I have heard of 'green' (self-archiving in a repository) and 'gold' open access (immediate open access in a journal), but what is 'diamond' open access? How does this differ from green or gold open access?

3 Answers 3


Diamond open access is like gold, in that the article is immediately open access in the journal, and nobody has to pay to read it. However, in gold open access, the author (or their institution or funding agency) normally has to pay a publication fee to get the article published. In diamond open access, they don't have to pay, so the process is completely free of charges to both authors and readers.

See http://www.jasonmkelly.com/2013/01/27/green-gold-and-diamond-a-short-primer-on-open-access/

  • 6
    You have warmed this librarian's heart with this correct answer. :)
    – D.Salo
    Apr 11, 2016 at 22:30
  • 3
    A bit off topic: How, then, does the journal pay its expenses?
    – GEdgar
    Apr 12, 2016 at 0:34
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    Some through in-kind support and donated labor. Some (see e.g. the Open Library for the Humanities) through pass-the-hat support from libraries and relevant university departments. Some grants. Some advertising. Some a mix of the above strategies. There's lots of ways.
    – D.Salo
    Apr 12, 2016 at 2:45
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    You could also phrase it this way: Diamond is like green, but with peer review. Apr 12, 2016 at 9:21
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    See also this article by Bob Rosebrugh on "Experience with a Free Electronic Journal::Theory and Applications of Categories", a diamond open access journal: Notices of the AMS, January, 2013. : dx.doi.org/10.1090/noti930 ."The word “free” in the title intentionally has two meanings: free of cost and in a state of liberty. The thesis of this note is that mathematics journals should be free and that this can be achieved much more easily than might be supposed. " Jan 13, 2017 at 15:50

I'll add a Venn diagram defining the different types of access:

enter image description here

Source: Jamie-farquharson - https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.21598179 CC BY 4.0. Wikimedia Commons.


A diamond open access journal can be paid for through the Society's membership fees, which include access to the Journal. If journal access is free anyway, you may ask why would people pay membership fees? Because they believe in the mission of the Society, want to support the open access journal, get a discount on annual meetings, and generally support that society and journal.

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