Transformative Agreements: ‘An Essential Stepping Stone’

From Publishing Perspectives:

As Publishing Perspectives readers know, the academic and scholarly world’s march toward open-access models hasn’t moved as quickly as many would like. The late-June release of Europe’s Coalition S initiative for open access called “Plan S” was plainly presented as a disappointment.

Closer to the ground, if you will, however, there are parties gamely announcing progress and achievements, among them the London-based 182-year-old Royal Society of Chemistry (the URL of which, yes, looks like that of the Royal Shakespeare Company).

In its media messaging today (August 11), the society—which has an international membership of more than 50,000—is focusing on what may be to some a surprising number of transformative agreements in North America, 46 all told. They are:

  • 2018: One agreement (the society’s first in the United States, with Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
  • 2019-21: Three agreements (all in the United States)
  • 2022: Seven agreements (all in the United States)
  • 2023: 35 agreements (21 in the United States, one in Mexico, and 13 in Canada)

The Biden administration in August of 2022 announced its controversial requirement that by the end of 2025 all taxpayer-funded research will have to be made freely available to the public as soon as a final peer-reviewed manuscript of a report is published. The chemistry society in England is now mentioning this as one of the factors that has accelerated its agreements, along with the society’s own plans.

“On the back of the US government’s open-access mandate and our own open-access commitments,” the society reports, “the number of deals has grown rapidly within the region every year, with 2023 seeing 28 new deals, including our first agreements with partners in Canada and Mexico.”

. . . .

Sara Bosshart is the Royal Society of Chemistry’s head of open access, and she’s quoted today, saying, “We were very excited last year to announce that we aim to make all of our fully society-owned journals open access within the next five years. Open access is at the core of our mission to help the chemical sciences make the world a better place and by making our 44 society-owned journals free-to-read, we’ll be providing unrestricted global access to all of the cutting-edge research we publish.

“A key priority for our transition,” Bosshart says, “is to ensure that our international author base continues to have the same ability to publish in our journals. For this reason, we’re planning to spend the next two years working with our world partners, institutions, and community to develop new open-access models that function at an institutional level, rather than relying solely on author publication charges.

“Transformative agreements are an essential stepping stone in our [progress] toward 100-percent open access as they form the basis for future open-access agreements and allow us to transition gradually from subscriptions to open access. They also strengthen the relationships we have with our United States institutional partners and create a forum for conversation and collaboration toward a joint open-access future.

“Our end goal is an open-access future that ensures that everyone, everywhere, has the same potential to access and contribute to the latest discoveries in the chemical sciences and beyond—and we’re looking forward to working collectively with our community to achieve this vision.”

Link to the rest at Publishing Perspectives

2 thoughts on “Transformative Agreements: ‘An Essential Stepping Stone’”

  1. I wonder if open access and ‘free to read’ means the continuation of a system where authors don’t make a penny from their papers. And pay for the privilege of being published in those journals, even as they struggle to be accepted for publication.

    It will be interesting to see what some other copy-cat societies will do with so much nice fresh data; not that they aren’t already ‘acquiring’ it.

  2. That bit about “as soon as a final peer-reviewed manuscript of a report is published” is pure cringe. The smart phone that you keep within arm’s-reach is the last major Western technological advance that you will ever see, and a big part of the reason why is peer review.

Comments are closed.