Transitioning to Open Access: An Evaluation of the UK Springer Compact Agreement Pilot 2016–2018 | Marques | College & Research Libraries

Abstract:  This article analyzes the UK’s first “read and publish” journals agreement. The Springer Compact Agreement pilot ran from 2016 to 2018. The authors outline the methodology and data sources used to undertake a detailed analysis of the agreement. This includes the number of open access articles published, the number of author opt-outs and rejected articles. Institutional savings (or cost avoidance), and the financial implications resulting from the number of opt-outs and rejected articles are also discussed. The value of articles published and cost per download for non-OA content are also covered. The agreement, at the consortia level, has constrained the total cost of publication—during the three years, the HE sector has avoided paying additional costs of €20,000,800 ($22,761,688) for publishing OA by paying the single combined fee that capped publication costs at 2014 rates. All institutions taking part in the Springer Compact agreement published OA articles equivalent to or in excess of their total 2014 APC spend between 2016 and 2018. By 2018, 30 percent of institutions published OA articles to the value of or in excess of the combined fee paid to Springer. The article concludes with a number of recommendations for future agreements and considers compliance with Plan S guidelines.

 

OA2020 Progress Report

“To date, the OA2020 expression of interest in the Large scale implementation of Open Access to scholarly Journals has been signed by more than 140 research organizations representing over 4600 institutions from all regions….

A large number of our participants have made great strides in data gathering and analysis to understand publishing trends, track subscription and publishing expenditures, and cost-model transition scenarios. To support these efforts, a Open Access 2020 dataset has been released, enabling organizations to freely conduct analyses to better understand the volume and publisher share of the scholarly journal articles by corresponding authors from their country’s institutions, an essential step in preparing for a fully open access future….

Following the Final Statement of the 14th Berlin Open Access Conference which validated Transformative Agreements as a viable and effective method to accelerate the transition to open access, uptake of this strategy has grown considerably. The ESAC Registry of Transformative Agreements now counts more than 130 such agreements, negotiated in 19 different countries with 32 publishers large and small, leading to the publication of nearly 90,000 articles immediately open access in 2020….”

Open Access Transformation in Switzerland & Germany > ./scidecode

“Christian Gutknecht published an exciting posting on the Swiss EUR 57 million Elsevier deal in which he outlines the transformative Open Access agreement between Elsevier and swissuniversities. Since Germany has been trying for years to reach such a contract with Elsevier, it is worth comparing it with the two transformative contracts with Wiley and Springer Nature in Germany, which were reached and coordinated by Project DEAL. Both German agreements were discussed here before just as other transformative Open Access agreements. For those in a hurry: At the end of the posting there is a synopsis of the costs and Open Access components of the Open Access Transformation in Switzerland & Germany. At the very beginning I would like to thank Christian Gutknecht very much for sharing and discussing information that went into this posting….”

Transformative Journals | The Company of Biologists

“The Company of Biologists’ three hybrid journals – Development, Journal of Cell Science and Journal of Experimental Biology – have chosen the ‘transformative’ route towards Open Access.

As the first not-for-profit publisher to commit to the Transformative Journal approach, we are excited about this next step in our Open Access journey.

Our three journals are the very first to be listed by Coalition S as being Plan S compliant Transformative Journals.

We have offered Open Access publishing options since 2004 and two of our five journals are already fully Open Access. We believe that Open Access is the direction of travel and it is clear that, as well as reader benefits, Open Access provides our authors with a wider readership and higher usage for their articles.

The Transformative Journal strategy signals more clearly our commitment to move towards full Open Access, while allowing us to provide publishing options that support all our authors as we approach this change in the publishing landscape….”

Transformative Journals | The Company of Biologists

“The Company of Biologists’ three hybrid journals – Development, Journal of Cell Science and Journal of Experimental Biology – have chosen the ‘transformative’ route towards Open Access.

As the first not-for-profit publisher to commit to the Transformative Journal approach, we are excited about this next step in our Open Access journey.

Our three journals are the very first to be listed by Coalition S as being Plan S compliant Transformative Journals.

We have offered Open Access publishing options since 2004 and two of our five journals are already fully Open Access. We believe that Open Access is the direction of travel and it is clear that, as well as reader benefits, Open Access provides our authors with a wider readership and higher usage for their articles.

The Transformative Journal strategy signals more clearly our commitment to move towards full Open Access, while allowing us to provide publishing options that support all our authors as we approach this change in the publishing landscape….”

From Partisan to Partnership

“In the wake of OA2020 and Plan S, publishers are increasingly under pressure to enter into transformative agreements that transparently shift their business model from subscription to one based on open access publishing services. Embarking on such a transition can be extremely daunting for publishers, considering their rightful concern over long-term economic sustainability. Other issues have also become apparent. Many publishers and libraries lack the business knowledge to match author affiliations with subscription revenues/costs. Large publishers may be ready for a cost-neutral transformative agreement based on per-article charges, but an APC-based model may not work for other publishers/disciplines/institutions. Past attrition rates and subscription price increases have made both publishers and libraries wary. And the historic transactional relationship between publishers and libraries has given little opportunity to develop trust. Yet in recent months, a growing number of publishers have chosen the path of absolute customer engagement and transparency in order to define the terms of a new economic model or transformative agreement. This panel will offer perspectives from successful publisher-library collaborations that have led to forward-looking agreements and new business models. Panellists, comprising sets of publisher-library dyads, will share their insights into how transparency and trust transformed their relationships from partisan contracting parties into collaborative partnerships….”

 

From Partisan to Partnership

“In the wake of OA2020 and Plan S, publishers are increasingly under pressure to enter into transformative agreements that transparently shift their business model from subscription to one based on open access publishing services. Embarking on such a transition can be extremely daunting for publishers, considering their rightful concern over long-term economic sustainability. Other issues have also become apparent. Many publishers and libraries lack the business knowledge to match author affiliations with subscription revenues/costs. Large publishers may be ready for a cost-neutral transformative agreement based on per-article charges, but an APC-based model may not work for other publishers/disciplines/institutions. Past attrition rates and subscription price increases have made both publishers and libraries wary. And the historic transactional relationship between publishers and libraries has given little opportunity to develop trust. Yet in recent months, a growing number of publishers have chosen the path of absolute customer engagement and transparency in order to define the terms of a new economic model or transformative agreement. This panel will offer perspectives from successful publisher-library collaborations that have led to forward-looking agreements and new business models. Panellists, comprising sets of publisher-library dyads, will share their insights into how transparency and trust transformed their relationships from partisan contracting parties into collaborative partnerships….”

 

RLUK issues Content Statement in support of libraries reviewing new and renewed content purchasing – Research Libraries UK

“If we do not see concrete action towards the requirements listed below, RLUK member libraries will be forced to cancel valuable resources. We want to work productively with our closest partners, publishers and content suppliers, to develop sustainable business models which work for all stakeholders….

We require:

Reductions in annual subscription costs, not increases or price freezes. This supports the Jisc and Universities UK joint call for publishers to reduce their fees to maintain access to essential teaching and learning materials.

The combined cost of the read and publish elements of transitional deals to result in a reduction on existing subscription expenditure. This supports Jisc’s requirements for transitional OA agreements. It is no longer acceptable to base transitional agreement costs on both uplifted historical subscriptions expenditure and historical APC expenditure, without constraining or reducing costs going forwards.

A permanent move away from historic print spend underpinning the pricing of large subscription packages. We expect fairer and more innovative pricing models which reflect the current scholarly communications and budgetary landscapes.

More flexibility in content selection and a permanent move away from the outdated ‘big deal’ model. Tying valuable content up in large packages has been incredibly damaging to library budgets and collections.

All multiyear deals to have clear, no-penalty opt-out clauses which can be invoked 30 days before the renewal date. Notice periods for resource cancellations should also always be 30 days, rather than 60 or 90 days….”

RLUK issues Content Statement in support of libraries reviewing new and renewed content purchasing – Research Libraries UK

“If we do not see concrete action towards the requirements listed below, RLUK member libraries will be forced to cancel valuable resources. We want to work productively with our closest partners, publishers and content suppliers, to develop sustainable business models which work for all stakeholders….

We require:

Reductions in annual subscription costs, not increases or price freezes. This supports the Jisc and Universities UK joint call for publishers to reduce their fees to maintain access to essential teaching and learning materials.

The combined cost of the read and publish elements of transitional deals to result in a reduction on existing subscription expenditure. This supports Jisc’s requirements for transitional OA agreements. It is no longer acceptable to base transitional agreement costs on both uplifted historical subscriptions expenditure and historical APC expenditure, without constraining or reducing costs going forwards.

A permanent move away from historic print spend underpinning the pricing of large subscription packages. We expect fairer and more innovative pricing models which reflect the current scholarly communications and budgetary landscapes.

More flexibility in content selection and a permanent move away from the outdated ‘big deal’ model. Tying valuable content up in large packages has been incredibly damaging to library budgets and collections.

All multiyear deals to have clear, no-penalty opt-out clauses which can be invoked 30 days before the renewal date. Notice periods for resource cancellations should also always be 30 days, rather than 60 or 90 days….”

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back – The Pandemic’s Impact on Open Access Progress – The Scholarly Kitchen

“2019 was a watershed year for progress in the transition of research publishing to open access (OA). The shakeup caused by Plan S had some time to sink in, cancellations of big subscription deals ramped up, and as I noted last October, the conversation had shifted from “eventually things will move to OA,” to instead a sense of urgency, “we’re on the clock for a move to OA.” The value of open science (increased transparency, open data, open access to research results) has become increasingly obvious during the current global health crisis. Both the positives (rapid reporting and sharing of information) and the negatives (the glut of bad science being issued as preprints and promoted via mainstream media without proper curation) are now evident, with the good generally outweighing the bad. Despite the daily evidence of the importance of shifting to an open science environment for research, the economic fallout from the pandemic is going to make necessary progress difficult and slow….

Business models beyond the APC may have an even bigger struggle ahead. Because of the many shortcomings of the APC model, a variety of OA business models that can be applied in different contexts and that are appropriate for each community and research field are needed for long-term sustainability. Right now, most of the non-APC models in-play rely upon voluntary spend from someone. Will the cost paid for publication of a Diamond-OA journal out of a library make the cut when budgets are being slashed? Collective action strategies that rely upon libraries voluntarily paying for memberships or subscribe-to-open models are going to be similarly hard to justify, given that you receive all the same benefits of the model whether or not you choose to pay….

Open access relies on the concept that knowledge is a public good, but acknowledges that there are costs and efforts necessary to produce and maintain that public good. The global health crisis has the potential to bring stakeholders together in support of improving the way we communicate research results, but the accompanying economic downturn may create significant roadblocks to those efforts.”