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The University of Bolton Library

Research support

Transformative agreements - Read and Publish

Sometimes referred to as ‘Read and Publish’, this is the means by which publishers are moving their subscription journals to an open access model.  Most European publishers are now operating via transformative agreements instead of traditional subscriptions. Most journals in these agreements with be pure OA or hybrid*, moving towards being fully OA. For publishing researchers, this means that for most journals there is an option to publish Open Access, this requires the payment of an Article Processing Charge (this is known as Gold OA).

*Hybrid journals are subscription journals that include some OA articles.

JISC provides an explanation:

Since 2013 most subscription publishers have received two forms of payments from UK institutions: subscription fees and OA article processing charges (APCs). Efforts to constrain these costs have only partially succeeded and the transition to OA has not been as rapid as anticipated, with publishers unwilling to shift away from the subscription-based business model. In 2018 UK academic institutions and sector agencies, working alongside Jisc Collections, established a set of requirements for transformative agreements which set out the measures required to accelerate OA in the UK.

Plan S, announced in September 2018 by a group of research funding organisations (cOAlition S), aims to expedite the transition to full and immediate OA to research publications and challenges publishers to move away from the hybrid (subscription) business model. Under Plan S, publishing in hybrid (subscription) journals is only permissible if journals are part of a ‘transformative arrangement’.

(https://www.jisc.ac.uk/full-guide/working-with-transitional-agreements)

Due to the central funds running low, Wiley have now introduced restrictions to limit funded APCs to UKRI/Wellcome (and previous COAF member) funded articles from July 1st 2021. Authors who cannot now be funded directly via an institution are able to get a 25% discount on their APC, but this will not be funded by the University. If you would like to take advantage of this please conatct the Library for the appropriate code. 

Transformative agreements and you

The publishers all have slightly different rules and criteria. However, the basic idea is that each publisher sets aside a central pot from the money libraries continue to pay in ‘subscriptions’. The cost of the APC is deducted from this pot of money.

To qualify:

  • the article must be a research article (not, for example, a book review or editorial)
  • the corresponding author was a current UoB member of staff or student at the time the article was accepted for publication
  • there must still be money in the pot – so far, several of the publisher’s pots have run out of funds before the end of the calendar year. They are replenished each January.

If your article does not qualify for any of the above reasons, you must find alternative funds for the APC or publish your article as a subscription article in a hybrid or subscription journal (the Green OA route).

The University of Bolton has a transformative agreement with the publishers below. When you submit an article to any of these publishers, you will be guided through an author workflow. You will be given the option to select OA. Make sure you select CC BY as the licence – transformative agreements allow you to keep the copyright for your paper.

Links to publisher information

Yes. The University still requires you to deposit your paper in UBIR. Send your Author Accepted Manuscript (post-print) to ubir@bolton.ac.uk a soon as your paper is accepted. The REF rules require you to make your paper OA within three months of ACCEPTANCE for publication. Depositing to UBIR avoids any problems of ineligibility, for example, if publication by the journal is delayed or the article ends up being published in a subscription journal instead of OA, you will still be eligible for the REF if you have deposited in UBIR.   

Yes, but the green route (publish free in a subscription journal and deposit a post-print in UBIR) will become less available as the number of journals flip to being fully OA. If you are being funded by a funding body such as Welcome or UKRI, you cannot publish via the green route if it means your paper will be under embargo in UBIR, you must publish without embargo.

What will happen in the future?

The current transformative deals run until 2024. After that, it is difficult to predict how the model will evolve. In addition, Elsevier, the biggest European publisher has still to negotiate a transformative agreement with JISC.