The value of transformative agreements

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Following on from the exciting launch of Research Information Live yesterday, we continued today with another expert panel of speakers who shared their unique perspectives around the value (or limitations) of transformative agreements.

To lay the foundation for the issues at hand, Jayne Marks from Maverick Publishing Specialists painted a picture of what transformative agreements are and what they cover: from read-and-publish deals to publish-and-read deals, Marks gave an overview of how capped, hybrid and unlimited deals are negotiated. Within this acceleration towards open access, there are some subject areas that are doing so faster, and Jayne gave examples of the sciences and medical fields in particular.

Yvonne Nobis, Head of Physical Sciences Libraries at University of Cambridge, shared the other side of the story concerning transformative deals and expressed a sceptical view of the value they can bring. Nobis highlighted how open access has become mainly a commercial activity vehicle for the larger publishers, citing the Finch report as the foundation for the current open access situation.

Nobis also pointed out that most transformative agreements are with medium-to-large publishers, which can consequently create a strain on smaller publishers and impact author choice of where to publish their research.

Lastly, Helen Dobson, who is Licensing Portfolio Specialist at Jisc, demonstrated from her perspective that the transition to open access is a collective endeavour and involves the full range of stakeholders to engage. Dobson proceeded to illustrate these points with key data that Jisc has collated from across the world, as this is truly a global issue. However, to centre the topic in the UK, Dobson concluded by saying that transitional agreements (as Jisc call them) have helped the UK move rapidly to open access.

Tools to assist in preparing and negotiating transformative agreements, as mentioned by the speakers include:

 To view the full webcast, please see the on-demand replay on the Research Information website here.


Annabel Ola, editor of Research Information