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Expanded Access to Paywalled Content:

A hidden benefit of transformative agreements

In discussing transformative agreements, the focus is typically on how they enable open access publishing. This focus is not surprising given transformative agreements were devised for this purpose. But, in many cases, transformative agreements are also expanding access and readership for content that is paywalled. This essay explores this hidden benefit of the “big deal” nature of transformative agreements.

Transformative agreements, which are also known as read-and-publish agreements, are a mechanism to shift library dollars spent from subscriptions to read paywalled content towards open access publishing services. We are in a time of a great deal of experimentation with transformative agreements and, as such, there are almost always exceptions to any general statements.

However, broadly speaking, in such agreements the payment from the library to the publisher bundles reading and publishing together into a single contract. The relative proportions of the payments for reading and publishing vary greatly across the universe of transformative agreements, including those in which reading access is not charged separately but subsumed into the publishing charge. In such instances, the contracts are sometimes then known as publish-and-read agreements. 

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