2024-04-18 Jisc review of transitional agreements

Transitional Agreements (TAs)commonly known as ‘Read and Publish deals’, have become the predominant business model for OA publishing  in recent years, and Oxford has over thirty deals to date . TAs were intended, as a temporary model, to accelerate the move to open access publishing of scholarly research, and to give institutions better oversight and control of investments in scholarly publishing. Jisc’s recently published review considers their effectiveness in achieving these aims, and shows a mixed picture of success.

Read the full review here

The Review offers up some positives:

  • It estimates that Higher Education Institutions made cost savings of £16.7m and avoided costs of £42m in 2022 -though it acknowledges that real-terms savings and cost avoidance vary at the institutional level and institutions may not have purchased the same volume of APCs if no deals were in place. 
  • TAs have offered greater read access and OA publishing coverage, as well as better adherence to standards and workflow improvements.  
  • There has been a growth in OA uptake in disciplines with lower levels of research funding, including the arts, humanities and social sciences. 
  • TAs have provided compliant publishing routes: 93% of UKRI-funded articles have a compliant route – of these 63% are compliant through inclusion in a Jisc-negotiated TA.

There are also some areas of concern:

  • TAs at a UK level have yet to make an impact beyond UK HE and those institutions able to subscribe.
  • The costs of TAs are still substantial, and institutions have become increasingly reliant on funder block grants.
  • Levels of global paywalled content remained static.
  • Few subscription journals have transitioned to OA. Based on the journal flipping rates observed between 2018-2022, it would take at least 70 years for the biggest five publishers to flip their TA titles to OA.
  • Few TA publishers fulfil Jisc’s transparency requirements on how OA publishing charges are costed, and their transition roadmaps.
  • While the UK appears to be transitioning to OA through more hybrid articles, there has been a steady decline in the number of UK green-only (self-archived) articles. 

Plan S funders have indicated that they will not support the Read & Publish model for open access publishing from the end of 2024 – so publishers will need to adapt their models again from 2025. The Read & Publish Review Group in the Bodleian Libraries is reviewing the data within the Jisc report and beginning work on collating comparative local data for Oxford’s experience of TAs. This work will help to refine our local decision-making on new publisher deals. It will also inform our views, as part of wider sector discussions, on what publisher negotiations should deliver in the future for the benefit of Oxford’s staff and students. 
For further information on the Jisc review, visit our SharePoint page [SSO required]