expenses. While 60% of open access diamond journals rely on volunteers, with 86% reporting a high or moderate reliance on them, they also reported a diverse range of funding mechanisms to cover operations and development costs, including in-kind support, volunteer labor, grants, collectively-organized funding, donations, shared infrastructure, membership, funding proportional to the number of articles published, freemium services, and Subscribe to Open (S20).

The Action Plan for Diamond Open Access

Following the publication of this report, Science Europe, in partnership with cOAlition S, OPERAS, and the French National Research Agency (ANR), hosted a meeting on February 2, 2022, to explore best practices and further enhance Diamond Open Access's essential elements:

  • Efficiency
  • Quality Standards
  • Capacity Building
  • Sustainability

Earlier this month, Science Europe, cOAlition S, OPERAS, and the French National Research Agency (ANR) unveiled an Action Plan for Diamond Open Access, aimed at advancing the development and expansion of a sustainable, community-driven Diamond OA scholarly communication ecosystem. The action plan aims to address gaps in the technological foundations of diamond open access, and the management of diamond journals and platforms, as well as their visibility and sustainability. The action plan seeks to build an inclusive global community equipped with the resources necessary to strengthen and increase the exposure of existing Diamond OA journals and platforms.

At the time of its launch, the Action Plan received support from a broad and diversified collection of over 40 international organizations¹.


With traditional journals transitioning to diamond open access forms through initiatives such as S2O, it is envisaged that this equitable form of open access in which neither users nor author(s) pay fees will account for a larger share of the entire system in the near future. For open access to be successful on a global scale and across all disciplines, it must embrace and encourage equitable open access models such as Diamond open access.


Reflections on the OA Diamond Journals Study
EUA signs Action Plan for Diamond Open Access
Funder groups announce push to strengthen ‘diamond’ open access
The OA Diamond Journals Study

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