Transformative agreements

Transformative agreements target hybrid journals, that is, those journals that, in addition to requiring a subscription, allow authors to make their work available free of charge for a fee. With increasing demands for publicity from research funding bodies and society at large, the hybrid model has become unaffordable for institutions: it is referred to as double dipping, in that a publisher can charge both the reader, in the form of a subscription, and the author, through Article Processing Charges (APCs), for access to the texts.

Nais et Dercette changees en poisson, Bibliotheque Municipale de Lyone

Transformative agreements are negotiated between publishers and institutions (libraries and consortia) with the goal of moving from a model based on payment for subscriptions to one in which publishers are paid for open access publishing services. In an ideal situation, subscription costs should turn into costs to publish, without charges to read. In fact, this never succeeds, and costs rise anyway.
TA are temporary and transitional contracts, the ideal duration would be two/three years; they provide for an expiration at the end of which the agreement must be renegotiated, and at present they do not force publishers to switch from hybrid to gold open access: the agreements will have to be revised from time to time according to the scenario that will emerge.

Recent analyses11 have shown the total ineffectiveness of this business model, the costs of which are borne exclusively by institutions and which have not achieved the desired results over the years.

Most transformative agreements are available on the Efficiency and Standards for Article Charges (ESAC) website, which reports Open Access article numbers by year, country and publisher; economic data are missing for confidentiality reasons.

  1. Accordi trasformativi: perché collaborare alla loro promozione?, in AISA
    Paola Galimberti, Accordi trasformativi, AISA
    Robert Kiley, Transformative Journals: analysis from the 2022 reports, Coalition-s blog
    Maria Chiara Pievatolo, Accordi trasformativi: un’offerta che non si può rifiutare?, AISA, Pubblicato il , aggiornato il ↩︎