“This month we look at Transformative Journals (TJs). We examine what their measures of compliance mean and how the criteria for growing OA in TJs compares with the typical growth of OA in hybrid journals….
The data suggest that historically, the OA proportion of journals’ output has not grown as fast as TJ requirements require:
Over the last three years, the total number of papers published across all journals currently marked as TJs is growing at roughly half the rate needed for them to continue to enjoy TJ status.
The number of journals meeting TJ requirements of OA growth is small. Only a dozen or so (out of around 2,000) have met TJ targets for each of the last three years. However, around two thirds have met TJ targets for at least one year out of the last 3.
The data also showed that only 20 or so journals (less than 1%) had over 75% OA uptake, while two thirds (68%) had 20% OA uptake or less. Smaller journals show the fastest growth in OA. Most of the larger ones appear to be virtually static….
The data suggest that the OA growth criteria for TJ status are aggressive, but not impossible. The current crop of TJs are on average growing OA proportions at around half the pace needed to be in compliance. (The average growth in OA uptake of hybrid journals from major publishers follows broadly similar patterns.) Many journals have previously met TJ targets for one year or even two, suggesting the challenges lie in adding to existing momentum, rather than building OA uptake from scratch.
However, the biggest caveat is timing. Support for TJs is due to be withdrawn completely in 2024, but two thirds of current TJs have less than 20% OA uptake. So many could meet their TJ targets, but still have only around one third OA uptake in 2024. Publishers would then be faced with a tough choice: flip minority-OA journals to fully OA, risk at least one third of output as zero-embargo Green impacting subscriptions … or fall out of Plan S compliance completely and lose one third of their submissions.”