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Scholarly Communication & Publishing: Transformative Agreements

Information concerning Open Access, copyright, predatory publishers, impact factors, altmetrics, author rights, public access policy and data management plans.

Transformative Agreements

What is a Transformative Agreement? 

A transformative agreement is a contract that tries to shift the payment from a library (or group of libraries) to a publisher.  In a nutshell, transformative agreements are a shift away from pay to read (subscription cost) toward pay to publish (article processing charge). In some cases, transformative agreements are a way for publishers to transition their traditional subscription journals to fully open access. 

Principles of transformative agreements usually include items related to copyright ownership and transparency:  

  • Copyright tends to be retained by the author and not transferred to the publisher. Many times, the publisher will require that the author(s) apply a Creative Commons license to the published article. 
  • Transparency is a characteristic of a transformative agreement and such agreements are typically made publicly available. 

Transformative agreements are usually described as "Read and Publish" or "Publish and Read". 

A Read and Publish agreement is where a publisher receives es payment for reading and payment for publishing bundled into the same contract. This bundling brings payment for publishing into a contractual arrangement rather than being addressed by each individual author who is choosing to publish open access. These agreements redirect funds previously spent on a subscription cost to a publishing cost. 

A Publish and Read agreement is an agreement in which the publisher receives payment only for publishing, and reading is included for no additional cost. 

For both agreements, the goal of libraries is to either reduce the cost to access the journals' content, or at least keep the contract cost-neutral to a traditional subscription cost. Open-access is also a key objective for negotiating transformative agreements. 

Other Reading: 

Plan S and Transformative Agreements: Everything You Need to Know

Transformative Agreements

Plan S Revision Made Simple

Time to Plan for Plan S

USD Libraries Transformative Agreements

USD Libraries has transformative agreements with the following publishers/journals. 

The Company of Biologists:



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