The seed of a global federation for Diamond Open Access has been planted

31st October 2023News, Open Access, Open Science

By invitation, SPARC Europe recently attended the Global Summit on Diamond Open Access. Participants reflected on the current diamond OA publishing system and how to develop and sustain a solid scholar-led not-for-profit diamond OA publishing ecosystem. The event created a very fertile ground for discussion by bringing people from across the world, from 75 countries and over 450 organisations speaking in four languages.

As world leaders in this area and our host, Redalyc demonstrated its extraordinary and admirable leadership in OA diamond with its innovative policy, organisation, infrastructure and community.  A strong shared vision, collective services, increasing efficiency and resilience in hard times, capacity-building and collaboration have been crucial to their success. From the summit we also gained a clear view of the work of others worldwide as they spoke to their diamond policies and practices as well as to their aspirations, whilst also highlighting some of the challenges in creating a diamond OA world.

The event’s rich global representation also reflected the variety of Diamond OA flavours that come from a wide range of cultural, economic and social contexts. Despite some differences, all agreed that the collective goal is to strengthen diamond OA worldwide and that we are far stronger together. And thus, it is now vital to join forces, organise ourselves, technically interoperate and pool our resources as we build a global Diamond OA federation whilst respecting autonomy and local interests. “Science is a common and public good!” We need to do our best to become stronger. Collaboration has the potential to bear fruits on various levels; advocating for more equity, upskilling or developing shared services, growing technical expertise in AI, blockchain and semantic networks or embedding quality diamond OA in research assessment in the future.

We discussed how this federation and movement could be governed and by which values and principles; from building and maintaining trust to inclusiveness and from understanding cultural sensitivities to designing and implementing mutually beneficial complimentary activities, to addressing multilingualism needs.

On a richly diverse panel, we spoke about how concretely we might fund diamond publishing worldwide using the SCOSS mechanism, both in the short and longer term. As funders declared that they are keen to support diamond OA publishing from now on, we announced that SCOSS will focus on supporting research funders, agencies and charities to make that process easier for them in 2024, also communicating that diamond OA will be one of the themes of the next SCOSS call. When the panel was asked what is needed to accelerate financial stability, we suggested that governments and funders contribute longer-term grants of 10 years to take off the pressure of frequent fund-raising.

 Furthermore, we encouraged all governments to consider introducing a national Open Science fund managed by a range of key stakeholders, which could also help fund Diamond OA. Some nations are already committing to Diamond OA, e.g. France and Canada, addressing bibliodiversity, equity and inclusion for the public good, and more government pledges would increase the impact of Diamond OA. National funding is essential to support both local culturally diverse and multilingual content and some of the international services that help many such as PKP.

The institutional Higher Education publishing system has the potential to thrive by closely collaborating with journal editors, owners, infrastructures and service providers sharing good practices, building capacity, and seeking out efficiencies as well as keeping costs necessarily down. We will need to frontload new investments in the transition phase whilst we build out this ecosystem across all continents in a new federated way to innovate, to scale up, to cover operational costs and for fundamental change to happen. We are excited about the challenge of building a new global federation of diamond OA.

We are grateful to UNESCO who will now host this new global federation of diamond OA, and SPARC Europe promises to take an active role in making this a success. What action will SPARC Europe take? We have already started raising an understanding and awareness of the OA diamond landscape and how to sustain it as one of the authors of the first comprehensive study of its kind, the 2021 OA Diamond Study and its Recommendations. We continue to build on this work in the EC-funded DIAMAS Project as WP leader on Sustainability. Furthermore, whilst we seek to develop capacity in this area, it is essential to understand the needs of our community and to involve them to better guarantee that what we produce is valuable. SPARC Europe strategically supports our DIAMAS colleagues as they create quality standards, toolkits, guidelines or policy recommendations, striving to ensure that OA diamond stakeholders are involved where they need to be throughout the project. In addition, we commit to helping research funders, agencies and charities fund diamond infrastructure through SCOSS by targeting our efforts to support them, in particular (in addition to libraries) to help them get necessary funding to OA diamond infrastructure that needs it from 2024. We also look forward to contributing to the development and life of the global diamond OA federation to help OA diamond thrive.

Please read the Conclusions and Way Forward of the Summit here.