And then there were 13: building the foundations for the transition to OA with Transformative Agreements

By: Diana Petrowicz, Wed Apr 7 2021
Diana Petrowicz

Author: Diana Petrowicz

Through its wider commitment to the principles and drive for open science, Springer Nature continues to enable a sustainable transition to Open Access (OA) for all authors regardless of discipline, location or funding. Springer Nature has in place more national Transformative Agreements  than any other publisher, including the world’s largest by volume of articles with Projekt DEAL in Germany. Transformative Agreements enable participating institutions to combine journal subscription access along with OA publication costs (APCs). In addition to managing the cost and administration of OA, Transformative Agreements offer authors an easy way to comply with funders’ OA requirements.

We spoke to Renee Reagon, Head of Institutional Sales UK & Ireland and Peter Abbey, Licensing Manager, Library Sales Northern/Western Europe & Africa + Agent Relations about the extension of our OA agreements with Jisc in the UK and our latest OA agreement wiht IReL in Ireland.

Renee Reagon Headshot © Springer Nature

Can you tell us a bit about the background of the agreement?

Renee Reagon: The Springer Compact transformative agreement started in 2016 and it has proved highly successful in supporting and accelerating the transition to OA. Last year, 74% of Springer Nature content from the UK was published gold OA. The growth has been in large part due to this agreement. 

To date over 20,000 articles have been published OA under this agreement, which under traditional models would have needed to be funded in addition to subscription costs. The agreement provides unlimited access to content while allowing institutions to shift traditional subscription fees towards OA publishing. Members automatically obtain all takeovers every year at no additional charge and without needing to upgrade on costs.

105 UK universities currently subscribe to the agreement with several new institutions joining the agreement this year and several more coming forward to enquire about joining in 2022.

Images for website © Springer Nature

Peter Abbey: Following the announcement of the LIBER Principles in 2018, we had tentative discussions with IReL about a possible Transformative Agreement for its members. However timing was everything and given the fast-moving changes in the market, IReL decided to map out a structured and well-thought-out way forward before finding the most suitable and workable path for their members.  Formal discussions began in January 2020 and IReL confirmed their participation in January 2021.

What does the agreement include?

Renee Reagon: The agreement now includes the prestigious Academic Journals (AJs) on which includes some of the world’s most internationally renowned medical titles. These journals are produced in partnership with scientific communities and medical or scientific societies. Amongst the portfolio are the British Journal of Cancer, one of the most cited general cancer journals, and the Oncogene journal. Academic Journals on are edited by external editorial teams and Reviewing Editors are highly accomplished individuals in their fields.

The workflow being combined across Compact and AJs will provide time and cost savings for members. With new members and additional journals for both publishing and reading access, it is expected that publishing, participation and usage of UK funded research will continue to increase in 2021.

Peter Abbey: IReL signed a Read and Publish agreement which includes all Springer and Adis journals, Palgrave journals and Academic journals on The agreement is expected to see over 350 articles a year from researchers in Ireland published OA.

What is the duration of the agreement and what are next steps?

Renee Reagon: The new agreement started on 1st January 2021 and institutions are already successfully publishing and downloading content. Springer Nature will host a UK Summit on 30 September to update UK institutions on OA developments. Later in the year we will host a workshop for potential new joiners to understand the agreement and benefits of joining this high performing transformative agreement.

Peter Abbey: It is a four year agreement starting 1st April 2021 until 31st December 2024. This has gone live today and we will be working closely with IReL over the course of the agreement to ensure it runs smoothly and their experience is positive.

About Jisc

Jisc is a not-for-profit providing the UK’s national research and education network. It operates the super-fast national research and education network, Janet, with built-in cyber security protection. Jisc also provides technology solutions for its members (colleges, universities and research centres) and customers (public sector bodies), helps members save time and money by negotiating sector-wide deals and provides advice and practical assistance on digital technology. Jisc is funded by the UK higher and further education and research funding bodies and member institutions.

About IReL

IReL is an e-resource licensing consortium for Irish publicly funded higher education institutions and is managed and governed by Maynooth University.

If you would like to find out more about the benefits of Springer Nature's Transformative Agreements, read our interview with Natalia Timiraos, Director, Partner Engagement OA and Chris Pym, Senior Institutional Engagement Manager here and take a look at our Open Research website.

Diana Petrowicz

Author: Diana Petrowicz

Diana Petrowicz is a Marketing Manager in the Sales Enablement team, based in the London office. Supporting the Sales and Account Development teams, she is enthusiastic about finding innovate ways to communicate with the library community and specialises in producing and writing case studies across the portfolio.