The Council of the European Union recently announced its support for scholar-led open access infrastructures. Per Pippin Aspaas draws on the Norwegian concept of the ‘dugnad’ to project the kinds of social infrastructures scholar-led academic publishing requires and how they might be funded.
On 23 May 2023, the Council of the European Union adopted its Council conclusions on high-quality, transparent, open, trustworthy and equitable scholarly publishing. Member states are encouraged to help build infrastructures to provide fertile ground for community-based, scholar-led open access. This is a welcome follow-up of the Action Plan for Diamond Open Access launched in March 2022.
This is absolutely fantastic news, we couldn’t be happier. Building upon the move away from reader access fees to also remove APC fees will genuinely make scientific publishing more democratic and egalitarian. As has been recently observed, the reasonable cost of quality academic publishing must be catered for, and there must be a national, trading block and international commitment to supporting publications. But we believe the Norwegian approach is fantastic! The EU is to be congratulated for this move. Dugnad rocks!
The publishing landscape is populated by thousands of scholarly journals that publish from 5 to 50 articles and academic book series that publish less than ten books on an average year. Such small-sized outlets tend to be initiated and run by scholarly communities (formal or informal learned societies) that live for rather than off their work. While Diamond Open Access already exists, it has not really taken off. Most small-sized outlets are still hosted by commercial entities that either hide all content behind paywalls, or require money from publicly funded institutions in the form of Read-and-Publish Deals or Gold Open Access publishing fees. Such outlets could easily be converted to a more sustainable, non-commercial, model of publishing.