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Toward a new kind of Big Deal for open source academic articles

Inside Higher Ed – University librarians and some academic publishers are optimistic about the possibility of reaching new agreements to make more academic articles fully open, but they acknowledge many challenges ahead.

“Making the transition from paying to read to paying to publish academic research won’t be easy for universities or publishers. But it is possible, attendees at an open-access-publishing event were told Thursday. The University of California, which canceled its “big deal” with publisher Elsevier earlier this year after negotiations to establish a new agreement broke down, hosted a public forum discussing how libraries, publishers and funders can support a system where all research articles are made free to read at the time of publication — a standard known as gold open access. So-called transformative agreements, which increase gold open access and shift payments away from the traditional subscription model, will be essential to accelerating the progress of the open-access movement, said Jeff Mackie Mason, university librarian at UC Berkeley.

“The open-access movement has been around for 25 years, and still just 15 percent of articles are fully open at the time of publication,” Mackie Mason said at the event. But transformative agreements offer an opportunity to “tip the scales towards full open access in our lifetime,” he said. An increasing number of university librarians have expressed interest in pursuing transformative agreements, but what can and can’t be sustainably achieved is still being explored, said Kellie O’Rourke, head of library sales for the Americas at Cambridge University Press…”

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