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Principles of Diamond Open Access Publishing: a draft proposal


The following article by Johan Rooryck (Editor in Chief, Glossa: a journal of general linguistics) was originally published on Hypotheses. It is part of the diamond papers, a collection of discussion papers exploring community-driven pathways to equitable open scholarly publishing.


The Action Plan for Diamond Open Access outlines a set of priorities to develop sustainable, community-driven, academic-led and -owned scholarly communication. Its goal is to create a global federation of Diamond Open Access (Diamond OA) journals and platforms around shared principles, guidelines, and quality standards while respecting their cultural, multilingual and disciplinary diversity. It proposes a definition of Diamond OA as a scholarly publication model in which journals and platforms do not charge fees to either authors or readers. Diamond OA is community-driven, academic-led and -owned, and serves a wide variety of generally small-scale, multilingual, and multicultural scholarly communities. 

Still, Diamond OA is often seen as a mere business model for scholarly publishing: no fees for authors or readers. However, Diamond OA can be better characterized by a shared set of values and principles that go well beyond the business aspect. These distinguish Diamond OA communities from other approaches to scholarly publishing. It is therefore worthwhile to spell out these values and principles, so they may serve as elements of identification for Diamond OA communities. 

The principles formulated below are intended as a first draft. They are not cast in stone, and meant to inspire discussion and evolve as a living document that will crystallize over the coming months. Many of these principles are not exclusive to Diamond OA communities. Some are borrowed or adapted from the more general 2019 Good Practice Principles for scholarly communication services defined by Sparc and COAR1, or go back to the 2016 Vienna Principles. Others have been carefully worked out in more detail by the FOREST Framework for Values-Driven Scholarly Communication in a self-assessment format for scholarly communities. Additional references can be added in the discussion.

The formulation of these principles has benefited from many conversations over the years with various members of the Diamond community now working together in the Action Plan for Diamond Open AccesscOAlition S, the CRAFT-OA and DIAMAS projects, the Fair Open Access Alliance (FOAA), Linguistics in Open Access (LingOA), the Open Library of HumanitiesOPERASSciELOScience Europe, and Redalyc-Amelica. This document attempts to embed these valuable contributions into principles defining the ethos of Diamond OA publishing.

Principle 1: Publishing is part and parcel of research and scholarship

Scholarly communication is an integral component of research and scholarship. Academic publishing must therefore be collaboratively driven and led by academic communities. All scholarly outputs (including preprints, review reports, revisions, editorial decisions and evaluations, data, editorial correspondence) are crafted by practicing researchers and scholars in the interest of science and society. 

Principle 2: Ownership and governance

Principle 1 entails that all content-related elements (journal and platform titles, papers, reviews, decisions, data, correspondence, reviewer databases) are controlled and owned by scholarly communities. These content-related elements cannot be sold or traded as commodities. Open licenses for content are the default.
Diamond OA journals and platforms, their associations, their publishers, and the organizations that operate or support them (henceforth ‘Diamond publishing’ for short) are legally owned by the scholarly community (e.g. via not-for-profits, scholarly societies, or academic institutions). Their governance model is transparently formulated, openly accessible, long-term sustainable, and responsive to the research communities they represent. 

Principle 3. Equitable by nature and design

Scholarly results and publications are a public good2. There should be no financial barriers to reading and publishing them. Diamond publishing does not charge obligatory fees to either authors or readers. 

Principle 4: A federated and global network of communities

Diamond publishing is socially defined as a decentralized federation of local, regional, and global scholarly communities that represent a variety of identities, epistemic traditions, languages, and disciplines. These Diamond OA Communities (DOAC) implicitly or explicitly share the values expressed in the principles of Diamond OA.

Principle 5: Service provision

Diamond publishing can make use of commercial service providers for service-related aspects of publishing, such as submission systems, copy-editing, typesetting, and digital preservation. Service provider contracts should provide cost transparency, be competitive, time-delimited, open for negotiation, and free of any lock-in mechanisms or non-disclosure agreements. All data shared with or collected by service providers remains in the ownership of the scholarly community, and must be digitally transportable to another digital tool or platform without additional fees.

Principle 6: Transparent and aligned quality standards

Diamond publishing follows aligned quality standards that are co-created in the Diamond OA Communities. Editorial policies (information for authors, reviewers, journal selection and conflict resolution procedures), ethics guidelines, and data policies are transparently formulated and accessible to all readers and authors. Such policies are respectful of the diversity of epistemic traditions and disciplines served by the journals.

Principle 7: Openness and innovation

Diamond publishing explores ways to increase access to open data and open peer review in a dialogue with their communities. Innovative models for scholarly communication, including post-publication peer review models, overlay journals, and preprint archives, are welcome in the Diamond OA Communities. Tools, services, and code should be made open and interoperable.

Principle 8: Diversity, equity, and inclusion

Diamond publishing actively supports diversity, equity, and inclusion in every dimension. It welcomes a variety of perspectives, disciplines, languages, and cultures in the interest of bibliodiversity. It robustly promotes and practices multilingualism. 

Principle 9: User rights and privacy

Diamond publishing readers and authors are not digitally tracked as traceable individuals. User data may be aggregated anonymously and regionally to identify trends and usage. Individual data will only be used for transparent, specific, and well-delineated purposes: e.g. review requests, publication correspondence, or invitations for narrowly defined special issues. Diamond publishing generates responsible metadata and metrics that are open, transparent, and designed to help build the scholarly community and consolidate knowledge for posterity.

Principle 10: Sustainability

Diamond publishing is an integral service component of research and scholarship that charges no costs to its users (Principles 1 and 3). As such, it is a distributed infrastructure as vital for research as Large-Scale Research Infrastructures (LSRIs). Its costs must be sustainably borne by academic organizations at the highest national levels worldwide (e.g. funding organizations and ministries of research and education). All Diamond publishing costs and contracts are open, transparent, and fully accountable. Individual remunerations of Diamond publishing personnel are consistent with the sustainability of the entire ecosystem.


1/. These are themselves based on the principles developed by Bilder G, Lin J, Neylon C (2015) Principles for Open Scholarly Infrastructure-v1 

2/. Technically, a public good is a good that is non-rivalrous and non-excludable. Knowledge as a public good is discussed by Neylon (2015).

Johan Rooryck

Johan Rooryck is Executive Director of cOAlition S and a linguistics professor at Leiden University. He is the editor-in-chief of the Fair Open Access journal Glossa: a journal of general linguistics since 2016. From 1999 to 2015, he was the executive editor of Lingua (Elsevier), when its Editorial Team and Board, as well as its reader and author community, decided to leave Lingua to found Glossa. He also is a founding member and president of the Fair Open Access Alliance (FOAA) and Linguistics in Open Access (LingOA). He is a Member of the Academia Europaea.