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Finding journals in UCL’s transformative agreements

Catherine Sharp25 June 2020

“Planet Transformers” by pavlinajane is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Over the last few weeks we’ve been writing about UCL’s transformative agreements and introducing more researchers to them. These agreements give UCL corresponding authors a way to publish open access in subscription journals. They meet the requirements of the new Wellcome open access policy, which applies to research articles submitted from 1 January 2021, and we anticipate that they’ll also satisfy the new UK Research Councils/UKRI open access policy that’s due to be announced next year.

We’ve put together a list of journals in our transformative agreements (more than 5,000!) by subject. They include Modern Law Review, British Educational Research Journal, Annals of Neurology, Geo: Geography and Environment, and Human Brain Mapping (published by Wiley); Gender & Society (Sage); Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, Climatic Change, and European Journal of Nutrition (Springer); Physics in Medicine and Biology (Institute of Physics); Journal of Materials Chemistry A, B and C (Royal Society of Chemistry); Art & Perception, and Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions (Brill).

If you aren’t very familiar with these agreements, read on to find out more about why they’ve developed and how they work. We’ve also explained a bit of confusing open access terminology – ‘hybrid’ journals – into the bargain.

If you know about transformative agreements already, feel free to go straight to the list: it’s below, and on our transformative agreements webpage. For more information about what’s in the list, scroll down to the “New tool – journals by subject” section below. Make sure that you check the relevant publisher terms and conditions on the transformative agreements webpage before submitting to one of these journals.

Journals in UCL’s open access transformative agreements by subject

Why transformative agreements?

Funders increasingly want to ensure immediate open access to journal articles. Delayed open access after the publisher’s embargo period (usually between 6 and 24 months) isn’t enough; and paying for open access in subscription journals, without the journal committing to becoming fully open access, isn’t going to be acceptable either.

We anticipate researchers that researchers will have to publish in:

  1. fully open access journals (listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals) – e.g. the PLOS and BioMed Central journals, Nature Communications and Scientific Reports (Gold open access);
  2. subscription journals that allow the accepted manuscript to be made open access in a repository (Green open access), with the CC BY licence, on publication (e.g. Royal Society and Emerald journals); or
  3. subscription journals that are part of transformative agreements (or that have “transformative status”) – also Gold open access – for as long as this third option is permitted.

To offer a publishing option that meets these requirements, a journal can become fully open access (option 1), remove its embargo on Green open access and allow CC BY (option 2), or offer a transformative agreement (option 3).

Subscription and hybrid journals

Most journals require a subscription – either institutional or personal – for access. Journals that are accessible through UCL’s subscriptions appear in the E-journals link on our E-resources webpages. Some subscription journals (e.g. the Nature journals, and Science) have a Green open access option, but don’t offer Gold (paid) open access. If you upload the accepted manuscript of a Nature journal to UCL’s Research Publications Service, we’ll make it open access in UCL’s open access repository, UCL Discovery, at the end of the embargo period: six months, for those journals. You can use Sherpa Romeo to check journals’ embargo periods.

Many subscription journals offer an open access option to make specific papers openly available. They’re known as hybrid journals. These journals are in a position to offer transformative agreements that meet the requirements of option 3 above, provided they are serious about transitioning to becoming fully open access. Most journals are hybrid journals.

We’ve already mentioned some high-profile journals that are in our transformative agreements. Most are hybrid journals: Modern Law Review, British Educational Research Journal and Annals of Neurology (published by Wiley); Gender & Society (Sage); Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, Climatic Change and European Journal of Nutrition (Springer); Physics in Medicine and Biology (Institute of Physics); Journal of Materials Chemistry A, B and C (Royal Society of Chemistry); Art & Perception, and Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions (Brill). There are also some fully open access journals in our Wiley agreement: examples are Geo: Geography and Environment, and Human Brain Mapping.

Negotiating transformative agreements

These new agreements replace UCL’s subscription agreements with publishers. An additional sum is paid for the (open access) publishing element, funded by UCL’s UKRI, Wellcome and institutional open access budgets. Over the course of the agreement (sometimes several years), an increasing proportion of the cost is directed towards publishing instead of access (subscriptions).

Jisc Collections negotiates transformative agreements on behalf of all UK institutions. These agreements are transitional: Plan S (to which UKRI and the Wellcome are signatories) and the new Wellcome policy allow costs of transformative agreements to be funded until the end of 2024. Like other universities, we’re monitoring the overall costs of these agreements, takeup, and researchers’ views of them, very closely.

We currently have agreements with Brill, Electrochemical Society, European Respiratory Journal, IMechE, Institute of Physics, IWA Publishing, Microbiology Society, Portland Press (Biochemical Society), Rockefeller University Press, Royal Society of Chemistry, Royal Society of Medicine, Sage, Springer, Thieme and Wiley. Jisc is actively negotiating with other publishers, including Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press and many others. Agreements are for calendar years. What’s really critical is that agreements should cover 100% of outputs by UCL corresponding authors, and be affordable.

New tool – journals by subject

We’ve had lots of positive reaction to these transformative agreements, as well as questions about journals that aren’t currently covered (see the section above). One of the things we’ve been asked to do is to provide information about which subjects each journal covers.

We’ve used Scopus and Web of Science to put together a list of journals in the current agreements with different subject granularity. The list below shows broad Scopus categories, narrower Web of Science and Scopus ones, and lastly very specific Scopus categories. In the same file, we’ve included a separate list of the detailed Scopus categories, which might help with interpreting the main list.

Journals in UCL’s open access transformative agreements by subject

We know that only researchers can decide where best to submit their work; but we hope that by providing this information we can help more researchers to publish open access. Make sure that you check the relevant publisher terms and conditions on our transformative agreements page before submitting to these journals.

More information

If you’d like to receive updates on open access and transformative agreements, please use the Subscribe by Email option to sign up for an alert when we publish a new post. You’ll find it to the right of this post, or at the bottom if you’re reading this on a mobile device. Alternatively, or as well, follow us on Twitter!

If you’d like to arrange a department briefing on anything covered in this post, or on open access more generally, contact catherine.sharp@ucl.ac.uk

Open Access Week highlights

Catherine Sharp25 October 2019

It’s nearly time to say farewell to Open Access Week 2019. The Open Access Team would like to thank all the academic and library staff who’ve come to our training sessions and retweeted us. In case you haven’t been following us this week, we’ve been celebrating UCL academics’ open access achievements, and encouraging everyone to learn about Plan S in preparation for new UKRI and REF open access policies in 2020. We’ll be updating our webpages, tweeting and offering training sessions once the new policies are announced, but get in touch with us if you’d like to know more now.

If you haven’t already downloaded the OA Button and Unpaywall browser extensions or added your ORCID ID to RPS, we’d like to suggest that you try this today. It’ll only take a few minutes, and will help you find open access outputs, and make your own work open access.

Here’s a quick reminder of this week’s highlights, with many thanks to our communications and publicity colleagues for all their help!

UCL response to Plan S consultation

Catherine Sharp21 January 2019

UCL has submitted an institutional response to the Plan S consultation. This response was shaped by the UCL Plan S Town Hall meeting that was held on 8 January (and also takes into account subsequent feedback received from UCL academics). The response, and the supporting document (notes from the Town Hall meeting) are available below.

UCL response
UCL Plan S Town Hall meeting notes

UCL Plan S Town Hall meeting

Catherine Sharp10 January 2019

Plan S requires that, from 2020, scientific publications that result from research funded by public grants must be published in compliant Open Access journals or platforms.

Plan S is an initiative for open access publishing that was launched in September 2018. The plan is supported by cOAlition S, an international consortium of research funders. This group currently comprises 13 national research funding organisations (including UK Research and Innovation/UK Research Councils) and three charitable foundations (including the Wellcome Trust and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) from 13 countries. Together with the European Commission and the ERC, they have agreed to implement the 10 principles of Plan S in a coordinated way.

UCL held a Town Hall meeting on 8 January to discuss the principles of Plan S, as well as what its implementation will mean for researchers. Around 115 staff from across UCL attended. The Open Access Team would like to thank everyone who shared their views and questions.

Presentations from the meeting are now available:

cOAlition S is running a consultation on the Plan until 8 February 2019. You can contribute to the consultation directly. To arrange a meeting in your department to discuss the implications of Plan S, contact the Open Access Team at open-access@ucl.ac.uk.

Update: UCL’s response to the Plan S consultation is available in a separate post.

UCL’s APC spend: an analysis

Catherine Sharp22 November 2017

All institutions with block grant funding for open access from the UK Research Councils (RCUK) and the COAF medical charities submit annual reports on their APC spend to those funders. However, since reporting periods vary, and it can be difficult to compare spend across funders, at UCL we find it useful to collate our spend from our RCUK and COAF funds, as well as from our small institutional open access fund, and to draw out comparative data, including our average APC payment by fund, and most (and least) expensive publishers. What follows is an analysis of our APC spend from our three open access budgets for August 2016-July 2017.

During this period, a total of £3.3 million was paid from UCL’s RCUK, COAF and institutional open access funds, for 1,946 APCs. 54% came from RCUK funds, 26% from COAF funds and 20% (including 100 unfunded SpringerCompact papers) from UCL funds. The average (mean) APC, across all budgets, was £1,704 (including VAT). The average APC paid from UCL’s institutional fund was much lower, at £1,363, because the UCL fund is reserved almost exclusively for APCs in fully open access journals. The average APC paid from UCL’s RCUK funds was £1,730; the average from UCL’s COAF funds was £2,167.

Although 99 publishers received APC payments from UCL, more than 70% of the APCs paid were to 10 large publishers. The average APC paid to these “top ten” publishers varies from £594 for Taylor and Francis papers to £2,184 for Elsevier APCs. 63% of payments were made under a prepayment arrangement, the rest by invoice.

The chart below (click to expand) shows all publishers who received more than 10 APC payments from UCL’s funds in 2016-17.

APC graph

This comparison reflects the disparity between APC costs in hybrid and fully open access journals, the relatively high cost of APCs paid to some smaller publishers (Wolters Kluwer, costing £2,903 per APC on average, and Society for Neuroscience at £2,763), and also the large total sums paid to hybrid publishers in addition to subscription charges. When we repeat this analysis next year, and in future, we hope that we’ll see improvements resulting from genuine subscription/APC offsetting deals, of the sort that Springer and Institute of Physics Publishing have pioneered.