The power of partnership: new Transformative Agreement to boost open access publishing in Greece

By: Guest contributor, Tue Dec 20 2022

Author: Guest contributor

The 28th Panhellenic Academic Libraries Conference (PALC) gave Springer Nature and Hellenic Academic Libraries Link (HEAL-Link) the perfect opportunity to explain the new open access Transformative Agreement for Greece. Here, we look at the opportunities and benefits this new agreement will bring.

In October, the 28th PALC was held in Corfu, Greece by the Ionian University Library and Information Centre. The conference, which was focusing on ‘Green and Sustainable Academic Libraries in the post-COVID Era’, gave Springer Nature and partners HEAL-Link the chance to introduce attendees to Transformative Agreements (TAs). And, in particular, the new agreement between Springer Nature and Heal-LINK to support open access (OA) publishing in Greece.

Speaking at the conference, Springer Nature’s Nick Barber, Director of Library Sales for Southern Europe, explained the background of TAs, how they’re growing the use of open access publishing, and what benefits the new Greece TA will bring for institutions within the agreement.

The benefits of TAs for researchers and librarians

OA has an essential role in accelerating the speed of scientific discovery and TAs are an important part of this process. They enable participating institutions to cover OA publishing costs, also known as Article Processing Charges (APCs), for affiliated researchers while also giving researchers access to journal subscription content. This brings a number of benefits for researchers, as Nick Barber explained at PALC:

“If an article is published in a hybrid journal in open access format, the downloads go up substantially,” he explained. 

“And because it is published in a hybrid journal that has a very high reputation, and a very high impact for certain research areas, the downloads are far more than in ordinary fully gold open access journals. Equally, they are cited more, meaning that they have a high importance and a high impact on the particular research area that they are serving.”

He went on to add that another important benefit of TAs is that they cover all researchers, regardless of discipline. This is particularly helpful for humanities subjects, as open access funding has tended to be primarily in the sciences.

But the benefits aren’t just for researchers. A recently published white paper analysing the UK TA with Jisc clearly shows that as well as providing researchers with greater choice in how they publish and the content they access, there are also significant advantages for institutions, including:

  • Helping to control the escalating costs of subscriptions and APCs
  • Centralising the administration of disparate micropayments
  • Creating a more transparent pricing model

The impact of the UK TA and others on OA publishing has been carefully assessed over time and it is clear that they have significantly grown the number of open access publications in the countries covered. For example, in his speech Nick Barber highlighted the 83% growth in open access publishing in the humanities under the Projekt DEAL agreement in Germany.

Providing insightful data for HEAL-Link librarians

TAs and centralising OA publishing can also help librarians with better insight. In his talk at PALC, Nick Barber covered how the HEAL-Link agreement would deliver this for librarians in Greece.

“The data that we will provide you will allow you to cross reference everything within Springer Nature,” he explained. “So, you'll be able to see what are the top institutions publishing in open access? Where are those researchers publishing? Which areas are growing, and which are reducing? [It also allows you to see] what are the top journals you are publishing in? 

In addition, we give you information about where Greek articles published as open access are being most downloaded and most used. That's interesting for universities thinking about cooperations with different countries and researchers.”

More than that, the data also shows how research is being used outside traditional academia – for example, as part of citizen science.

How was the HEAL-Link agreement created?

Every TA is negotiated between Springer Nature and the institution(s) involved. In the case of the Greece TA, Nick Barber and colleagues Elisa Magistrelli and Paola Cava worked closely with members of HEAL-Link to create a mutually beneficial agreement that will support Greek researchers to publish more OA research.

With this agreement, researchers are able to publish OA and access subscription content within those journals at no additional cost to participating institutions. “I'm really happy that Greece has taken the Transformative Agreement approach and HEAL-Link did an excellent job of negotiating with us,” said Nick Barber, speaking at PALC. 

“The strength of Springer Nature is in the amount of coverage and the number of Transformative Agreements that we have today. It does allow [Greece] to move faster into a 100% open access approach.”

The positive effects of the agreement are already being felt, with more than 60 articles already been published OA under the TA since its launch on 29th August.

Find out more about Springer Nature’s Transformative Agreements.

Don't miss the latest news & blogs, subscribe to our Librarian Alerts today!


Author: Guest contributor

Guest Contributors for THE LINK include Springer Nature staff and authors, industry experts, society partners, and many others. If you are interested in being a Guest Contributor, please contact us via email.