Our role in open access

We are committed to removing the barriers to accessing research outputs. Working for and with the higher education sector, we are enabling the UK's academic research community to realise the rewards of open access.

A woman studies in a cafe.

Our open research services are easing the move to open access by providing user-friendly and cost-effective ways to automate workflows, assessing compliance, sharing good practice, carrying out benchmarking, and influencing third parties such as publishers and funders.

Find out more about the role Jisc plays in open access policy creation, expression and engagement, sector negotiations with publishers, and the different routes to open access.

Policy and engagement

Our work is developed in line with UK government, funding councils and research funders' policies. We are working to ensure that the open access policy environment offers the maximum benefit with minimum burden for UK research and the wider economy and society, but we do not have a policy position on how this is achieved.

We are in regular contact with officers within UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and Wellcome, as well as maintaining close relationships on this topic with Universities UK (UUK).

In all this work, we benefit from reflection and advice from our open access sector group, with representatives from:

  • Society of College, National and University Libraries (SCONUL)
  • Research Libraries UK (RLUK)
  • Association of Research Managers and Administrators (ARMA) 
  • United Kingdom Council of Research Repositories (UKCoRR)

European and international policy

We participate in a small number of highly influential networks to benefit UK universities in this area:

Policy expression

While we inform policies themselves we can also see that, in some cases, total alignment of policies will not be possible. Having those differences expressed clearly is important for those trying to implement them. We have worked with Sherpa and the Registry of Open Access Mandates and Policies (ROARMAP) among others to develop a schema for funders’ and institutions’ open access policies, which we are now promoting. We are also taking part in the PALOMERA project to ensure that European Open Access policies for long-form publications are aligned.

Publishers have policies too, for example, associated with the journals, books or chapters that they publish. These are documented in our Sherpa service, but we are also working directly with publishers, alongside funders, libraries and others, to see whether the expression of those policies can be made clearer.

Negotiating a transition to open access

Jisc is supporting higher education with the transition to open access through the negotiation of a range of transitional (transformative) and open access agreements which enable UK research output to be published open access in accordance with UK funder policies. Our strategic groups set the direction of negotiations and ensure that our members' requirements are embedded into our service. We are undertaking a critical review of open access and transitional agreements to. Reporting in early 2024 to examine the rate, costs and progress in transitioning research outputs to immediate open access and determine where next for transitional agreements. Find out about our transitional agreement critical review.

Approach to negotiations

Our negotiations are sector-led and governed by the UUK Jisc Content negotiation strategy group, Transitional agreement oversight group and our Jisc content expert group. We work with our members and strategy groups to review their priorities and develop their requirements for open access agreements. The requirements are endorsed by the UUK/Jisc content negotiation strategy group. Our approach is also informed by the LIBER principles for publisher negotiations, the principles of Plan S, and the objectives of the OA2020 global initiative to accelerate the transition to open access.

Our objective is to put in place agreements that reduce and constrain costs, accelerate open access publishing, support innovation and increase transparency. Our agreements enable our members to comply with and implement research funder policies. UKRI and Wellcome have confirmed that the open access block grants they award to institutions can be used to contribute to the costs of the agreements we negotiate to meet the sector's requirements.

Our negotiations encourage publisher participation in Publications Router for the delivery of publication metadata and full-text articles to repositories, and JUSP to support institutions in their evaluation of agreements.

We seek agreements with all reputable publishers and societies that have received payments for open access publishing services from major UK funders. In this work, we guide smaller publishers (including societies and fully Open Access publishers) in developing offers that support the transition to open access. Read our guidance materials for publishers.

Funder-compliant agreements

Publisher negotiations

Jisc is seeking to engage with all publishers to provide funder compliant publishing options for our members’ researchers. 

Download an "at a glance" summary of these discussions (.xlsx). (The information in this spreadsheet is updated daily. Please consult the ReadMe tab for guidance on the data. If you believe that any information in this document is incorrect or you have any other comments or questions, please contact help.digitalresources@jisc.ac.uk)

UKRI

Jisc is playing a key role in implementing the new UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) open access policy. This involves identifying UKRI funded articles and the venues in which they are published, evaluating which publication routes these publishers provide and their compliance with UKRI policy and then working to secure agreements and arrangements that are both UKRI compliant and meet sector requirements. We are also providing tools for authors and institutions to help them navigate the available open access options and ensure that associated workflows are as efficient and simple as possible.

Find out more about complying with the UKRI open access policy for publishers.

Routes to open access

Transitional

Our transitional agreements convert subscription expenditure to support immediate open access publishing of research output and continued access to read content that remains behind a paywall.

Our requirements for transitional agreements are informed by analysis of previous offsetting agreements and have been endorsed by our strategic groups, SCONUL, RLUK and UK universities. Publishers must meet these requirements for an agreement to be deemed transitional. Our transitional agreements oversight group has been set up to monitor the progress and impact of these agreements.

There are several different models that meet the cOAlition S requirements for transformative agreements and we've prepared a guide to the various models. For agreements that incorporate ‘read’ and ‘publish’ elements, standard rate VAT will be applied to the publish fee only.

We register all agreements that meet our requirements in the ESAC registry and publish contracts here in line with OA2020 transparency requirements. Summary descriptions of all our agreements and current negotiations can be found in licence subscriptions manager. Read our guide on working with transitional agreements, which aims to help institutions understand, manage, communicate and evaluate these agreements.

The knowledge and discoveries resulting from the investment and collective effort of UK academic institutions, researchers, publishers and research funders must be available for maximum benefit and use.

UK academic institutions and sector agencies, working alongside Jisc, have established the following requirements, which set out the measures required to transition to full and immediate open access and enable the move to fair, affordable and financially sustainable models for publishing services. The requirements are reviewed annually, and were last updated in October 2023.

These objectives are in line with the LIBER principles for publisher negotiations, the principles of Plan S, and the objectives of the OA2020 global initiative to accelerate the transition to open access.

Transitional Agreements must:

1. Reduce and constrain costs

Academic publishing is a shared endeavour between research funders, academic staff, institutions, and publishers. The UK is one of the largest net contributors to academic publishing through peer review, editorial services, and funding, and this must be reflected in the costs publishers charge for each of those services. Prices must be fair, reasonable and not exceed the cost to the publisher of the services provided to authors, institutions, and readers.

Agreements and their costs must imperatively reflect the financial context institutions now operate under and reduce and constrain all costs, including the costs of publishing in fully OA titles. To qualify as transitional, agreements must utilise funds previously spent on subscriptions to fund uncapped OA publishing across all titles guaranteed to authors, and to create systems and workflows to sustain a durable OA infrastructure. The total fee charged for both access to paywalled content and OA publishing must result in a reduction on existing spend, ie existing subscription expenditure. APC payments made "in the wild" by individual researchers in hybrid titles cannot be supported by institutions. Any price increase must be justified by demonstrable significant improvements to the Publish element of the agreement and any fees relating to read or closed access must decrease.

The publisher must not charge the author or their institution any further publishing fees either under or outside the agreement including page charges, colour charges, or charges for supplementary materials.

2. Offer a choice of open access publishing options to authors and institutions

UK institutions' support for agreements is contingent on publishers providing author choice and a range of publishing models.

This includes publishing the Version of Record OA in a journal or on a publishing platform under the transitional agreement and the immediate deposit of the author's accepted manuscript (or the Version of Record) in an institutional or subject repository via a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence as mandated by their funder or institutional policies (Green OA).

Any prior licence applied to the author's accepted manuscript by an author, whether or not it is a requirement of their funder or affiliated institution, takes precedence over the licensing terms authors agree to with the publisher. Institutions, research funders and authors are increasingly using Rights Retention policies and statements as a route to achieving OA.

As an essential requirement to Transitional Agreements, publishers' author facing communication must respect the authors retaining their choice of OA publishing options. Authors must not be presented with language or terms that have the effect of undermining the grant of prior rights and the subsequent open publication via their workflows, author facing information or licences to publish. To uphold the use of rights retention, publishers must amend their workflows and author facing messaging to respect the assertion of prior rights, and/or to signpost alternative OA publishing options to authors. The goal is to prevent publishers attempting to procure a breach of licence or unilaterally amending its licences or workflows.

Proposals that do not fulfil this requirement will not be presented to the sector and may be escalated to the Content Expert Group (CEG).

3. Demonstrate a commitment to a rapid and equitable global transition to open access

Progress in removing subscription paywalls must not risk creating barriers to participation in open research.

The OA transition must be truly inclusive and reflect the plurality of research disciplines, topics, languages, and outputs. The UK has made good progress in transitioning its research to OA and supporting a diverse range of publisher OA agreements, but publishers must do more and evidence their commitment to a rapid and equitable global OA transition.

Publishers must demonstrate how they are pursuing OA agreements at pace which includes the following measures; offering OA models as the default to all global customers, applying differentiated regional pricing (geopricing) to customers so they can participate, and a commitment to move from a "per unit" payment model (ie APCs) to more equitable payment models. A "one size fits all" approach, eg an APC-based "gold" only approach with no regional alteration restricts publishing opportunities to better resourced countries. This includes offering a range of agreement models and the application of differential pricing, based on transparent metrics, such as Purchasing Power Parity (PPP), with provision made for those who cannot afford to pay anything at all.

To continue to benefit from public and institutional funds, publishers must transform their portfolios by "flipping" subscription titles to OA. Hybrid journals are not a long-term sustainable solution to OA. To demonstrate their commitment to a rapid transition to OA, publishers must not launch new hybrid titles. The proportion of OA content must overtake and eventually replace closed access content, without closed access articles increasing in absolute numbers. The ever-growing number of articles behind paywall, including in hybrid titles, undermines the transition to OA. Hybrid titles must be flipped to fully OA within a clear and reasonably short timeline.

Titles offered in an agreement must remain within an agreement for the lifetime of the agreement, even if they "flip" to full OA (OA publishing rights continue at no extra cost in flipped titles). Changes to titles, eg transfer, flip to full OA, must be clearly communicated to Jisc and to participating institutions ahead of time.

Journals must be archived and preserved for future scholarship in at least one of the following archiving solutions: Portico, CLOCKSS or LOCKSS; with accurate and discoverable records relating to where the archived material may be found.

4. Provide transparency - evidence how charges are fair, reasonable and relate to publishing services and the transition to open access

It is in the public interest not only that publicly funded research has the widest possible reach but also that information on the costs and conditions of publishing are openly available.

Fees must not exceed the actual costs of providing each of the publishing services, such as the provision of dashboards, infrastructure (including archiving), staff, support, and service development. It is not appropriate for hybrid journals that continue to receive subscription income to recover and exceed the full economic cost of their editorial publishing services via OA charges.

Publishers must demonstrate that they reconcile and systematically offset their global and local OA and subscription revenues. Therefore, charges for paywalled content and collections must reflect the growing volume of content made open access – reconciliation of the volume of content made open access should be undertaken each year and reflected in the price paid by all customers for read access. Reading costs must diminish over time even in instances where the proportion of content behind paywall stagnates. The remaining charges should relate to OA publishing charges only, and as such they must not be based on articles published with closed access (not OA) under existing transitional agreements. This reconciliation process should be built into business processes and systems. Publishers must be transparent on this reconciliation process and how it will result in an affordable and sustainable transition to full OA. The goal is the implementation of fair, transparent, affordable, and sustainable pricing for publishing services and the responsible use of public funds.

We require publishers to enter into open and transparent conversations with the sector and Jisc on the transition of their portfolio, business models and underlying financial accounting, including with the Transitional Agreements Oversight Group (TAOG). Publishers must commit to adhere to at least one of the price transparency frameworks within the cOAlition S Journal Comparison Service and provide a summary overview with agreement proposals. The goal is for Jisc and the sector to assess precisely the efficacy of the transitional agreements they enter into in achieving the sector’s OA objectives and act on the findings, eg by placing any agreements that are not meeting the required standards under special review by the sector's expert groups (Content Expert Group and TAOG) and cancelling renewals that do not meet expectations. Jisc assesses agreements with bibliodiversity in mind, taking into account the challenges a diverse range of publishers may be facing.

On agreement completion, details of the costs, pricing models and the agreement terms (contract) will be made publicly available on the Jisc website. The agreement will also be logged in the ESAC registry.

5. Promote simplicity, efficiency, and reduced bureaucracy

These requirements form part of the Jisc model licence and are derived from our discussions with publishers, intermediaries, and international bodies, including the ESAC recommendations. Publishers will be asked to provide compensation should core service levels not be met.

Agreements must maximise the value returned with the minimum burden on public finances, researchers, and institutions. Publishers must work with Jisc and the sector to streamline the processes and workflows associated with managing OA to deliver greater efficiencies and discovery of OA material.

Author identification

The publisher shall be responsible for the identification of eligible authors and eligible articles from a given individual/institution as part of the submission and publication process.

The publisher shall build ORCID, RoR, Ringgold, or other recognised identifiers, into submission, production, and peer review workflows; expose author ORCIDs in published articles and accepted manuscripts via AI services; use Crossref and other discovery services.

The publisher shall identify eligible authors through a combination of the following parameters:

  • Authors stating their affiliation(s) at article submission, including the use of
  • RoR IDs
  • ORCID
  • IP ranges
  • Email domain(s)

Article Metadata

The publisher undertakes to:

  • Where publishing services are based on eligibility of corresponding authors, the corresponding author designation must be provided in article metadata for discovery and indexing
  • Register article DOIs with Crossref upon acceptance and inform all co-authors.
  • Identify funders (and, when possible, proportion of funding by funder if multiple) of institutional research by populating metadata, including funding body and grant number, and the authors and institutions associated with them; register funding data on bodies such as Crossref Funder Registry, Publication Router, PubMed/EPMC and on the publisher site so institutions can report and show compliance
  • Include clear licensing terms at article level to ensure readers/users understand what they may do with a given document. Thus, allowing repositories and related services to act upon the correct article licensing terms. Article-level information is required for each version of the article and ideally by populating Crossref license information (LicenseRef) as well as in a human-readable form

Funder Compliance

The publisher undertakes to:

  • Implement author workflow processes that prioritise and assign CC-BY as the first and default option licence regardless of funder and make messaging clear to authors for whom the application of such licensing terms is required by their funder. Where an author needs to change their licence to a less restrictive licence, make this process as simple as possible
  • Join Jisc Publications Router service to provide the systematic transfer of metadata and deposit of full-text articles into repositories
  • Deposit articles into PubMed Central (PMC) and Europe PMC, by the time of first online publication (Version of Record), in accordance with funder policies

The publisher undertakes to provide management information including:

  • Full expenditure data within and outside of the agreement ie subscriptions; OA APCs; extraneous publishing fees (eg, colour/over-length); read-and-publish fees.
  • The cumulative share of OA articles published in each journal
  • Details of OA articles published in fully OA and subscriptions journals inclusive/exclusive of the agreement
  • UK articles as a proportion of global output
  • UK corresponding author article level data for all articles, including information on funder and licence type
  • Details of which titles have "flipped to OA" that were previously paid for through subscriptions.

In addition, to support discussions with the Transitional agreements oversight group, we seek the following:

  • The number of titles expected to flip in the current calendar year
  • Predicted expansion within each journal portfolio
  • Predicted publication changes to journal portfolios
  • Predicted proportion of OA articles of the total output for each hybrid title and overall, for each portfolio

6. Promote and embed open research practices, research integrity, standards, and trust in research and scholarship

We require publishers to demonstrate their commitment to common and open research practices, processes and systems, enabling research transparency and reproducibility.

This includes setting out commitments to improving research integrity and raising editorial standards, eg how they are enforcing editorial independence and editorial quality through technical, governance and policy improvements. "Make the research process and its outputs as open as possible by default and only as closed as necessary."

Finding a balance that upholds sustainable research practices within scholarly communication is essential to tackle the shift towards OA. It is recognised that the parameters of this balance will vary depending on discipline, institution and region.

Good practice includes:

  • Reproducibility: Publishers can endorse and promote the FAIR principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable) to encourage standardised data management and sharing. This ensures that research data are easily discoverable, well-documented, and usable by others for validation and building upon previous research. Publishers can also encourage authors to provide research contextualisation, data, methodologies, and analysis scripts openly available to enhance reproducibility
  • Research transparency: Publishers can extend the aspects of the research process that are visible and accessible to others. This includes sharing not only the final research outcomes but all intermediate steps, such as data collection procedures, data processing, and any changes made during the research. Publishers can also adopt open citation policies, where citation data is made openly available for both human and machine access, notably enabling researchers to track the impact of their work more effectively
  • CRediT (Contributor Roles Taxonomy): Providing standardised recognition for individual contributions to scholarly research. Allowing authors to specify contributions acknowledges the diverse contributions of researchers in a collaborative project
  • Open Methods: Sharing detailed and comprehensive information about the research methodology used in research. This includes providing step-by-step instructions, materials used, and data collection procedures. Open methods facilitate the reproducibility of research
  • Open peer review (OPR) and collegiate peer review: We encourage publishers to adopt initiatives to foster greater transparency and accountability in the peer review process

These requirements apply to contracts negotiated from 2022 onwards between institutions, consortia (including Jisc) and publishers for open access journal agreements and are targeted at transitioning hybrid titles to open access. The requirements may be updated in response to developments in higher education (HE), research and changes to funder policies.

For transitional agreements that were not in place by 1 April 2022, publishers were asked to provide a funder compliant Green open access option to apply from 1 April 2022 until the start date of the new agreement. Where a publisher has decided not to offer this option and no suitable transitional agreement has been implemented, authors are encouraged to consider alternative publication venues or to utilise a rights retention statement in their submission to assert their right to self-archive their accepted manuscript to an institutional and/or subject repository with a CC-BY or other permissible licence (eg OGL). Some authors may find that their institution has an institutional rights retention policy in place that provides this assurance without the need to include a rights retention statement in the submitted manuscript; check with your institution if you are unsure.

Jisc will evaluate proposed agreements against these requirements and make the results of the evaluation available to the publisher. The evaluation will also make clear if a proposed agreement is compliant with current and prospective UK research funders’ policies and if so, whether eligible for open access funding. Agreements that meet the requirements and are accepted by the UK sector will be registered in the ESAC transformative agreements registry.

We are undertaking a critical review of open access and transitional agreements. Reporting in early 2024, our review will examine the rate, costs and progress in transitioning research outputs to immediate open access and determine where next for transitional agreements. Find out about our transitional agreement critical review.

Current transitional agreements

Transformative journals (TJs)

Transformative journals are subscription/hybrid journals that commit to transitioning to a fully open access journal. The requirements for transformative journals have been set by UK higher education (HE) and research institutions and endorsed by the UUK Jisc content negotiation strategy group. Please note, cOAlition S are withdrawing financial support for Transformative Journals (TJs) from 31 December 2024. In preparation for this, cOAlition S stopped registration of new TJs on 30 June 2023 and so did Jisc. This means that you are no longer able to apply to become a TJ, and existing TJs will cease to be eligible for UKRI open access funding after 31 December 2024. Journals which had cOAlition S TJ status prior to 30 June 2023 but had not registered as Jisc TJs prior to that date cannot now do so retrospectively.

Requirements for transformative journals

As per above it is no longer possible to register as a Transformative Journal; we include the requirements below for historical purposes only.

The requirements were governed by our strategic groups and aim to complement current international initiatives including the Criteria for Transformative Journals drawn up by cOAlition S.

The requirements applied to subscription and hybrid journals.

Only a journal that met both requirements 1 and 2 below was able to be recognised as a Jisc transformative journal:

  1. Journals must provide one of the following routes to publishing:

1.1 The journal must be included in a Jisc approved Transitional Agreement and make the Version of Record immediately open access via its website in accordance with Route 1 of the UKRI open access policy

1.2. The journal must permit the deposit of the Author’s Accepted Manuscript (or Version of Record) in an institutional or subject repository at the time of final publication in accordance with Route 2 of the UKRI open access policy. The deposited version must be free and unrestricted to view and download and include a CC BY licence, or other licence permitted by UKRI. A publisher-requested delay or "embargo period" between publication of the Version of Record and open access of the deposited version is not permitted.

  1. Journals must demonstrate their commitment to a transformation and transparency by meeting Jisc agreed criteria and be listed in a Jisc approved registry. Jisc is currently using the criteria listed in the Addendum to the Implementation Guidance for Plan S.

Institutions may utilise UKRI funds to support eligible costs for transformative journals up to the end of 2024.

How the requirements were developed

As with the requirements for transitional agreements, the requirements for transformative journals were developed with UK HE and research institutions through Jisc’s content expert group and agreed by the UUK Jisc content negotiation strategy group. These groups are responsible for reviewing the sector’s requirements for open access agreements and update them annually to reflect changes in research, education and policy.

The key principles the requirements seek to support

In setting the requirements, the strategic groups wanted to ensure that:

  • The requirements for transformative journals work alongside and do not erode the efficacy of transitional agreements
  • The requirements should enable choice of open access route for authors and their institutions
  • The requirements should enable publishers of all sizes and types to participate
  • The requirements should seek to minimise additional bureaucracy by alignment with existing definitions where relevant

The difference between a hybrid journal and a transformative journal

A hybrid journal is a subscription journal that provides an author with the option to publish their article immediately open access via payment of an article processing charge (APC), which ensures the Version of Record (VOR) is published as open access on the journal website. A hybrid journal may fulfil Route 1 requirements in the UKRI policy and therefore be compliant but will not eligible to receive UKRI open access funds unless it is part of a Transitional Agreement or meets the requirements to be a Jisc approved transformative journal.

A transformative journal is a hybrid journal that actively, publicly and transparently commits to transforming away from the hybrid model, to a fully open access model.

In order for a hybrid journal to be deemed a Jisc approved transformative journal it must meet the requirements of the UK higher education and research sector.

Only journals that meet the requirements will be eligible to receive payments from an institution’s UKRI open access funds.

To be clear, a hybrid journal can comply with the UKRI policy, but is only eligible for APC payments from UKRI open access funds if it is either part of a transitional agreement or has met the sector’s requirements and is a Jisc approved transformative journal.

The difference between a transitional agreement and a transformative journal

Transitional agreements (TAs) repurpose existing subscription expenditure to fund open access publishing and read access across a collection of journal titles for an organisation or a consortium. A transformative journal (TJ) is an individual subscription/hybrid journal that is actively committed to transitioning to open access. A TJ must demonstrate how it offsets subscription income. TJs enable UKRI open access funds to be used for journals seeking to transition to OA, where the journal is currently unable to offer a TA or where an institution is unable to participate in a TA.

The Plan S definition of transformative journals

The UK sector requirements for TJs differ from the Plan S definition by requiring hybrid journals to be part of a transitional agreement (TA) or to meet the Route 2 (Green open access) criteria in order to be considered a TJ. Jisc are working to support publishers to put in place open access routes that comply with the UKRI open access policy.

The Journal Checker Tool will be updated to make clear which titles are Jisc approved TJs for UKRI funded authors.

Why is there a requirement for immediate deposit if a journal is not part of a transitional agreement?

UK universities, research organisations and their researchers must be able to prioritise and manage their funds effectively. The requirement for immediate deposit enables this by ensuring that there is choice, either to make the author accepted manuscript (AAM) available (Route 2 in the UKRI policy) or to pay the relevant Article Processing Charge (APC) to the publisher (Route 1). The decision on which route to take will be at the discretion of the researcher and their institution.

How to easily tell which journals are covered

We provide a list of Jisc-approved transformative journals (TJs) and supply data to the Journal Checker Tool confirming whether a title is or isn't a Jisc approved TJ.

How requirements for transformative journals work with other models such as community-based open access models and Subscribe to Open

Journals that are part of other Jisc open access agreement models, such as Subscribe to Open, could register as TJs as long as they fulfilled the sector requirements by offering an immediate open access option. They would then have been eligible to receive APC payments from UKRI open access funding and UKRI funded authors affiliated with institutions that have not signed up to the open access agreement would be able to publish open access in them and comply with UKRI’s policy.

Fully open access agreements

With established publishers our agreements seek cost savings and workflow efficiencies. Agreements with new publishers allow institutions to support and promote alternative and innovative publication venues and formats.

Current fully open access agreements

Compliant green

We require publishers to provide a Green open access option that complies with funder policies, including CC-BY licensing. Some of our Green open access agreements provide the option to receive direct deposit of articles to institutional repositories via Publications Router. Green compliant open access is referred to as Route 2 in UKRI’s open access policy.

1. Agreements must reduce costs

Academic publishing is a shared endeavour between publishers, research funders, academic staff, and institutions. The UK punches above its weight both in terms of research quality and the benefits that publishers realise through peer review and editorial services, and this must be reflected in publisher proposals.

A global transition to open access requires funders, publishers, and institutions to work in unison to implement agreements that offer the maximum benefit with the minimum burden, on public finances, to researchers and institutions.

The cost of agreements must reflect the current and future financial circumstances of institutions.

Universities are already taking measures to reduce their costs and further increase efficiency through actions including recruitment freezes and tighter spending controls. University and research libraries ask their suppliers to similarly strive for efficiency to provide affordable options that reflect the financial context universities operate in.

Many, if not all, institutions need to reprioritise investment and are unable to commit to agreements that lock in unless they provide full and immediate access to research and provide budgetary stability.

The agreement must offer:

  • Fair, affordable, and sustainable fees for access and services which enable green compliant open access 
  • Costs should be constrained over the lifetime of the agreement and not require additional commitment such as a requirement to pay to access additional titles

2. Agreements must permit compliance with funder mandates

The agreement must enable institutions and their authors to comply with funder mandates by:

  • Supporting open access via the green route by allowing the "Version of Record" first made publicly available (such as on the publisher's website) or the Author's Accepted Manuscript (AAM) to be openly available immediately in repositories in full alignment with funder policies. This includes the application of the required licence, for example, with no embargo and under a licence that allows reuse by all, in perpetuity, under CC-BY licensing terms
  • Allowing the author or the author's institution to retain their copyright and the rights necessary to make a version of the article immediately available under a compliant open licence
    • This includes not inhibiting the use of the Rights Retention Strategy either by rejecting articles, rerouting articles to other journals or by presenting the author (including co-authors) with terms that prevent them from making their AAM immediately open access in compliance with their funder policies
  • Implementing workflow processes that make clear to the author that the application of CC-BY licensing terms to articles deposited in a repository is a requirement of funding
  • Joining Jisc's Publications Router to provide the systematic transfer of metadata and deposit of full-text articles into repositories

3. Content must be discoverable

Content must be discoverable, and agreements must support improvements in service and workflow for authors and administrators.

An effective transition to open access is reliant on developments in technical infrastructure and the adoption of national and international standards which can deliver efficiencies for publishers, authors and institutions, and enhanced discovery and re-use.

The agreement must:

  • Evidence a commitment to improving the processes and workflows associated with managing open access to deliver greater efficiencies and discovery of open access material
  • Include the service and performance levels stipulated in the Jisc model licence, which reflect several of the ESAC recommendations and provide a compensation mechanism should the agreed levels not be met

The publisher is responsible for providing clear guidance on Green open access terms enabling funder compliance either during the submission process or on journal author instruction webpages.

The publisher will build ORCID, Ringgold or other recognised identifiers into submission, production, and peer review workflows and expose author ORCIDs in published articles and AAMs via AI services, Crossref and other discovery services.

The publisher will:

  • Register the article's DOI with Crossref upon acceptance, and inform all co-authors
  • Identify funders of institutional research by populating funding metadata, including funding body and grant number, in Funding Data (on Crossref) and on the publisher's site so institutions can report to funders and show compliance levels

These requirements apply to contracts negotiated in 2022 between institutions, consortia (including Jisc) and publishers for journal agreements including hybrid titles. The requirements may be updated in response to developments in higher education, research and changes to funder policies.

Subscribe to Open (S2O)

As open access via S2O depends on participation by enough institutions to reach a subscription target, agreements must also include a compliant green option for funded authors.

Current Subscribe to Open agreements

Open access community framework

The Open Access Community Framework (OACF) was launched in 2022 as a new approach to supporting publishers or initiatives operating under the Diamond Open Access (OA) model – open access publishing with no subscription or author facing fee – which is a competitive and sustainable alternative to the Book Processing Charge (BPC) model.

Open Access Community Framework (OACF) 2023

Following on from the success of last year’s pilot scheme, the aim in 2023 was to support new university, library led and community-based monograph publishers. We restricted applications to monographs and books in series to align it with the strategic objectives of sector libraries and the new UKRI Open Access Policy for monographs, which commences in January 2024.

We have selected the following three initiatives for 2023, and institutions can support them for the three year period 2023 to 2025:

All three publishers also participated in the pilot scheme last year and so it is fantastic to see how the OACF is meeting their needs in producing additional content and gaining support from within the sector to further disseminate key humanities research.

We hope that institutions are able to support these three OACF initiatives which will help to consolidate and grow a thriving diverse number of agreements with small university, library led and non-commercial presses as an alternative to the large commercial presses.

Participate in the open access community framework

The deadline for applications to participate OACF 2023 has now passed. New applications for OACF 2024 are not being sought, but we aim to recommence OACF in the future.

Publishers wishing to participate in the Open Access Community Framework (OACF) should  follow instructions in the submission form (.docx).

OACF agreements awarded in 2022

Other community-based agreements

Our agreements based on a collective action/supporter membership model enable institutions to support the running costs of infrastructure and disciplinary tools, investing in new open access platforms and initiatives for the benefit of the whole scholarly community.

Current community-based agreements

Open Access Monograph Agreements

To support the UKRI open access policy requirements for longform publications, Jisc has negotiated a growing number of agreements in which members can participate. We seek equitable, inclusive, fair and affordable agreements with academic book publishers. Negotiation of agreements with smaller academic led presses, independent publishers and aggregators will be prioritised. These agreements will create an alternative to the Book Processing Charge (BPC) model, which is expensive and not scalable.

Current OA Monograph Agreements (see also Open Access Community Framework)

Monitoring open access

We collect data to monitor the effectiveness and administrative implications of open access agreements and use this evidence to inform our negotiation objectives.

Each year we invite UK universities to submit their article processing charge data using the standard UKRI and Wellcome open access reporting template (.xlsx). This data provides hard evidence of the state of the UK's article processing charge market.