Diamond Open Access – YERUN Event!
Posted by Dafni Kalatzi Pantera on 2022-06-30
A couple of weeks ago I attended the Diamond Open Access Event organized by YERUN as part of the Essex Student Journal team. The event was dedicated to the benefits of diamond open access(OA) techniques (as the title mentions).
For those of you who wonder what YERUN is, I’ll make things a bit clearer by explaining what the acronym means. YERUN stands for Young European Research Universities Network. The network was founded in 2016, and it brings together like-minded young research Universities in Europe, with the primary objective of raising the voice of young universities in Europe. Some of the network’s members are our University, the University of Konstanz, the University of Southern Denmark, Maastricht University, University of Potsdam, and many others (for more information you can visit their website: https://yerun.eu).
So, back to the event now. The event was held via zoom, so many researchers, librarians, and stakeholders could attend. It was divided in two parts. During the first part, some universities, including Essex, presented their efforts to promote Diamond OA techniques. It was impressive hearing about the initiatives that universities have put forward for supporting open access. The University of Konstanz for instance has created the ‘PANDA’ for establishing library consortia to fund open access journals and books. Additionally, the presenter of the University of Rijeka mentioned a phrase that I still remember, and it describes how we can promote diamond OA: small fund + some volunteer work + a lot of enthusiasm = creation of a greater public good. We also presented our Essex Student Journal, and we highlighted our main goal which is running a diamond OA journal for students by students. This event showed us that although our journal is much smaller and newer than other university journals, we have ways to expand, and partners to get advice from.
During the second part, we were divided into smaller groups for talking about the challenges of supporting diamond OA and discussing possible solutions about those challenges. My first reaction was: too many obstacles not enough solutions. As an early career researcher and an editor to the ESJ I know first-hand how difficult it is to promote diamond open access initiatives. Just to give you an idea, some of the barriers that we discussed were:
· Journals preferring traditional publishers
· Researchers’ fear that alternative diamond OA journals are not an actual alternative to big publishers (“Publish or Perish”)
· Negative beliefs about OA journals
Maybe you think that the number of barriers is small. But in this case the magnitude of the difficulties is what matters. Nevertheless, I don’t want to finish this news story with a pessimistic message, and I have to admit that some of the participants had very good ideas for overcoming these obstacles. By realizing that change comes when people collaborate, it is important to understand that creating diamond OA publishing opportunities should be a joint responsibility among policy makers, researchers, publishers, and funders. We need to commit to promoting new innovative models, like diamond OA ones. Just to show you that this is indeed possible, I want to mention the work of Science Europe which contributes to the aforementioned efforts to promote diamond OA initiatives. The organization has created the “Action Plan for Diamond OA” which aims to strengthen these types of publishing. You can read this action plan in full online.
In general, I think the event was one of the best events I attended this year, and I hope more events like this one will be organized next year. Diamond open access research is worth fighting for, and YERUN contributes a lot to this fight.