‘Progress towards open access publishing has been slow: it’s time for a kick start’

Jisc launches critical review of open access and transitional agreements.

To kick start the slow shift towards fully open access academic publishing, Jisc has launched a review.

Commissioned and governed by Jisc’s strategic groups with input from Delta Think, an open access data and analytics company, the aim is to gather evidence, agitate discussion in the higher education sector and make recommendations for action.

Exploring the open access landscape in general and the particular role of transitional agreements (TAs), the review findings will be published early in 2024.

Jisc’s head of research licensing, Anna Vernon, explains why the review is necessary:

“The UK has been a leader in the transition to open access, driven by funder policy and institutional demand for a publishing ecosystem that is affordable, fair and transparent.

“However, two decades on from the first talks on open research, overall progress remains slow.

“We know the UK higher education institutions Jisc represents in sector negotiations with publishers are frustrated with the status quo.

"We hope this review will kick-start the process by supplying the evidence to drive sector consensus on what future open access publishing models should look like.”

The review aims to answer the following questions:

  • What proportion of scholarly literature is OA?
  • What impact have Jisc-negotiated TAs had on the open access of UK research publications?
  • What effect have TAs had on costs for UK higher education providers?
  • How far have TAs facilitated author compliance with funder requirements?
  • To what extent have TAs enabled greater transparency around publisher OA processes for the academic sector?

Further information

Find out how Jisc is supporting open access.

In common with the global research community Jisc and UK institutions adopted transitional agreements as a mechanism to convert subscription spend to fund read access and OA publishing in paywalled journals. Since landing the first UK TA in 2016, Jisc has agreed 47 TAs.

The requirements for TAs, established through consultation with UK institutions and endorsed by the UUK content negotiation strategy group, focused on constraining costs, enabling OA publishing in compliance with funder policies and reducing administrative burden for individual researchers and institutions.