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The Libraries’ New Transformative Agreements

Photo of maple leaves transforming from green to brown on a gray wood background

The CMU Libraries has signed transformative agreements with four journal publishers. A transformative agreement “transforms” the publishing process from the traditional subscription model to a new model in line with the open publishing model many publishers, libraries, and researchers are embracing today. Though many journals still use the subscription model, more are moving to a transformative model.  

 Under the subscription model, a researcher submits a manuscript for publication to a specific journal. If accepted, the article is published in an upcoming issue. The publisher generates revenue by selling subscriptions to the journal to libraries and individuals. The author is not required to pay the publisher for the right of publication. However, under this model, the author signs a contract that typically transfers their copyrights to the journal publisher. Access to the article is limited to individuals who have a subscription, either personally or through their institution. This is what’s known as the article being behind a paywall (since without a subscription you must pay to view it). 

 Under a transformative agreement, an author pays an article processing charge (APC) to have their article published once it is accepted for publication. APCs vary widely depending on the individual journal, but most are in the $1,500 - $3,000 range. In a transformative agreement, the publisher’s revenue source moves from the rear of the process (i.e. the purchase of journal subscriptions to access published content) to the front of the process (i.e. the payment of an APC prior to publication). And the burden of payment shifts from the library to the author. Fortunately for CMU authors, the CMU Libraries has signed transformative agreements with four publishers to cover the cost of APCs. When publishing with these four publishers, CMU authors will not have to pay.  

 Additionally, articles published through a transformative agreement have a Creative Commons CC-BY license, meaning they are accessible to everyone, regardless of their affiliation. Authors benefit because articles published in an open format are more discoverable, more likely to read, and more likely to be cited. Under the CC-BY license, the author retains copyright to their article; no more signing full copyright over to the publisher. This allows the author to reprint, distribute, and use their work as they wish in the future.  

 The CMU Libraries is pleased to offer this service to CMU authors. For more information see our transformative agreements page

Blog: University Libraries posted | Last Modified: | Author: by Tim Peters | Categories: CMU Libraries
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