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Supporting the transition to Open Access

Jisc Collections and Open Access

Jisc Collections negotiates agreements and supports activities and initiatives that help with the transition to Open Access (OA). Outlined below are the various areas of work we have been involved in since 2014.

Hybrid Open Access

Jisc Collections traditionally negotiates pricing and licensing terms for collections of content from primary journal publishers.  These agreements are predicated on a subscription/licence fee model.  UK Higher Education Institution (HEI) researchers are mandated by Government policy to publish articles on an Open Access model.  This means that many UK Gold OA published articles are present in the same branded journals that have been paid for by libraries in support of institutional teaching, learning and research needs.  The cost of paying for collections of journal content combined with the cost of paying Gold OA Article Processing Charges (APCs) for articles in the same ‘hybrid’ journals has resulted in many research-intensive UK HEIs paying increasing and unsustainable amounts, despite some funding body provision for OA publishing.

In order to address the issue of the total cost to UK institutions of its researchers publishing under the Open Access model and payment of institutional licence fees for access to large collections of content, Jisc Collections negotiates ‘Offset’ Agreements for Hybrid Journal Collections with publishers.

Offsetting aims to reduce the total costs involved to access and publish.  Jisc Collections set out its Principles for Offset agreements in 2014.

Since 2014 Publishers have adopted various models in order to accommodate offsetting requests by the research and library communities: some models have involved discounting the subscription/ licence fee, others have discounted the APC rates; some provide credits relating to published output, and all aim to reduce the total overall cost while encouraging authors to publish Open Access.  A more recent model involves ‘flipping’ the subscription cost to cover the cost of Gold Open Access publishing and enabling access to all content for a small fee.  Jisc Collections has engaged with a number of publishers to test models and understand the complexities and costs involved in managing them. 

Offsetting agreements we have in place are with:

Jisc Collections sponsored a Report on Offset Agreements which provided an evaluation of five models in place during 2015.

During 2017 we continue to support Offsetting where it brings real returns for the UK library community, ensuring we always approach such agreements as critical reviewers.

Supporting APC collection and analysis

Where APC discounts feature in Jisc Collections agreements we need to collect information about APC expenditure in order to support offset negotiations and to make an assessment of savings to report to the community. Jisc Collections ran the Jisc APC Pilot over 2013-2014 in order to (1) explore the key issues and challenges within a Gold OA environment and (2) to provide an online administration platform for pilot institutions and understand the issues involved in managing micro-payments.   The outcomes of this pilot informed some subsequent service developments Jisc provides for the community and Funders, such as the Jisc APC Template and Jisc Monitor.

Supporting Institutions and OA Funder Compliance 

Our suite of Model Licences accommodating best practice requirements for Journals, datasets and ebooks is being updated to address UK Funder Compliance requirements relating to Gold Open Access in OA Membership and Offsetting agreements, and Green Open Access in subscription based collections. A new Open Access Schedule is being developed to include in the next version of the Model Licence which should be available in 2017.

In our 2016 negotiations with Elsevier to renew the ScienceDirect agreement from January 2017, Elsevier agreed to work with Jisc to develop an OA infrastructure in support of Funder requirements for Green Open Access.  

Jisc Collections staff also has representation on a number of working groups supporting universities, libraries and funders focussing on the practicalities of managing Open Access in the UK:

OA Publisher Compliance:  Jisc - UKSG OA Best Practice Group

Jisc Collections also supports a broader initiative with UKSG that encourages publishers to adopt OA best practices. This developed out of Jisc’s OA compliance work for its UK community.  In order to get wider input to the best practices help to disseminate them, Jisc approached UKSG. A working group comprising representatives from UKSG, Jisc, RLUK, CrossRef, ALPSP, STM, PA, OUP, F1000 and T&F met in 2016 to discuss what publishers could do to help authors and institutions worldwide meet funder requirements, implement Open Access (OA), reduce the administrative burden, and take some of the friction out of the current arrangements. They reviewed the Jisc draft document written and compiled following discussions with those implementing OA in UK universities, and with considerable assistance from the Research Libraries UK (RLUK), RLUK members, the Association for Research Managers and Administrators (ARMA) and research libraries.

In addition, the recommendations reflected the comments received from consortia worldwide engaged with OA as well as from international stakeholders including the Federation of the Finnish Learned Societies, the National Library of Sweden and the German University of Regensburg.  The eleven recommendations also reflected a consultation with members of the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP) and the Publishers Association (PA) on 8 June 2015. The working group further revised the best practices and the development of this document is under discussion.   This document shows the latest version of the recommendations. It incorporates examples of what UK HEIs are doing to deliver OA compliance to funders.

Gold OA Journals and supporting agreements

Jisc Collections has negotiated a number of ‘pure Gold’ OA journal membership agreements.  These typically reduce the amount an author or institution pays for an APC.  Agreements in place are with:

OA Monographs

Work we have done in this area includes:

  • Investigating OA Monograph Services.  This project aimed to explore potential future services to support open-access (OA) monograph publishing. It was conducted by Jisc Collections and the OAPEN Foundation, with representation from UK universities, independent publishers, and others stakeholders.  It explored potential centralized services to support and encourage the publication of OA peer-reviewed monographs. The project was conducted on co-design principles, with universities that have an interest in OA monographs – as university-based publishers, consumers, or supporters.
  • OAPEN-UK.  OAPEN-UK was a collaborative research project gathering evidence to help stakeholders make informed decisions on the future of open access scholarly monograph publishing in the humanities and social sciences (HSS).  The OAPEN-UK final report was released in January 2016.

Our current focus is to:

  • Develop and implement a Jisc Collections OA Monograph offering.

Supporting Innovative global OA initiatives

  • Jisc Collections negotiated the discounted terms for UK HEIs for Jisc’s ORCID membership agreement which provides a researcher identifier solution.
  • SCOAP3 High Energy Physics global Open Access initiative co-ordinated by CERN. Jisc Collections is a partner representing participating UK HEIs on the Governing Board, manages communication of UK contributions and the UK HEI payment process.
  • Jisc Collections supports DOAJ and has representation on its Advisory Board.
  • – Archive of open eprints in Physics, Mathematics, Computer Science, Quantitative Biology, Quantitative Finance and Statistics.  Jisc Collections manages the UK payment process.
  • Manages Knowledge Unlatched payments from UK pledgers, supporting a crowdfunding approach to accessing affordable books in the humanities.
  • Jisc Collections negotiated reduced institutional membership rates for Kudos, a toolkit that helps increase the reach and impact of the university’s research, supporting a foundation stone of Open Access.
  • Jisc Collections negotiated favourable pricing for Reveal Digital's 'Independent Voices', using a crowd-funding, cost-recovery open access model, and collects the contributions.

A listing of Open Access Projects that Jisc Collections has funded and managed and which are now completed is outlined here


Last updated: March 2017