“As of 2017, the European University Association (EUA) assembled a unique collection of ‘Big Deals’ data on agreements between scholarly publishers and (national) consortia of libraries, universities and research organisations. This was carried out in the light of mounting higher education institution concerns about the increasingly unsustainable cost of subscriptions to scholarly publications. In 2016, EUA committed to “establishing an evidence base about current agreements and on-going negotiations with publishers in collaboration with NRCs”.1 Subsequently, data collected by EUA has served as the basis for two reports released in 2018 and 2019, respectively.2 Big Deals now receive increased attention due to their potential to ‘flip’ entire segments of the scholarly publication market from closed to open access publications. Big deals have also been widely criticised for locking-in library budgets, due to constantly increasing subscription costs. The 2019 EUA Big Deals Survey Report surveyed covered 30 European countries and found that over €1 billion is spent on electronic resources each year, including at least €726 million spent on periodicals alone. Big Deals are said to limit competition and innovation in the scholarly publishing system3 and curb universities’ and consortia’s financial freedom to pursue other priorities. However, recently, several European negotiating consortia and scholarly publishers have concluded Big Deals that allow eligible authors to publish articles in open access formats in specific journals. Known as ‘transformative agreements’, these contracts are also supported as one way to comply with future funder requirements that will apply as of 2021 under Plan S.4 In a system that is largely defined by Big Deals, this report aims to inform the transition to open access debate, by providing additional insights and indicators on these agreements’ costs, publication volumes and timelines. This has been achieved by placing EUA Big Deals data into context….
Part 1 explains the methods used to obtain the underlying data as well as limitations and responsible use of the data. Part 2 links the publication outputs of journal articles and reviews to the large five publishers’ market share. It seeks to provide a bigger picture of the relation between subscription costs and publishing output. Part 3 sets out an analysis of the price-per-article for each country and publisher, calculated on the basis of subscription prices and publication volume. It provides European negotiators with comparative Big Deals price per article data in 26 countries. Part 4 takes a closer look at the timeline of Big Deal agreements collected by the EUA Big Deals Survey. It shows that the 2018-2020 period is crucial for negotiations with scholarly publishers (in terms of market volume). Negotiations that occur during this time may also be crucial for the further development of ‘transformative’ agreements and therefore compliance with Plan S requirements. Part 5 provides a brief summary of our main findings, contextualises them with current developments and provides policy recommendations….”
by Lennart Stoy, Rita Morais and Lidia Borrell-Damián
Based on the data collected for the 2019 Big Deals Survey Report, this publication aims to deliver additional transparency of the dynamics of the scholarly publishing market by providing insights and indicators on the costs, publication volumes and timelines of Big Deal contracts. The report is part of EUA’s support to universities and consortia striving to create a transparent and sustainable open access publishing system, in particular in the context of Plan S.
This has been achieved by placing EUA Big Deals data into context. Specifically, this report uses aggregate data obtained from the Web of Science by Clarivate Analytics provided by the German Competence Center for Bibliometrics and correlates it with EUA data on Big Deals. The report uses data from 26 countries and contracts with the publishers Elsevier, Springer Nature, Taylor & Francis, Wiley and American Chemical Society collected in late 2018.
“This report provides a comprehensive and up-to-date overview of the current state of research assessment at European universities, and shows why and how institutions are reviewing their evaluation practices. Based on the results of the 2019 EUA Open Science and Open Access Survey on Research Assessment, it aims to inform and strengthen the discussion by gathering and sharing information about current and future university approaches to research assessment….”
“Evaluating research and assessing researchers is fundamental to the research enterprise and core to the activities of research funders and research performing organisations, as well as universities. The European University Association (EUA) and Science Europe are committed to building a strong dialogue between their members, who share the responsibility of developing and implementing more accurate, open, transparent and responsible approaches, that better reflect the evolution of research activity in the digital era.
Today, the outcomes of scholarly research are often measured through methods based on quantitative, albeit approximate, indicators such as the journal impact factor. There is a need to move away from reductionist ways of assessing research, as well as to establish systems that better assess research potential. Universities, research funders and research performing organisations are well-placed to explore new and improved research assessment approaches, while also being indispensable in turning these innovations into systemic reforms….”
“EUA and Science Europe are committed to working together on building a strong dialogue between their members, with a view to:
• support necessary changes for a better balance between qualitative and quantitative research assessment approaches, aiming at evaluating the merits of scholarly research. Furthermore, novel criteria and methods need to be developed towards a fairer and more transparent assessment of research, researchers and research teams, conducive to selecting excellent proposals and researchers.governments and public authorities to guarantee scholars and students the rights that constitute academic freedom, including the rights to freedom of expression, opinion, thought, information and assembly as well as the rights to education and teaching;
• recognise the diversity of research outputs and other relevant academic activities and their value in a manner that is appropriate to each research field and that challenges the overreliance on journal-based metrics.universities, funding agencies, academies and other research organisations to ensure that all researchers, teachers and students are guaranteed academic freedom, by fostering a culture in which free expression and the open exchange of opinion are valued and by shielding the research and teaching community from sanctions for exercising academic freedom.
• consider a broad range of criteria to reward and incentivise research quality as the fundamental principle of scholarly research, and ascertain assessment processes and methods that accurately reflect the vast dimensions of research quality and credit all scientific contributions appropriately. EUA and Science Europe will launch activities to further engage their members in improving and strengthening their research assessment practices. Building on these actions, both associations commit to maintaining a continuous dialogue and explore opportunities for joint actions, with a view to promoting strong synergies between the rewards and incentives structures of research funders and research performing organisations, as well as universities….”
“EUA and Science Europe have issued a joint statement on the need for research funders and research performing organisations as well as universities to combine their efforts to develop and implement more accurate, transparent and responsible approaches to scholarly research assessment.
Representing a vast section of Europe’s research and higher education system, EUA and Science Europe are committed to working together on building a strong dialogue between their members with a view to improving research assessment methodologies….”
“The Second EUA Big Deals Survey Report is an updated mapping of major scholarly publishing contracts in Europe.
Conducted in 2017-2018, the report gathers data from 31 consortia covering an unprecedented 167 contracts with five major publishers: Elsevier, Springer Nature, Taylor & Francis, Wiley and American Chemical Society. Readers will discover that the total costs reported by the participating consortia exceed one billion euros for periodicals, databases, e-books and other resources – mainly to the benefit of large, commercial scholarly publishers.
The report provides an overview of Big Deal negotiations across Europe, focusing on topics such as the organisation of negotiations, provisions on Open Access and transparency of contracts and costs. It also offers information on the consortia and focuses specifically on periodical Big Deal contracts with the five large publishers selected for this survey. Finally, the report addresses the costs of Big Deal contracts, offering conclusions and policy recommendations on the negotiation of contracts….”
“As part of the Association’s efforts to foster a more transparent and cost-effective scholarly publishing system, EUA would like to commission a study to explore possible scenarios for new ‘Open Access’ publishing agreement models. The study will be coordinated by EUA representing a consortium of 26 organisations across Europe. The consortium comprises national rectors’ conferences, providers of scholarly electronic resources, libraries, higher education and research consortia, and the EUA.
The study intends to analyse the impact of the ‘read-and-publish’ (R&P) agreements on the scholarly publication system, while proposing new, viable ways to comply with the increasing number of policies requiring ‘Open Access’ to research results from publicly-funded research. In addition, the study intends to support national negotiating consortia (or equivalent) in developing better value for money agreements with publishers in a sustainable way. The study also intends to inform further the dialogue between universities, research centres, publishers and stakeholders within the EU as well as worldwide….”
“Following the publication of the Plan S Implementation Guidance, EUA reiterates its supports for Plan S, and its vision to accelerate the transition to full Open Access, even if more details on Plan S will still need to be fleshed out in the future. EUA is looking forward to a renewed version of the Implementation Guidance and is encouraging more research funders to sign or follow Plan S. On behalf of its members in national rectors’ conferences and universities, EUA offers to continue the dialogue with research funding organisations on the implementation of Plan S….”