Poster Open Access

Transformation or consolidation - Evaluating transformative agreements at Uppsala University with an eye to the future

Dahrén, Börje; Lindström, Louise; Bergel, Erik; Byström, Karin; Wiberg, Ninna; Åkesson Kågedal, Erik

In the last few years, we have seen how publishing agreements have become increasingly common across Europe. At Uppsala University, the traditional subscription agreements now represent a minority of our agreements with the publishers and we suspect they will be phased out. Currently, our most common type of publishing agreements are the transformative agreements negotiated on the national level by the Bibsam consortia and offered to all Swedish higher education institutions. These transformative agreements currently cover most major international publishers and could be considered the new normal.

Uppsala University is one of the largest and oldest universities in northern Europe. We are a truly multidisciplinary university, covering the humanities, social sciences, medicine, science and technology. This means that the university library should ideally be able to provide the same level of publishing support for theologists as well as geologists. With that in mind, the library was tasked to evaluate our portfolio of publishing agreements, with a special focus on the impact of the transformative ones. We wanted specifically to look at these new agreements in regards to 1) the impact for the individual researchers 2) economic aspects on various levels, and 3) the paradigm shift towards open science that is taking place in scholarly communication.

–We have identified a few key effects and aspects of the transformative agreements:

• They remove thresholds and provide a smooth transition to OA publishing

• They are arguably very expensive. Are these just the latest iteration of the “Big Deals”?

• The coverage is not equal for all parts of the university. Great coverage for STEM, not so much for the arts and humanities.

• Other publishing actors are unfairly and disproportionally disadvantaged. Non-commercial OA publishers, diamond OA and small scale society publishing lose much of their advantage on the already dysfunctional publishing market.

–What to do next?

• A local strategy for publishing agreements is needed to complement what is provided by national consortia.

• Libraries should divert more energy towards support for DIY publishing and other researcher-led initiatives.

• The time for OA advocacy is in the past. It is time for global and holistic open science perspectives.

In conclusion, our view is that transformative agreements are highly useful for us at this point in time, but need to be managed and complemented. It is essential that we keep monitoring the costs, provide alternatives and develop our services portfolio. Above all, we need to recognise that these agreements are a stepping stone on the path towards open science. They are, however, not the final solution.

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