“At Cambridge University Press, we’ve been engaged in a major expansion of our TAs with US institutions. Agreements with 130 institutions came into effect this year with a diverse mix of organizations, including state university systems, liberal arts colleges, and major research universities. These agreements follow the “Read and Publish” model (R&P) we kicked off in the US with the University of California system; repurposing institutions’ existing subscription spend to open up access to important scholarly content and to extend the reach of their researchers’ work. The success this year in the US now gives us real scale — we have over 100 TAs covering 1000 institutes in 30 countries — and a critical mass of customer, author, and stakeholder feedback has given us a much better sense of what we will need to prioritize moving forward.
Yet even as we’ve actively sought to build momentum for change through R&P arrangements, we know that the evolution of TAs is essential to a long-term transition. While there are still many challenges we must solve for collectively, we are focusing our external engagement on four main areas.
Funder mandates should not be the only drivers of change….
Increased scale must come with better use of resources….
Equity and diversity must be supported in new ways….
Following Springer Nature’s successful transformative agreements (TAs) in Europe and North America, the company is pleased to announce its first TA in the Asia-Pacific region. The agreement with the Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL) will give members of the CAUL consortium the ability to publish their research open access (OA) in over 2000 journals, making it CAUL’s largest TA to date.
Our two-year cost-neutral Read & Publish agreement with Jisc from 1 January 2020 – 31 December 2021 has been a great success and 29 UK institutions are participating.
We are delighted to announce that we have signed a new three-year Read & Publish agreement with Jisc from 1 January 2022 – 31 December 2024 (with an annual opt out). Information is available on the Jisc website here.
This blog post is an update to a previous post “SFI’s updated Open Access Policy – The Why and How”, published in February 2021. It explains what Transformative Agreements are and looks at why our researchers recently received a message saying that our Open Access allocations for 2021 for four publishers are due to run out before the end of the year.
Cambridge University Press and the Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL) have reached a transformative agreement to support Open Access (OA) publishing in Cambridge Journals for 2022. It is one of the first major uncapped transformative agreements reached with CAUL by a publisher of significant size in Australia and New Zealand.
Iowa State University’s OA Agreements are contracts and memberships that the University library manages to expand OA publishing options for ISU researchers. The first of our OA agreements was made in 2019 with De Gruyter, a German publisher with more than “900 journals in the humanities, social sciences, medicine, mathematics, engineering, computer sciences, natural sciences, and law.” Since then, we have since expanded our efforts to support over 10 individual publishers. These include both full OA journals, like PLOS and Frontiers, and hybrid OA journals like those published by Oxford University Press and Wiley.
Impact of the Agreements
The early impact of the library’s OA agreements was humble, but this changed in 2020, as more researchers across campus came to learn about these agreements through the University Library’s marketing and a new Open Scholarship Services website highlighting the publishers covered. That year, the library’s agreements supported the publication of more than 200 journal articles from ISU faculty, with nearly half of those articles coming from the departments of animal science or the College of Veterinary Medicine. This is due in large part to our agreements with Oxford University Press and Frontiers, which support excellent journals in the areas of animal science, genetics, and veterinary science. Other departments seeing noticeable support from our agreements include chemistry, agronomy, entomology, and ecology, evolution and organismal biology (EEOB).
Thanks to our new agreement with Wiley and the growing popularity of Frontiers, publishing under the library’s OA arrangements is on track in 2021 to more than double our 2020 output. A breakdown of our expected OA publishing output can be seen in Table 1….”
Abstract: With the growth of open access (OA), the financial flows in scholarly journal publishing have become increasingly complex, but comprehensive data on and transparency of these flows are still lacking. The opacity is especially concerning for hybrid OA, where subscription-based journals publish individual articles as OA if an optional fee is paid. This study addresses the lack of transparency by leveraging Elsevier article metadata and provides the first publisher-level study of hybrid OA uptake and invoicing. Our results show that Elsevier’s hybrid OA uptake has grown steadily but slowly from 2015 to 2019, doubling the number of hybrid OA articles published per year and increasing the share of OA articles in Elsevier’s hybrid journals from 2.6 to 3.7% of all articles. Further, we find that most hybrid OA articles were invoiced directly to authors, followed by articles invoiced through agreements with research funders, institutions, or consortia, with only a few funding bodies driving hybrid OA uptake. As such, our findings point to the role of publishing agreements and OA policies in hybrid OA publishing. Our results further demonstrate the value of publisher-provided metadata to improve the transparency in scholarly publishing.
[From the body of the text:] “The recent introduction of transformative agreements, an evolving concept describing contracts that shift library spending from subscriptions to OA (Borrego et al., 2020; Hinchliffe, 2019), might perpetuate the lack of transparency because pricing is often based on traditional subscription costs. Hence, the demand for publisher-provided data has increased. More transparency about hybrid OA uptake and funding could facilitate the assessment and adjustment of publisher contracts (Schimmer et al., 2015), enhance OA mandate compliance monitoring, and avoid double-dipping (Larivière & Sugimoto, 2018). However, previous studies have noted an absence of transparency in hybrid OA publishing and a considerable lack of publicly available and standardized data (Laakso & Björk, 2016; Lawson, 2015; Pinfield et al., 2016).”
“The MIT Libraries has negotiated an innovative open access agreement with the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) that allows MIT authors to make ACM articles freely available at no cost to them.
Under the agreement, MIT corresponding authors can make all articles and conference proceedings in the ACM Digital Library open access immediately at no cost to the author. Instead, MIT is paying ACM a single bulk fee to cover both article publication costs and subscription access. Authors who elect open access may select a Creative Commons license for article sharing and reuse.
The pilot agreement runs from January 2020 through December 31, 2022, and applies to manuscripts submitted and articles published during that period….”
“As of August 1, 2021, the University of California (UC) has a two-year open access agreement with the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). The agreement allows corresponding authors at all UC campuses and the Lawrence Berkeley and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories to publish open access in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) for a reduced cost and with no separate article page charges.
Researchers and students at all UC campuses will also be able to access all PNAS content, dating back to 1915, free of charge. This is the first transformative agreement between PNAS and a U.S. research institution. …”
“UK universities have a five year ‘big deal’ with Elsevier which runs to the end of December 2021. This deal gives Oxford staff and students access to more than 1,800 journals. Throughout this year, we are working in partnership with Jisc and with other UK universities to reach an agreement for the next five-year ScienceDirect (Elsevier) deal, commencing in January 2022.
This is an important negotiation since it seeks to combine subscription costs and open access publishing costs in line with Plan S funder requirements and the Jisc requirements for transitional open access agreements. UK universities spend more than £50m annually with Elsevier, yet it is the last major publisher to strike a transformative deal which combines access and publishing spend whilst constraining costs.
The Bodleian Libraries are working with the Open Access Steering Group and Research and Innovation Committee. It is important that decisions are made based on evidence, and data about usage and publishing levels in Elsevier journals will help to inform our approach. Additionally, we will take a consultative approach in partnership with academic divisions. This page will be regularly updated as negotiations proceed throughout this year, including details of any information events that are planned.”
“Research published by corresponding authors based at the University of Wyoming will be made open access at no additional cost, thanks to a new partnership between UW Libraries and Cambridge University Press (CUP).
Through the read-and-publish agreement, UW authors have the opportunity to publish open access (OA) in CUP hybrid and gold journals at no additional cost to themselves or the university. The agreement was made with the Colorado Alliance of Research Libraries, of which UW Libraries is a participating institution, to support OA publishing. The agreement with CUP is effective immediately.
The agreement covers the article processing charges for affiliated corresponding authors whose research articles are accepted for publication in CUP hybrid and gold journals during the three-year agreement term….”
To coincide with our first townhall event on the Elsevier negotiations, Professor Stephen Eglen offers his perspective on the University’s future relationship with the publishing industry. Prof. Eglen is Professor of Computational Neuroscience in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at the University of Cambridge.
I’m often asked why I single out Elsevier when discussing spurious publishing practices*. The simple reason is that they are the single largest publisher that most institutions deal with. Other legacy publishers adopt similar practices, outlined below, that I disagree with. However, given that Elsevier tends to take about 40% of our journal subscription costs, it is worth focusing on. Even finding out these costs required an extensive set of FOI requests over several years, revealing a large disparity in costs between UK Universities. However, I do not blame Elsevier for the current situation – they are a successful business with shareholders to satisfy. Their consistent high operating margins (~ 30%) indicate that they are very capable. However, this comes at a price, e.g. their current median gender pay gap in 2020/21 was 36%, compared to 11.1% at the University of Cambridge, and 7.3% at Springer Nature.