The Conference on Diamond Open Access is the third major event held at the summit from 11 - 13 December 2024. The theme of this main event is Diamond open access: centering social justice in scholarly communication to advance research as a public good.

This main event builds on the first iteration of the conference that was hosted by Redalyc/AmeliCA and partners.

Concept Note

The context

The Berlin, Bethesda and Budapest Declarations gave much hope for improved dissemination and access to scholarship. These Declarations make reference to research as a public good with the Budapest Open Access Initiative Bethesda Declaration committing to bidirectional flow of learning, that is, the flow of “learning[s] of the rich with the poor and the poor with the rich”. The philanthropic ethos of open access has been eroded: it has now become a business model adding a new challenge to the growth of scholarship from the ‘poor regions’ of the world. This reimagined business model is viewed as a new chapter in the consolidation of the exclusion of research voices from the ‘poor regions’ of the world.

Interventions conceptualised and rolled-out since the Declarations, and in some instances by the proponents of the Declarations, serve to support this business model at the expense of the ‘poor regions’ albeit, not by design. The article processing charges (APC) model, the core to the reimagined business model, has proven to be an extraordinary challenge for the global south.

The mainstreaming of diamond open access 1, among and between, the ‘poor regions’ is an inevitable response to the alienating APC model. This global summit intends building on successes in the removal of both financial and bias challenges. The road via diamond open access is a necessity and a survival response to exclusion and marginalisation. The growth of diamond open access is dependent on the growth of infrastructure supporting the model and on the networking of like-minded entities to intensify such growth.

Building on the Toluca Global Summit on diamond open access

The global summit in Toluca (Mexico) has cleared the uncertainty for the need to consolidate the assertion that research output is a public good. Global south countries, in  serious efforts to find solutions to its challenges to share its research output, have embraced and grown diamond open access. Redalyc/AmeliCA, the hosts to the Toluca summit, is at the forefront of this rapid expansion of diamond open access. In this second iteration of a diamond open access conference, there is cognition and support for more to be done to mainstream diamond open access. One of the more significant outcomes of the Toluca conference was the unanimous support for the rejection of APCs. Further, there is a realization by funders that their support for APCs is not sustainable and they are now throwing their weight behind diamond open access, in particular, the financial components (the cost factor). After a very successful summit, it is expedient that another global south region pursues the continuation of conversations and the consolidation of diamond open access.

The summit in Cape Town is intended to make explicit that financial barriers, for authors, are not the only challenge that has to be navigated to get published. The summit will, amongst others, unpack diamond open access through a social justice lens. One of the foci is the development of a publishing ecosystem that is devoid of bias, both conscious and unconscious.

1Diamond Open Access is a model in which readers do not pay for access and authors are not charged for publication (article/book processing charges).