Transformative agreements are becoming increasingly popular in the academic publishing world as a means of transitioning from the traditional subscription-based model to open access. One such initiative gaining traction is Plan S, which aims to make all publicly funded research openly available by 2020.
The Plan S initiative was launched in September 2018 by a group of European national research funding organizations and the European Commission. It includes ten principles aimed at ensuring that all research articles funded by public grants must be published in open access journals or platforms.
Transformative agreements are an important part of Plan S as they provide a means for publishers to transition from subscription-based models to open access. These agreements typically involve a three-year contract in which a library or consortium pays a reduced subscription fee while also supporting open access publishing.
Under Plan S, transformative agreements are required to include clear policies to ensure that publications are available immediately upon publication, easily discoverable, and can be reused without restriction. These agreements also require that authors retain copyright ownership and allow for text and data mining, which is important for future research.
Transformative agreements also benefit authors by providing a means for them to publish open access without paying article processing charges. These charges can often be a barrier for authors, especially those from low- and middle-income countries.
There are various models for transformative agreements, but one common approach is the “read and publish” model, in which libraries or consortia pay a fixed fee for access to a publisher’s content while also supporting the publisher’s open access program.
While transformative agreements are a step towards open access, there are concerns that they may perpetuate existing power imbalances in the publishing industry. The largest publishers may have an advantage in negotiating these agreements, while smaller open access publishers may be left out.
To address this concern, Plan S requires that transformative agreements be transparent and non-discriminatory, with all parties having equal access to information and terms. Additionally, Plan S encourages the development of new open access publishing models and initiatives.
In conclusion, transformative agreements are an important component of the Plan S initiative and are necessary for a successful transition to open access publishing. These agreements provide a means for publishers, libraries and authors to work together and make publicly funded research more accessible to all. However, it is important that these agreements are transparent and fair to ensure that they benefit the entire academic community.