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

A recipe for launching a diamond open-access journal with a century of geological knowledge in the pantry: Lessons learned from GEUS Bulletin

Catherine Jex1, Wiliiam Colgan2, Michael Bryld Wessel Fyhn2, Adam A Garde2, Jon R Ineson2, Adam Hambly3, Kim Hyojin4, Julian Koch2, Thomas Find Kokfelt2, Signe Hillerup Larsen2, Sofie Lindström2, Stefanie Lode2, Rasmus Bødker Madsen4, Mette Olivarius2, Kerstin Saalmann5, Sara Salehi2, Marit-Solveig Seidenkrantz6, Lars Stemmerik2, and Kristian Svennevig2
Catherine Jex et al.
  • 1Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS), Copenhagen, Denmark (
  • 2Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS), Copenhagen, Denmark
  • 3Department of Environmental Engineering, Technical University of Denmark, Lyngby, Denmark
  • 4Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS), Aarhus, Denmark
  • 5Geological Survey of Norway (NGU), Norway
  • 6Department of Geoscience, Aarhus University, Denmark

One active journal. Fourteen legacy titles. More than 3000 articles published since 1893 – some digitised, some not. One full-time member of staff. A small team of dedicated geoscientists. Limited budget. PlanS. Open-source journal software. If these are the ingredients, what is the recipe? 

Like many surveys, the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS) has a long history of publishing. Our full catalogue of titles extends back to 1893 and our current title, GEUS Bulletin (; formerly Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland Bulletin), has been active since 2003. Our journals have always been grassroots initiatives – run by scientists, for scientists. But two years ago, amid the fast-changing demands of digital publishing, the Survey faced a quandary: should we continue publishing our own journal? At a time of rapid proliferation of journals for any discipline imaginable, what niche did a geographically-focused journal fill? What should we modernise? Could we relaunch as an online, diamond open-access journal on our existing budget? Could we implement more of the services our authors wanted and attract more authors beyond our traditional audience? 

Two years later, we have successfully re-launched our collection of journals, without increasing our overall budget. Using open-source solutions, we have transformed our print-focused publication workflow to a new online, open-access platform and data repository. We are currently migrating our entire back catalogue of legacy titles to the same platform. Although we only have visitor data for our new platform since November 2020, we can see early signs of increased article views (c. +82% in Nov–Dec 2020, compared with the same months in 2018 and 2019) and a jump in traffic from external websites like Google Scholar (from 5% before re-launch to 35% after re-launch). In this presentation, we present a recipe that we hope other geological surveys, societies and institutions can follow when launching (or relaunching) their own journals using open-source solutions. We review the options available to small survey or society publishers on a limited budget, from journal hosting to typesetting. We highlight the advantages of non-profit open-access publishing and open source, community-driven solutions that currently exist. We close by highlighting the barriers that remain for small non-profit publishers when balancing discoverability, journal impact and compliance with the latest open-access initiatives such as Plan S, and web accessibility regulations.  

It is still early days for GEUS Bulletin, but we see the adoption of open-source platforms as the key ingredient to our potential for success in the coming years. Such platforms allow us to offer diamond open-access publishing and a data repository, while maintaining our non-profit, publishing model with neither author nor reader fees. 

How to cite: Jex, C., Colgan, W., Fyhn, M. B. W., Garde, A. A., Ineson, J. R., Hambly, A., Hyojin, K., Koch, J., Kokfelt, T. F., Larsen, S. H., Lindström, S., Lode, S., Madsen, R. B., Olivarius, M., Saalmann, K., Salehi, S., Seidenkrantz, M.-S., Stemmerik, L., and Svennevig, K.: A recipe for launching a diamond open-access journal with a century of geological knowledge in the pantry: Lessons learned from GEUS Bulletin, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-7168,, 2021.

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