Springer Nature (as Springer) signed its first transformative read and publish agreement in 2015. This Springer compact agreement with VSNU (Association of Universities in the Netherlands) was the first agreement of its kind to combine reading and publishing fees with the aim of transitioning traditional library subscription payments into central funding to support open access (OA) publishing. It has proved to be a pivotal moment in the transition to OA.
Since then, Springer Nature has agreed many such national agreements all around the world, including the world’s largest with Projekt DEAL in Germany. Through a series of case studies, this article will examine the role these agreements have played in facilitating the transition to OA – to bring centralized funding for OA – and analyse how their nature and characteristics have evolved and adapted to reflect the differing needs of individual customers, as well as changing views.
The paper will also consider the challenges faced by publishers, institutions, and funders in agreeing transformative agreements, consider how these ‘blockers’ can be overcome, and evaluate the future role of transformative agreements as a critical precursor to achieving open science.