TIB endorses the Action Plan for Diamond Open Access initiated by several European organizations. In doing so, it is underlining its desire to achieve a large-scale and fair transition to open access. This is necessarily dependent on an open infrastructure. The endorsement of the plan joins many related TIB activities.
Action Plan for Diamond Open Access
The Action Plan for Diamond Open Access has been initiated by Science Europe, cOAlition S, OPERAS, and the French Agence Nationale de la Recherche. The objective is to promote a sustainable and community-driven Diamond Open Access landscape. To this end, it is proposed to focus on four core objectives:
- Efficiency, e.g., through harmonization of approaches and standards and through interopeable technical systems.
- Quality standards, e.g. through harmonization of standards and through development of standards for all core areas of publication services, including development of self-assessment tools
- Capacity building, e.g. through the development of training materials, tools and guidelines, as well as through the participation of scientists; establishment of a competence center
- Sustainability, e.g. by protecting title rights, promoting secure governance models, identifying and enforcing transparent and sustainable business models, providing financial support for Diamond services
The support for the Action Plan already goes well beyond Europe and comes, for example, from AmeliCA, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Coalition Publica, and Creative Commons. Numerous individuals also support the appeal. From our direct library environment, for example, ZB MED, SUB Hamburg and SUB Göttingen are among the signatories. They all support the goal of better support and recognition of APC-free open access services.
Particularly noteworthy is the participation of funders such as the Bill & Melina Gates Foundation and, in particular, the cOAlition S. After all, initial criticism of Plan S was directed at the fact that it allegedly acted unilaterally in favor of commercial, APC-based open access models. If funders now clearly get behind at least equal funding for non-commercial models, this will be a good boost for these models.
Attention to APC-free open access models.
Such models, commonly grouped under Diamond Open Access, have recently received increased attention. For example, the German Science and Humanities Council (WR) has addressed them extensively in its “Recommendations on the Transformation of Academic Publishing: Towards Open Access”. The European Commission has issued two major calls for proposals to support APC-free institutional publishing services across Europe. In one, “Capacity-building for institutional open access publishing across Europe”, funding has already been announced: The DIAMAS project (“Developing Institutional open Access publishing Models to Advance Scholarly communication”) is dedicated to networking and advising institutional publishers (e.g., university presses). A related topic “Improving and coordinating technical infrastructure for institutional open access publishing across Europe” is dedicated to the technical aspects of such publishing venues. Both projects focus, among other things, on networking and the provision of help and information.
KU Leuven has launched a Fund for Fair Open Access. The UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science recommend non-commercial models without APC, and the Recommendations around 20 years of the Budapest Open Access Initiative list moving away from APC as one of the key recommendations.
Overall, the topic of Diamond Open Access is booming. It is encouraging that infrastructure is always considered here as well. A non-commercial Open Access landscape requires a decentralized, robust, standards-based infrastructure.
Role of TIB
In accordance with its missions and strategy, TIB is committed to ensuring optimal access to scientific literature. Open access is an essential aspect of unrestricted access. The APC model is not only expensive, but also complex to handle. “Diamond” models without APCs can play an essential role in making the transition to open access sustainable and fair.
Standards in quality assurance and in technical and legal publication parameters are important. Also in the context of non-commercial offerings and participation in discussions around the Action Plan, we will emphasize that desirable open access models go hand in hand with standards compatibility and quality assurance. The task of the aforementioned projects on Diamond Open Access is then also to help non-commercial publications not to have to make false compromises here.
The TIB is already involved in many ways in the field of “Diamond Open Access”. With the KOALA project, for example, we are pursuing the goal of financing APC-free journals and book series via library consortia. Our Open Access publisher TIB Open Publishing publishes APC-free journals and conference publications. We participate in consortial funding of OA journals and facilitate journal flipping. TIB contributes to the funding of important OA infrastructure (e.g. arXiv, ChemRxiv, PKP, DOAJ). In all these cases, we participate in discussions about further design and try to establish sustainable models.
Supporting the Action Plan for Diamond Open Access was a logical step.