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‘Mix of policies needed to support diamond open access’

Image: Grace Gay for Research Professional News

EU-funded Diamas project wants to raise awareness of benefits of scholarly publishing model

A “good mix” of top-down and bottom-up policies at institutional and national levels is needed to support the ‘diamond’ model of open-access publishing, according to a project aiming to develop institutional scholarly publishing.

The EU-funded Diamas project, Developing Institutional Open Access Publishing Models to Advance Scholarly Communication, is developing a set of policy recommendations and guidelines on diamond open access for institutional leaders. The model, which makes up a fairly small part of the scholarly publishing landscape at present, involves research papers being made openly available to readers with no charge to them or authors, through institutional support for the publishing platform.

The Diamas texts are due to be published next year, but on 26 June the project published a blog post setting out some initial ideas from a co-design process led by the European University Association.

Mix of policies

The blog post says that a mix of policies will be needed to overcome the challenges the diamond model faces, which it says include a lack of sustainable funding, incentives and rewards and professional staff.

Therefore, “more funding, capacity and infrastructure are required at the institutional level”, it says, alongside the creation of national capacity centres to pool funding and resources.

Institutional leaders need to “pay more attention to the potential” of the model, the post adds, acknowledging that they “struggle to see a clear return on investment” at present. Evidence is needed on costs and benefits, it says. 

National policy frameworks also have an “important role in fostering (or hindering) the adoption” of the diamond model, the post notes.

With researchers’ publishing preferences still strongly influenced by journal reputations, it calls for awareness-raising initiatives to extol the benefits of diamond open-access to the academic community as a whole.

New Swiss policy

Meanwhile, Switzerland has updated its National Open Access Strategy, and one of its six main objectives is that diamond open access should become “financially viable and a robust alternative for authors”.

“Especially concerning diamond open access, current [infrastructure and service] capacities must be scaled up in order to develop alternative solutions for reducing the dependency of scholarly publishing on oligopolistic markets,” the strategy says, adding that Swiss and European diamond ecosystems are at an early stage.

Revised by the association Swiss Universities and the Swiss National Science Foundation, the strategy says that all publicly funded scholarly publications should be made openly available immediately, have an open licence and be in a machine-readable format.