Elsevier and Carnegie Mellon Reach Transformative Open-Access Agreement as Research Universities Seek Major Change – The Chronicle of Higher Education

“The impact of the University of California system’s decision in February to walk away from negotiations with Elsevier over journal subscriptions has rippled out to Pittsburgh, where Carnegie Mellon University’s libraries have struck a deal with the company that marks a significant stride in open-access publishing.

Under the agreement, Carnegie Mellon researchers will be able to read all Elsevier academic journals and, next year, can publish their articles in front of a paywall without having to pay an extra fee. The company and the university on Thursday said it was the first contract of its kind between Elsevier and an American university….

Webster surmised that the company wanted to make something work with Carnegie Mellon after UC canceled its subscription. “Elsevier probably couldn’t afford many more hits of licenses being canceled.”…

A spokeswoman for Elsevier did not respond to specific questions from The Chronicle or make representatives available for comment….”

Open access potential and uptake in the context of Plan S – a partial gap analysis | Zenodo

“Data available at: https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3549020

The analysis presented in this report, carried out by Utrecht University Library, aims to provide cOAlition S, an international group of research funding organizations, with initial quantitative and descriptive data on the availability and usage of various open access options in different fields and subdisciplines, and, as far as possible, their compliance with Plan S requirements.

Plan S, launched in September 2018, aims to accelerate a transition to full and immediate Open Access. In the guidance to implementation, released in November 2018 and updated in May 2019, a gap analysis of Open Access journals/platforms was announced. Its goal was to inform Coalition S funders on the Open Access options per field and identify fields where there is a need to increase the share of Open Access journals/platforms. 

The report should be seen as a first step: an exploration in methodology as much as in results. Subsequent interpretation (e.g. on fields where funder investment/action is needed) and decisions on next steps (e.g. on more complete and longitudinal monitoring of Plan S-compliant venues) is intentionally left to cOAlition S and its members….”

Gaps Report highlights why Plan S is needed | Plan S

“The main result of the study is that, in 2017 prior to the launch of Plan S, researchers across all fields had a number of options to share their peer reviewed articles immediately and openly. Already in 2017, 75% of all journals used by cOAlition S funded researchers allowed open access publishing. Many of these journals were hybrid journals but could be made compliant with Plan S by bringing them under ‘Transformative Agreements’ which many consortia around the world are seeking to negotiate with publishers. Alternatively, cOAlition S is developing the concept of “Transformative Journals” which would allow publishers to make their hybrid journals compliant with Plan S.

The study also shows that almost all hybrid journals and 50% of closed journals used by cOAlition S funded grantees already provided self-archiving options. A 12-month embargo period was the most prevalent in many fields. Arguably the simplest approach publishers could take to make their journals Plan S compliant (at least in the short term) is agreeing to a zero embargo policy. This study shows that examples of zero-embargo policies exist in all fields but especially in the social sciences.

The report reveals differences between research fields and subdisciplines in the availability of open access publishing options and their alignment with aspects of Plan S. It also shows that the usage of these options by cOAlition S funded researchers varied. These differences provide valuable insights into which approaches are working well in particular contexts, and provide fields and venues that can serve as examples or role models for other fields where appropriate.

In conclusion, across all disciplines, a large majority of existing journals could be made compliant with Plan S, either through “Transformative Arrangements” or through enabling unembargoed self-archiving….”

University of California statement on Carnegie Mellon University’s transformative open access agreement with Elsevier – Office of Scholarly Communication

“We congratulate our colleagues at Carnegie Mellon on their bold commitment to open access and their success in reaching this landmark agreement with Elsevier. We are hopeful that the Carnegie Mellon news is a positive sign that Elsevier is ready to start signing transformative open access agreements with other U.S. research universities.

While the details of Carnegie Mellon’s agreement with Elsevier have not been released, the broad brushstrokes are consonant with UC’s goals: an integrated agreement that includes open access publishing for 100 percent of the university’s research in all Elsevier journals. We look forward to the opportunity to re-engage in conversations with Elsevier to achieve a cost-effective agreement on similar terms.

Each transformative open access agreement that is signed, in Europe and now here in the U.S., whether with Elsevier or another major publisher, increases our confidence that slowly but surely the scholarly publishing industry is changing. Change takes time, but we are moving, step by step, toward a world where publishers and research institutions are partners in making knowledge freely and openly available to everyone….”

Carnegie Mellon Publishing Agreement Marks Open Access Milestone

“Carnegie Mellon University, a longtime proponent of open-access research, is championing an international movement to revolutionize academic publishing.

The university recently reached a transformative agreement with the scientific publishing giant Elsevier that prioritizes free and public access to the university’s research. This comes at a time when universities around the world are working to transition the current subscription system of scientific journal publishing to new open access business models.

Under the terms of the agreement, which is the first of its kind between Elsevier and a university in the United States, Carnegie Mellon scholars will have access to all Elsevier academic journals. Beginning Jan. 1, 2020, articles with a corresponding CMU author published through Elsevier also will be open access….”

Open and Shut?: Open access: Could defeat be snatched from the jaws of victory?

“When news broke early in 2019 that the University of California had walked away from licensing negotiations with the world’s largest scholarly publisher (Elsevier), a wave of triumphalism spread through the OA Twittersphere. 

The talks had collapsed because of Elsevier’s failure to offer UC what it demanded: a new-style Big Deal in which the university got access to all of Elsevier’s paywalled content plus OA publishing rights for all UC authors – what UC refers to as a “Read and Publish” agreement. In addition, UC wanted Elsevier to provide this at a reduced cost. Given its size and influence, UC’s decision was hailed as “a shot heard around the academic world”. 


The news had added piquancy coming as it did in the wake of a radical new European OA initiative called Plan S. Proposed in 2018 by a group of European funders calling themselves cOAlition S, the aim of Plan S is to make all publicly funded research open access by 2021. 


Buoyed up by these two developments open access advocates concluded that – 17 years after the Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI) – the goal of universal (or near-universal) open access is finally within reach. Or as the Berkeley librarian who led the UC negotiations put it, “a tipping point” has been reached. But could defeat be snatched from the jaws of success?

For my take on this topic please download the attached pdf. …”

Open sesame: An in?genie?ous step towards open access – Malhi – 2019 – Bipolar Disorders – Wiley Online Library

“In this context, a recent initiative in Germany now allows German institutions to publish open access with publishers such as Wiley. The agreement between Projekt DEAL institutions and Wiley is part of a nationally coordinated strategy to enable a large?scale transition of today’s scholarly journals to open access. As of 2019, researchers from Projekt DEAL institutions can now read all Wiley journals and publish their own primary research and review articles open access, retaining copyright of their works. Wiley will not charge fees to authors covered by the agreement. The Publish and Read (PAR) fees and Gold Open Access APC’s related to the agreement will be paid centrally via institutions but might be subject to local institutional arrangements regarding internal allocation.

For authors publishing articles in Bipolar Disorders several additional national Open Access agreements are relevant from countries such as Norway, Hungary, Austria and the Netherlands. The details of these can be found via Wiley Author Services at https://authorservices-wiley-com.ezp-prod1.hul.harvard.edu/author-resources/Journal-Authors/open-access/affiliation-policies-payments/index.html

These models are moving towards making information available freely to everyone, and everyone is essentially paying for it, accepting it as a necessity and human right. Granting bodies are increasingly funding publication and including these costs in their awards. Clearly the journals also benefit as broader access to a larger population will mean greater citations – enhancement of impact….”

It’s an Open World: A Round Table Event

“For more than 300 years, scholarly articles were locked in journals, accessible only to those with access to the print, and more recently digital, editions. Now authors, readers, journal editors, and publishers face expectations for articles and the supporting data to be open and easily accessible to all.

Open Access and its numerous business models have dominated much of the dialogue in scholarly publishing the past few years. Drawing on the experience of participants, SSP Philly seeks to uncover best practices and what to expect with new OA dynamics.

Philadelphia has a long history of publishing.  Come learn from your colleagues’ experiences, ideas, and recommendations about this new open world.  Begin the evening by mingling over food and drink, and then rotating into 30-minute group discussions across four roundtables, choosing from the following topics:

Plan S & Transformative Agreements
Data Sharing Policies & Tools
Preprint Repositories & Academic Social Networking Sites
Open Access in the Social Sciences and Humanities….”

On Plan S/transformative publishing, or … A disptach in the wake of the Charleston Conference

“–Depending on how much APC funding eventually shifts from libraries to the federal government, will the price mechanism for APCs adjust to accommodate the readiness of grant funding agencies to bankroll APCs?  If so, can we assume the government will have a more price-elastic posture than universities historically have had, given the latter’s tenure and promotion demand-side incentives to publish in high tier journals regardless the cost? If federal agencies are not elastically responsive to prices (i.e., if they reward publication in high priced journals without regard to prices), don’t we just perpetuate the high pricing that librarians have so long lamented, therefore shifting this malaise’s remedy to the public’s dime? Is this fair to the citizenry? How does this affect public funding for other federally funded initiatives?

–Concerns about “existential threats” now appears in discussions about scholarly publishing. Scholarly societies have them. Can societies be assured of stable revenue streams, erstwhile from library journal subscriptions, if some complex admixture of federal government grant funds and university funds fund APCs?

–There seems to be no discussion among librarians about an “existential threat” to their own profession. If funding of journals shifts from universities to federal funding agencies, doesn’t this cut out librarian involvement in selecting and funding journals? Correlatively, wouldn’t this reduce their budgets? Also, would this reduce their collection development role  to APC bean-counting, much of which will become the purview of offices of research whose involvement will merely be one of marking APCs as a line item in grant funding disbursement accounting? Would this be a good or a bad thing? 

–Where is discussion about the opportunity cost of diverting a portion of hard-to-get state-funded research dollars to funding APCs? What research, e.g. for renewal energy, or cancer or agricultural research for developing countries, now goes by the wayside?  

–Will societies and university publishers just gradually assimilate the newly emerging APC regime for their economic survival in funding membership activities, without discussions about possible threats to financial stability or discussions about the larger philosophical premises of doing so?


–On the philosophical issues, shouldn’t society publishers worry about governmental ideological manipulation of who within their memberships gets grant-funded APCs?  Sure, one could make that argument about federal grant funding per se. But doesn’t the latter arguably addresses an externality that (in an ideal world) concerns the common good, while APC funding is an externality that does *not* necessitate federal subsidizing–given that scholarly publishing mechanisms can and should be developed that don’t require federal subsidy?  These are points everyone should ask regardless of political affiliation.

–From what one speaker at Charleston said, the complexities of negotiating with publishers has a new overlay: tortuous internecine discussions among consortial members. If  this is true of all consortia, one has the sense that consortial leaders now have to have to engage game theoretic scenarios not only with respect to publishers, but also their individual members. Just imagine how much more complicated all this will now become with the pressures on libraries to pay for APCs. Isn’t it undesirable to introduce this added complexity, at least at this juncture? Why not just work on contracting the number of journals published, about which . . . 

–I’ve been arguing for contracting the number of journals, a la something like Bradford’s Law. A refinement on that: we need to distinguish two rationales for contracting the journal space. These are:

Rationale (1.) An argument on the principled basis that it is desirable to contract the number of journals, given that the ever-growing glut of journal articles undermines the common good of discoverability and assimilation of research findings.

Rationale (2.) An argument from economic reality: library budgets are relatively flat so we need to deconstruct Big Deals or even the number of subscribed journals regardless the journal sales model.

Shouldn’t big consortia use their negotiating power to argue that the ever-rising prices of journals (not to mention pressures for APCs merely to replicate the price dynamics of toll-access publishing) necessitates contracting the number of journals?  This point extends not just to toll-access publishing, but also gold ones? If so, pursuing rationale (1) for contracting the journal space aligns neatly with rationale (2) for doing so. I.e., rationale (2) becomes the vehicle for accomplishing rationale (1).

–I’ve also argued that consortia with journal negotiating power should educate their faculty about the need to contract the journal space. A refinement to that, too: the discussions should focus on rationale (1) above, rather than (2), which concer

The Open Access Landscape – an overview

A presentation by Jan Erik Frantsvåg at the 1st Basel Sustainable Publishing  Forum September 9th 2019.