Jisc steps up open access initatives

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Five UK-based society publishers have signed pilot transitional open access (OA) agreements with the not-for-profit organisation Jisc. The agreements are the first to result from work undertaken by Jisc Collections, negotiating with smaller publishers to offer a sustainable transition to OA. 

The Microbiology Society, Portland Press, IWA Publishing,  the Company of Biologists and the European Respiratory Society all now offer transitional journal agreements through the national Jisc consortium. These ‘read  and publish’ two-year pilots allow 100 per cent of UK scholarly output to be published OA in the societies’ hybrid journals, with some including fully OA titles in the fixed-price deals.

Kathryn Spiller, licensing manager at Jisc, who has worked with the societies to negotiate the agreements, said: 'We are delighted to offer smaller publishers a chance to negotiate with a national consortium. OA publishing is becoming within reach, especially now Wellcome has confirmed that these agreements are in compliance with their policy and that their funds can be used to support these agreements. Together we’ll continue to explore new ways in which small learned societies can transition to OA in a sustainable way.'

The Charity Open Access Fund (COAF), a partnership between six health research charities, including the Wellcome Trust, invested £1.3m in OA publishing fees (APCs) with UK-based self-publishing learned societies between 2016 and 2018. These five publishers account for just under a third of this investment.

Through these agreements, the sector transitions away from hundreds of individual APC payments to a fixed annual payment between the institution and the publisher, significantly reducing the administrative burden on researchers, institutions, funders and publishers.

Robert Kiley, head of open research at Wellcome, added: 'I am delighted that Jisc Collections has successfully negotiated transformative agreements with a number of learned society publishers at no extra cost to institutions. Institutions in receipt of COAF OA funding are able to use these funds to offset the publishing costs for COAF-attributed research published under these agreements.'

Meanwhile, researchers at up to 58 UK universities will soon benefit from a new open access (OA) ‘read and publish’ agreement between Jisc and IOP Publishing (IOPP), a pioneer in open access physics publishing.

The four-year agreement begins on 1 January 2020. It enables unlimited open access publishing for affiliated corresponding authors in 44 of IOPP’s subscription journals, without barriers or charges to authors.

Members will also have reading access to 75 of IOPP’s journals, covering physics, materials science, biosciences, astronomy and astrophysics, environmental sciences, mathematics and education.

Anna Vernon, Jisc Collection’s head of licensing, said: 'For the Jisc consortium, the agreement constitutes an important next step towards rapidly increasing immediate access to scientific research under transparent conditions and pricing. This contract offers highly optimised workflows for different institutions, giving access to even more open access journals and removing administrative burdens for libraries and academics.'

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