A new approach to supporting scholarly communications: announcing the open access community framework (OACF)

Helen Dobson

Supporting the transition to open access (OA) requires a multi-pronged approach. A key consideration for Jisc and UK institutions is how to put into practice the commitment to a diverse scholarly communication ecosystem.

A man and a woman talking in a library.

To further realise Jisc and its strategic groups’ commitment to working with stakeholders across the scholarly communication landscape and supporting innovation, we’re now announcing a new approach to supporting publishers or initiatives operating under the diamond OA model – open access publishing with no subscription or author facing fees -  with the open access community framework (OACF). 

Jisc has worked with a range of subscription and fully OA publishers so far, negotiating agreements based on a variety of models, including read and publish, subscribe to open, funder-compliant green, to help all publishers wishing to engage with OA. We also have several agreements for OA monographs and agreements supporting core scholarly communications infrastructure, such as arXiv.

How does the OACF work?

Jisc will publish a call directed to mission-based and diamond publishers to submit an application providing detailed information about their journal/initiative and an annual UK HE funding target by a submission deadline date.

Jisc will then check submissions against sector quality standards and will work with approved publishers to arrive at institutional contribution levels (Jisc bands). To ensure full transparency, applications for all OACF participants will be published on Jisc’s website.

We’ll announce participants in late April and open catalogue pages in licence subscriptions manager, Jisc’s ordering system, so that members can see details of funding options and pledge support. The funding window will remain open until October.

To further smooth decision-making and increase efficiencies, Jisc’s supporter membership model licence will be used for all publishers participating in the OACF.

Throughout its development, sector representatives have emphasised why the OACF is important to their institution.

Chris Banks, director of library services at Imperial College and chair of Jisc’s content expert group, says:

“As we move from a world where we mostly fund reading, to where we fund publishing, we run a risk that we swap one inequality, that of privileged read access to research outputs, to another, that of the privileged (i.e., funded) opportunity to publish.
"The open access community framework is a mechanism to begin to redress this balance and to support the recommendations of a recent international report and recommendations on open access diamond journals.”

Jackie Proven, head of open research at the University of St Andrews, says:

“We believe it’s important that publishing choices remain as broad as possible for our authors across all disciplines. We are delighted that the OACF will bring renewed focus to diverse and innovative models, with a clearly defined community commitment, providing opportunities for sustainable and affordable OA publishing.”

A community funding approach

As the diamond OA model charges neither subscription nor author-facing publishing fees, publishers rely on community funding to support their operating costs and provide opportunities to authors for whom article processing charges are a barrier to OA publishing.

In consultation with our strategic groups, we’ve developed the OACF to help small publishers reach a wider potential support group and to help institutions understand when funding requests will be made so they can plan budgets accordingly.

Although library budgets are under increasing pressure, we’re aware that many institutions believe they have a role in supporting diamond OA and mission-driven initiatives and are considering how to direct budgets to do so.

Dominic Broadhurst, head of content and discovery at the University of Salford, says:

“We are already thinking about reconfiguring our information resources budget to reflect the changing landscape. The OACF is an initiative that will really help guide both our thinking and offer us practical solutions for supporting the open research agenda, such as diamond OA resources that align with Salford’s teaching and research areas.”

Invitation to participate

Find out more about joining the OACF in 2022, including the application form and model licence. The deadline for submissions is 31 March 2022.

Further enquiries can be sent to Helen Dobson (

About the author

Helen Dobson
Research licensing portfolio specialist (Jisc)