EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Growing a diamond open access community initiative: Volcanica 3 years on

Fabian Wadsworth1, Jamie Farquharson2, Alexandra Kushnir3, Michael Heap3, Ben Kennedy4, Oryaëlle Chevrel5, Rebecca Williams6, and Pierre Delmelle7
Fabian Wadsworth et al.
  • 1Earth Sciences, Durham University, Durham, U.K. (
  • 2The Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami, Miami, U.S.
  • 3Ecole et Observatoire des Sciences de la Terre, University of Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France.
  • 4School of Earth and Environment, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand.
  • 5Laboratoire Magmas et Volcans, Clermont-Auvergne University, France.
  • 6Department of Geography, Geology and Environment, University of Hull, Hull, U.K.
  • 7Earth and Life Institute, UCLouvain, Louvain, Belgium.

The case for open access research is well established. At the core of the pro-openness argument is a philosophy that it is good if research outputs are widely accessible, breaking down the walls that stand between the world of research and the public. Moreover, openness ensures that scientists can access resources worldwide, even if their institutions cannot afford subscription fees, thereby breaking down economic barriers and access disparities that exist globally. In large part, publishers and publications are adopting this philosophy, and ensuring that the costs of publication are covered by charging them to the authors (via Article Processing Charges, or APCs) rather than the readers of research – this is the ‘gold’ openness model. However, these charges for publication are often very high, which discourages submission to gold open access forums and maintains an academic environment that favours the older ‘subscription’ models of publication.

At the journal Volcanica, we have found a way to remove both costs – costs to readers and costs to authors – by building a community journal that maintains exceptionally low running costs, paid for by a university press publisher – this is the ‘diamond’ openness model. We can achieve this by relying on volunteer time provided at no cost. In this presentation, we explore the current state of our journal three years after the publication of our first article. We survey the challenges faced by Volcanica as we grow, handle more submissions, and expand our reviewing, typesetting, and back-end work-flow. To meet these challenges, we have expanded our technical and editorial personnel.

Here we explore the growth challenges that are still to come, and compare our volunteer model with the model of the ‘academic society journal’, in which relatively minimal staff costs are paid for by a mixed model. The mixed model is still driven by article processing charges, but keeps those costs comparatively low, and offers fee-waivers on a needs basis, acknowledging that not all authors are well-funded. In doing so, we take a nuanced approach to the realities of growing a community-led endeavour, and examine the extent to which our model could be scaled to the size of the leading journals in our field. While we do not reach a definitive conclusion as to the role that Diamond publishing models will play in the future landscape of research dissemination, we hope that the presentation of our experiences is informative to the geo-scientific community, especially as new ‘diamond’ open journals – Seismica and Tektonika – are slated for launch in the coming years.

How to cite: Wadsworth, F., Farquharson, J., Kushnir, A., Heap, M., Kennedy, B., Chevrel, O., Williams, R., and Delmelle, P.: Growing a diamond open access community initiative: Volcanica 3 years on, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-15938,, 2021.

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