History of the Global Summit on Diamond Open Access

Sharing knowledge is a human right, and everyone, everywhere should be able to access, contribute to, and benefit from it. Underpinning the concept of open access is the principle that scientific and scholarly content should be freely available to all because knowledge itself is a public good. New and emerging technologies make it possible to achieve this vision, but in order for it to be fully realized, we need a shared understanding of exactly what it means to treat knowledge as a public good.

Diamond Open Access originated as a concept within the broader open access movement, gaining prominence in the 1990s as a response to concerns about the financial article processing charges barrier. Its emergence reflects a growing recognition for the need of a publishing model where both authors and readers incur no costs, ultimately fostering greater dissemination and accessibility to scholarly literature. This model is growing, with Latin America achieving close to a hundred percent success.  This growth is being consolidated through a conference series.

For the first time, the global community was invited to exchange and coordinate actions in favor of Diamond Open Access for a better support of equity in scholarly communication practices. The summit was co-organised by Redalyc, the Autonomous University of the State of Mexico (UAEMex), AmeliCA, UNESCO, CLACSO and the Action Plan for Diamond Open Access.

Having Latin America championing Diamond OA worldwide, the Global Summit on Diamond Open Access was hosted by Redalyc UAEMex in the city of Toluca, Mexico, during the international Open Access Week, from 23rd to 27th October 2023. It combined three events: the IV Redalyc Journal Editors International Conference, which also celebrated the Redalyc 20th anniversary, the II Meeting of AmeliCA members and the Diamond Open Access Conference segment of the gathering.

The purpose of the Global Summit on Diamond Open Access was to bring the Diamond OA community together in a dialogue between journal editors, organizations, experts, and stakeholders from Global South and North, seeking to implement collective action in the spirit of the UNESCO and BOAI 20 years Recommendations on Open Science, under the pillars of Equity, Sustainability, Quality and Usability.

Joining forces, sharing infrastructure, increasing capacities, meeting, recognizing each other, as well as understanding that OA is a means to an end, were the motivations that guided the call for a Global Summit on Diamond Open Access.

The Diamond OA Conference in Toluca, Mexico (25-26 October 2023), developed in collaboration with a consortium of 10 partners, addressed issues of governance, infrastructures, policy development, and the necessary evolution of research assessment systems to recognise the quality of Diamond OA publications. The agreement to set up a global alliance for Diamond OA was consolidated in the Toluca Summit, as reflected in the Conclusions. The global alliance is now in process in collaboration with UNESCO.

Six hundred and eighty-eight participants from 75 countries from 457 institutions attended the event, 260 in person and 422 online. The outcomes of the event are reflected in the Global Summit Conclusions and Way Forward and the Manifesto on Science as Global Public Good: Noncommercial Open Access along with the proposal of a Global Alliance for Diamond Open Access, now in process in collaboration with UNESCO.

The second iteration of the summit will be held in Cape Town carrying through the discourse in Toluca but with a focus on social justice.

Purpose

The purpose of the Global Summit on Diamond Open Access is to bring the diamond open access community and potential communities together in a dialogue between journal editors, organisations, experts, and stakeholders from around the globe.

The envisaged outcome of this dialogue is the consolidation and growth of diamond open access as a pathway for inclusive and equitable participation in the scholarly publishing ecosystem. The premise is that discoverable and accessible scholarly content is critical for the growth of research with the domino effect of making such research accessible to ALL; hence, the alignment with public good principles.

Logo

Symbolism of the Baobab Tree

The majestic baobab tree is an icon of the African continent symbolising life and positivity in a landscape where little else can thrive; it symbolises resilience and life, deeply rooted in African culture and ecosystems.  Its resourcefulness and generous support for confronting life’s challenges have contributed to its reference as “The Tree of Life”. The baobab serves as a metaphor for the resilience of individuals and communities in the face of adversity.

It is believed that kings and elders would hold meetings under the baobab tree, with the belief that the tree’s spirits would guide them in decision-making. Feeding off what the open access movement brings, it can now serve as a meeting place of the academy for accessing and disseminating African scholarship.

The baobab is found in dry and arid regions. However, the nooks and crannies of the trees have become useful little wells that hold water, important for both animals and people who stop for a drink and to enjoy the shade of the tree. The little pockets of scholarship that get into the open serve as an energiser for the growth of African scholarship.

The baobab in the logo sits on the symbol of the open access movement. This grounding serves as stimulus for the acceleration of African research output. The nourishment drawn from the ground around the symbol needs to pull together to contribute to the stimulation process.

The logo represents the coming together of the baobab tree and open access as a symbol of resilience, community, and the interconnectedness of all life, reflecting values of inclusivity, empowerment, and social justice. At the root is the pursuance of knowledge for the betterment of society.

Events

The 2nd Global Summit on Diamond Open sees three distinct events with common goals and objectives (that is, to develop capacity for the advancement of an inclusive and equitable open access paradigm) converge to create a dynamic forum for robust engagement.

This forum must deliver on an inclusive and equitable open access movement that consolidates south-south networking and engagements as well as bridges the north-south divide.

Toluca-Cape Town Declaration

The aforementioned dialogues will culminate in a Toluca-Cape Town Declaration which centers social justice in the diamond open access movement. Further, it is anticipated that there will be a roadmap linking good practices across the globe dispensing with the need to continuously reinvent the wheel in search for solutions to challenges.

Goals

The key goal of the summit is the centering of social justice within an inclusive and equitable diamond open access movement.

There are three other complementary goals, namely:

  • To grow the diamond open access model especially among marginalised research communities;
  • To grow an open access movement that is more inclusive and equitable; and,
  • To develop capacity through centering scholarly communication in  LIS education curricula.

Objectives

The core objective of the summit is to provide a forum for engagement on social justice driving diamond open access. This forum is intended to mobilize the international community to accelerate the dissemination of scholarship through the removal of bias and the financial challenges.

The complementary objectives of the summit are:

  • To grow the model and develop a sense of independence, it is critical to create a forum for the development of capacity which should include authorship workshops, editorial workshops and journal/monograph management workshops;
  • To grow the next generation of scholarly communication leadership, it is important for this forum to ensure that LIS schools mainstream scholarly communication within their curricula;
  • Given the pockets of excellence across the world, this forum would be appropriate to develop communities of practice to draw from these pockets of excellence for the continued growth and development of diamond open access;
  • There is a need for the forum to develop a broad diamond open access framework which is flexible for adoption and adaptation in various regions depending on context and need;
  • To accelerate engagement on research assessment and quality assurance for sustainability of the model; and,
  • To debate, conceptualise and draft a declaration for international roll-out in an effort to have a publishing ecosystem that is inclusive and devoid of bias, financial and otherwise.

Outcomes

It is anticipated that the primary outcome of the summit is the growth of networking and collaboration and the development of capacity to accelerate global south participation in the publishing ecosystem. 

Secondary outcomes include:

  • Increasing the visibility of scholarship from the global south and previously marginalised research communities;
  • Making global scholarship more accessible en route to accelerating the growth of scholarship emanating from previously marginalised research communities;
  • Curtailing helicopter research via the expansion of forums to disseminate research from global south and previously marginalised communities; and,
  • Eliminate or curtail conscious and unconscious bias which is prevalent (and often dominates) in the current publishing ecosystem.