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Homepage / Transformative agreements with publishers – what are they and how do they benefit you?

Transformative agreements with publishers – what are they and how do they benefit you?


Traditional subscription models between the Library and a publisher involve two sets of charges – for access to the online content of their journals, and also for publishing articles written by the institution’s academics via open access (commonly known as Article Processing Charges or APCs). Many publishers are now starting to offer an alternative pricing model, known as a transformative agreement, which is aimed at encouraging wider uptake of open access publishing and covering the costs in a different way.

The most common form of transformative deal is the Read and Publish (R&P) agreement.  This allows corresponding authors of participating institutions to make articles open access (OA) immediately on publication without paying an article processing (APC) charge themselves, as the Library will have paid costs upfront on behalf of the institution.

How do the Read and Publish agreements work?

Each publisher has their own model for the R&P agreement.  In general, the publisher will recognise the institution of the corresponding author as a participating institution and offer them the option of publishing OA. 

  • There may be a time limit for the author to accept the OA option
  • The OA library staff may be asked to approve or validate the OA request
  • Some publishers have a dashboard for authors and library OA staff to track OA articles

Author choices

  • The publisher may offer an option to opt out of making the article OA.  The article can still be made OA through the green route using the accepted manuscript to comply with funder mandates. 
  • A Creative Commons Attribution license (CC BY) should be chosen when making articles OA.  Publishers may also offer CC BY NC (non-commercial) or CC BY NC ND (non-commercial no derivatives).  These options are more restrictive on the sharing and reuse of the article.  Authors may wish to check their funder policy for the type of license that is required.  A CC BY license is strongly recommended for REF purposes.

Library approval / validation

The publisher may ask the Library to approve or validate the article to be published OA.  This is only to confirm the author is affiliated to the stated institution.  Corresponding authors found not to be at the university when the research was undertaken and the article subsequently submitted for publication, may not be approved for OA under the university agreement with the publisher.


The larger publishers have a dashboard available to authors and library OA staff to track the progress of the article through to publication.  The dashboard contains some or all of the publishing information including the article title, authors’ names, accepted date DOI, etc.

This information is used our library OA staff to assist with the accepted@ process, so that we can effectively support you in making your research discoverable via your Cranfield web page, and via CERES, the University’s repository.

With which publishers do we currently have a R&P agreement?

At the time of going to press the new agreements include:

  • Royal Society of Chemistry
  • Sage
  • Springer
  • Wiley*

We will be adding details of the deals to our open access pages in due course.

*The Wiley R&P deal is temporarily restricted to research funded by UKRI, Wellcome, Blood Cancer UK, British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, Parkinson’s UK and Versus Arthritis, but this should change after January 2021 to cover any Wiley article.

Why aren’t all publishers listed here?

Not all publishers have offered a transformative agreement yet, but also, not all agreements that are on offer are cost-effective for us to take up, as it depends on how much Cranfield authors publish in their journals.

What help is available if we still have to pay an APC charge?

Discount agreements are still available with:

  • Taylor and Francis – 75% discount on the APC
  • MDPI – 10% discount on the APC

Also the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) grant funds are available to help pay APC fees where they are still required. This support is offered on a first come, first served basis.

The following eligibility criteria also applies:

  • Your research is supported by a UKRI grant (note this does not apply to research for Innovate UK) OR your research has significant support from a UK industrial partner (co-authoring the paper or as a joint funder);
  • the corresponding author is from Cranfield University;
  • the article is published in a journal that complies with the University’s guidance on where to publish (on the Intranet)

For full information please go the Library’s open access pages.


Image by aymane jdidi from Pixabay 

Rachel Daniels

Written By: Cranfield University

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