Collection Spotlight: Diamond Open Access Journals and Support

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Aug. 22, 2023, 4 p.m.
Diamond Open Access journals are free for both authors and readers and are therefore an essential part of a more inclusive and equitable scholarly communication system.
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By Dylan Mohr, Open Scholarship Librarian

Publishing costs money. It makes no difference if the resource is open access (OA) or paid, there is substantial labor involved. It is expensive to maintain a journal, a press or a publishing house. How this labor is paid for is what varies.

Some OA journals fund their publication through fees levied on authors. These fees are called article-processing charges (APCs). Paid (or paywalled) journals fund their work through charging readers for access to their content. These paywalled models sharply limit access to their content to readers with the resources to pay for the journals. The APC model—while eliminating barriers to access for readers—shifts that economic burden to authors. In this model, only authors from well-resourced institutions can publish their work in OA journals. SU faculty, for example, can take advantage of the agreements the libraries have signed with publishers. The APC model has not solved the access problem in the scholarly communication ecosystem as much as it has shifted it elsewhere.

Diamond Open Access journals, however, do not charge APCs, and their content is freely available to anyone with an internet connection. But if publishing always costs money, how do these journals stay afloat? Syracuse University (SU) supports Diamond Open Access publishing in two ways. First, it commits collections resources to funding journals that have committed to diamond access and publishing models. For example, the SU Libraries contribute (along with many other institutions) to the funding of Diamond OA journals such as Cultural Anthropology—a leading title in the discipline. This support allows for not only SU-faculty to publish in the journal (SU’s Lauren Woodard published a wonderful piece in the journal last year), but it also for authors anywhere in the world to publish their work with the journal. Other supported journals include liquid blackness and Language, Literature, and Interdisciplinary Studies.

A second form of support for Diamond OA publishing is SU’s open access institutional repository, SURFACE, which publishes several peer-reviewed journals such as Excelsior and EnglishUSA. SURFACE also hosts journals highlighting the creative work of SU students and beyond, such as Intertext and Mend. A full list of SUFACE-hosted journals can be found here. The repository is staffed by a team committed to helping facilitate a more sustainable and equitable scholarly communication ecosystem by helping transition journals to a Diamond OA model while also giving them a robust set of tools to measure readership and impact as well as day-to-day support ranging from DOIs for articles to metadata entry.

If you have any questions about these funding commitments or about SURFACE, please contact Dylan Mohr at

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