Libraries have begun to rethink their big deals, moving beyond traditional ‘read’ models to deals that incorporate support for publishing. Intended as a means of moving us to a future state in which funders and institutions pay for knowledge dissemination rather than access, these transformative agreements are one pathway toward a much more open future. Libraries and consortia worldwide are negotiating read and publish deals with publishers such that transformative agreements are emerging as the new standard. Yet we lack a framework for assessing the combined value of open publishing and comprehensive read access that these deals provide.
Transformative agreements tend to carry forward historical pricing inequities based on print subscription profiles. In addition, their perceived and actual value and price vary greatly, since some institutions are major content producers (‘publish’ institutions), while others are primarily or exclusively content consumers (‘read’ institutions). Building on previous presentations at UKSG and NASIG, as well as our 2021 Charleston presentation on the value of the big deal, we will explore models for assessing the value of transformative agreements from the differing perspectives of ‘read’ and ‘publish’ institutions.
How do macro trends, such as the ever-increasing publishing output and ongoing growth in various types of open access, factor into this analysis? Is the increasing value of the publishing component compensating for any reduction in the value of the read component for both ‘read’ and ‘publish’ institutions? How could this framework be used to inform future adjustment of annual fees at the consortial and institutional level? These are pressing questions that beg exploration as we look toward negotiation and renewal of transformative agreements in the context of ‘read’ & ‘publish’ institutional diversity.