As part of the Association’s efforts to foster a more transparent and cost-effective scholarly publishing system, EUA would like to commission a study to explore possible scenarios for new ‘Open Access’ publishing agreement models. The study will be coordinated by EUA representing a consortium of 26 organisations across Europe. The consortium comprises national rectors’ conferences, providers of scholarly electronic resources, libraries, higher education and research consortia, and the EUA.
The study intends to analyse the impact of the ‘read-and-publish’ (R&P) agreements on the scholarly publication system, while proposing new, viable ways to comply with the increasing number of policies requiring ‘Open Access’ to research results from publicly-funded research. In addition, the study intends to support national negotiating consortia (or equivalent) in developing better value for money agreements with publishers in a sustainable way. The study also intends to inform further the dialogue between universities, research centres, publishers and stakeholders within the EU as well as worldwide.
EUA is concerned that there is lack of competition in the market for scientific publishing in Europe, given an increasing concentration in the sector of a few large scholarly publishers, the lack of market transparency and the asymmetry in negotiating power between publishers and research institutions. This is coupled with the overall slow adoption of open access publishing by the scientific community.
In the transition towards full Open Access supported by Plan S, the European Commission and the European Council, the R&P agreements - sometimes also referred to as transformative agreements - are emerging as an evolution of, and alternative to, subscription agreements. These agreements are seen as a main route to compliance with the call for more Open Access to research outputs and increased transparency. EUA’s most recent data in the Big Deals Survey confirms that a main concern for universities and negotiating consortia is cost control, and they hold hopes for more R&P provisions in ongoing and/or future agreements.
There is however no systematic review of the features of a publishing system based on such agreements. Nor is there clear evidence that R&P agreements are a financially sustainable evolution of subscription agreements in a diverse Open Access publication landscape which may see a wide range of co-existing and competing publication services.
The proposed study is therefore expected to shed light on the impacts and sustainability of R&P agreements. It is expected to describe their different possible features and to develop feasible, sustainable scenarios for open access publishing.
How to respond
We welcome proposals from consultancy companies, university research centres, research institutes, as well as from consortia of university researchers. If you are interested in submitting a proposal: