New Read & Publish agreement publicly available
On behalf of the Bibsam Consortium, the National Library of Sweden publishes its new transformative Read & Publish agreement with academic publisher Springer Nature.
46 organisations chose to join the new agreement, which runs for three years, starting January 1st 2019. It covers rights to publish in over 1 800 hybrid journals at no extra cost for the author as well as reading rights from 1997 for over 2 100 journals. Together with the other agreement recently signed for publishing in gold open access journals, this new Read & Publish agreement allows researchers affiliated with the Bibsam Consortium to publish open access in almost the entire Springer Nature journal portfolio.
A key requirement for the Bibsam Consortium for this negotiation was to exclude any form of confidentiality provisions, which would limit disclosure of the agreement, in particular its pricing model. This requirement was in line with the LIBER Five Principles for Negotiations with Publishers LIBER Five Principles for Negotiations with Publishers and the Plan S principles.
Both the new and the previous Read & Publish agreements are registered in the ESAC Agreement Registry. The National Library of Sweden encourages all consortia colleagues to add their transformative agreement to the registry as more transparency would eventually permit to introduce more competition within the academic publishing market, and subsequently fairer pricing and legal terms.
Evaluation of previous agreement and renegotiated pricing
The new agreement follows the 2016-2018 Springer Compact agreement. According to a national evaluation group the 2016-2018 agreement significantly increased the number of open access articles published and eased the administrative burden for authors and librarians. However, the affiliated researchers published less than expected. For this reason, the publisher agreed to include a “courtesy credit” in the new 2019-2021 agreement which partially compensate the overpayment. Terms for a “publishing corridor” has also be added: if the participating organisations publish 5 percent less than predicted, the publisher will refund the consortium an agreed amount.
The negotiation of the agreement text took more than one year and was finalized six months after start date of the agreement. This lengthy process was mainly due to difficulties in reaching compromise on the legal terms. This once more demonstrates the importance of asking for a contract template at the very beginning of the negotiation in order to discuss pricing terms and legal terms at the same time, thus allowing room for obtaining better contract clauses.
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