Diamond open access with preregistration: a new publishing model for palaeontology

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Harriet B. Drage , Thomas William Wong Hearing


The current academic publishing model is systemically unfit for purpose. The academic publishing ecosystem is dominated by a few large for-profit publishing houses which, at every stage of the publication process, transform academic work and public resources into private profit. Although extracting substantial profits, these publishing houses themselves add little value to the final published work, impose policies that strip copyright from authors and institutions, and bake in opaque and sometimes discriminatory gatekeeping to the publication process. Systemic problems in academic publishing have for decades been suggested to hinder access to academic research, suppress original thought, bias the publishing process against people with protected characteristics, and simultaneously provoke unnecessary changes to articles whilst failing to improve the quality of flawed work. The diamond open access (DOA) journal model addresses many of these issues, particularly financial accessibility and authors’ retention of copyright. Some publishers, such as the geoscience-specialist Copernicus Publications, have developed protocols to increase transparency and efficacy in review processes, and others have made recent moves towards including preregistration of research protocols with the aim of bolstering the rigour of the academic process. However, publishing options that offer all these facilities are few and far between. In palaeontology there is a notable paucity of transparent open science publications, with only a handful of discipline-specific options for DOA publishing. Here, we present a new publishing model that builds in financial accessibility, transparency, and accountability from the ground up. This model is broadly applicable across academic publishing, including to academic palaeontology. The new model incorporates community-driven DOA publishing procedures, a broad-access and transparent peer review system, research protocol preregistration, and a systematic but flexible approach to publishing work at various stages throughout the research process. We aim to demonstrate the potential of a more flexible, more transparent, more equitable academic publishing model, and declare our intention to establish a new palaeontology journal rooted in these principles.




Earth Sciences, Paleontology


academic publishing, Diamond open access, research preregistration, Peer review systems, palaeontology


Published: 2023-06-08 07:03


CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

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