An introduction to transformative agreements
CCCU has signed agreements with the publishers Wiley and SAGE to enable researchers at the University to publish their research articles open access. Authors submitting articles for publication in journals in these agreements will have open access fees (usually known as APCs – Author Processing Charges) reduced or waived, depending on the agreement with the publisher. NB: the full waiving of costs only applies to some journals from these publishers – please check with the library (see below) to ensure the journal you want to publish in is covered by this before submitting your article. Costs for open access publishing in the agreements have been met centrally, arranged by Library and Learning Resources via Jisc, the license negotiator for UK higher education. The agreements are known as “transformative” or “read and publish” agreements, as they contribute to the global open access strategy, to transition academic journals to open access.
Under the predominant subscription model, libraries pay publishers lump-sum fees for read access to journal packages (a set number of journals from a publisher), and authors wishing to publish open access in an otherwise closed subscription, or “hybrid”, journal pay Article Processing Charges (APCs). In transformative agreements hybrid publishing costs are reined in and the revenue flows are shifted: authors no longer pay APCs and, instead, their institutions (via their libraries) repurpose former subscription expenditures to remunerate publishers for their editorial services associated with the open access publication of accepted articles.
What is a “read and publish” agreement?
A “read and publish” agreement occurs when an institution pays an agreed upon amount for “read” access to subscription-based journals (the subscription fee portion of the agreement) and receives “publish” benefits which means all eligible and accepted manuscripts by researchers in that institution are published open access immediately (the APC portion of the agreement). In the case of Wiley and SAGE, we have been given access to additional journals as part of the deal.
The agreements constitute the third route (“transition of subscription venues”) to compliance with Plan S, the plan of a coalition of research funders to ensure research funded by public money is published open access. As the name indicates, it is required that hybrid journals (publishing articles both behind paywalls and open access in the agreements) will transition to fully open access journals by 2024. As the OA2020 vision puts it, the agreements are ultimately serving to replace the “subscription business model with new models that ensure outputs are open and re-usable”. The aim is to achieve 100% open access publishing for all UK higher education authors opting to publish in journals in the agreements (by 2024).
Overview of the benefits of open access
[The image above shows eight benefits of open access:
- More exposure for your work
- Practitioners can apply your findings
- Higher citation rates
- Your research can influence policy
- The public can access your findings
- Compliant with grant rules
- Taxpayers get value for money
- Researchers in developing countries can see your work]
Benefits of transformative agreements
Transformative agreements offer institutions a framework to take immediate action and address the subscription paywall system (and hybrid publishing) head-on. As the vast majority of scholarly publishing and expenditure of any given institution tends to be concentrated in journals/packages of a relatively small number of publishers, implementing transformative agreements with these publishers, especially, constitutes a high-impact strategy: many institutions and consortia find that by negotiating such agreements with fewer than 10 publishers, they can achieve immediate open access for the vast majority of their outputs.
At the same time, transformative agreements can have an equally significant role in transitioning the portfolios of learned societies and small to mid-sized publishers, and they have a variety of models (not merely APC-based) that reflect the diverse and fluid landscape of scholarly communication.
Further information and help
Please contact Ian Simpson, Library and Learning Resources Collections Development Manager if you wish to publish in a Wiley or SAGE journal, and he will guide you through the transformative agreement process.
Jisc are currently in discussion about transformative agreements with additional journal publishers, so please watch this space for further developments.