Go back

Diamond unearthed: shining light on community-driven Open Access publishing


cOAlition S and Science Europe are pleased to announce the publication of an in-depth report and recommendations arising from a study of community-driven open access (OA) journals across the world that are free for readers and authors, usually referred to as “OA diamond journals”.

The study uncovers the full dimension of an important part of the world of scholarly dissemination that is as old as science itself: that of the scientific community assessing scientific quality and managing scholarly communication on its own“, highlights Lidia Borrell-Damián, Secretary-General of Science Europe. Specifically, the study examines the areas that are critical for OA diamond journals, from legal structures and governance to technical capabilities, editorial processes, and funding models. The report finds that diamond journals represent a vast archipelago of relatively small journals serving a wide variety of scientific communities. They largely depend on volunteer work, universities, and government funding. Diamond journals are making headway towards Plan S compliance but face a number of operational challenges despite multiple scientific strengths. They need to be more efficiently organised, coordinated and funded to better support researchers in disseminating their work.

The study’s recommendations are to prepare an International Workshop and Symposium within 6 months, set up a funding strategy within 12 months, and establish a Diamond Publishing Capacity Center within 24 months. This may allow research funding organisations, institutions, scholarly societies, and infrastructures to sustainably strengthen OA diamond journals in the context of open science.

The study was commissioned by cOAlition S and funded by Science Europe in order to gain a better understanding of the OA diamond landscape. It is the culmination of work undertaken from June 2020 to February 2021 by a consortium of 10 organisations: OPERAS, SPARC Europe, Utrecht University, UiT The Arctic University of Norway, CSI, OASPA, DOAJ, Redalyc-AmeliCA, LIBER, ENRESSH.

Download the study

The study in numbers

  • A survey of 94 questions in 6 languages
  • Responses from >1600 journals
  • 7000 free text submissions
  • 3 focus groups of 11 journals
  • 10 interviews with hosting platform

Notes to Editors

About the funders

  • cOAlition S is an international consortium of research funding and performing organisations supporting Plan S, an initiative for Open Access publishing that was launched in September 2018. Plan S requires that, with effect from 2021, all scholarly publications on the results from research funded by public or private grants provided by national, regional, and international research councils and funding bodies, must be published in Open Access Journals, on Open Access Platforms, or made immediately available through Open Access Repositories without embargo.
  • Science Europe is the association representing major public organisations that fund or perform excellent, ground-breaking scientific research in Europe. It brings together the expertise of some of the largest and best-known research organisations in the world to jointly push the frontiers of how scientific research is produced and delivers benefits to society. It advocates for science and the scientific community to help build the European Research Area and shape the global scientific agenda.

About the consortium

  • OPERAS is the Research Infrastructure supporting open scholarly communication in the social sciences and humanities (SSH) in the European Research Area. Its mission is to coordinate and federate resources in Europe to efficiently address the scholarly communication needs of European researchers in the field of SSH. OPERAS’ aim is to make Open Science a reality for research in the SSH and achieve a scholarly communication system where knowledge produced in the SSH benefits researchers, academics, students and more generally the whole society across Europe and worldwide, without barriers.
  • SPARC Europe is a Dutch Foundation with over 140 organisations from 23 countries supporting its work. It is working to make Open the default in Europe. Its work centres around 3 goals: Driving Open Access, expanding access to research data and accelerating Open Education in Europe through policy development and advocacy programmes.
  • Utrecht University Library offers support in every phase of searching for, managing and publishing scientific information. At the library, Jeroen Bosman and Bianca Kramer perform research and provide expertise on open scholarship.
  • UiT The Arctic University of Norway holds a long-standing commitment to open science. The university library organizes one of the most important conferences on scholarly communication in Europe, the Munin Conference. Jan Erik Frantsvåg, open access advisor at the university library, has a strong expertise in this topic and has published a number of scholarly articles on subjects relevant to the study.
  • The Center for the Sociology of Innovation (CSI), founded in 1967, became one of the world’s leading research centres in the field of Science and Technology Studies in the 1980s, when Michel Callon and Bruno Latour among others developed a new approach known as the «sociology of translation» or Actor-Network Theory (ANT). At CSI, Didier Torny’s research focuses on higher education and research public policies, as well as the political economy of academic publishing.
  • OASPA (Open Access Scholarly Publishing Association) is a membership organisation representing a broad community of organisations engaged in open scholarship, including scholar-led and professional publishers of books and journals, across varied geographies and disciplines, as well as infrastructure and other services. OASPA works to encourage and enable open access as the predominant model of communication for scholarly outputs, and to ensure a diverse, vibrant, and healthy open access community.
  • DOAJ is a community-curated online directory that indexes and provides access to high quality, open access, peer-reviewed journals. Currently, DOAJ lists more than 10 000 OA non-APC journals.
  • Redalyc/AmeliCA is a collaborative infrastructure for advancing diamond OA publishing. It provides journal production technology, editorial professionalization, journal quality assessment, visibility and discoverability services, metrics, full-text indexing and Linked Open Data. Currently, it indexes 1500 OA journals from 633 publisher institutions from 31 countries. The online collection offers around 800.000 full-text articles.
  • LIBER (Ligue des Bibliothèques Européennes de Recherche – Association of European Research Libraries) is Europe’s principal association of research libraries, consisting of nearly 450 national, university and other libraries from more than forty European countries.
  • ENRESSH (the “European Network for Research Evaluation in the Social Sciences and the Humanities”) is a network of researchers, research administrators and librarians that has grown out of a COST Action, starting in April 2016 and ending in April 2020. It brought together more than 125 participants from 36 countries.