What happens when an approved TJ does not meet its Open Access target?

Published on: 17/01/2022 - Updated on: 17/01/2022

By default, if an approved Transformative Journal does NOT meet its Open Access target, the journal is removed from the Transformative Journal programme.

Once the Transformative Journal status has been revoked, the Journal Checker Tool will no longer show this Transformative Journal as a valid publishing route to comply with Plan S. APCs (article processing charges) levied for articles published in these journals will no longer be met by cOAlition S members.

cOAlition S will maintain a list of titles whose Transformative Journal status has been revoked.

See also the question “Is there a special, Year 1, exception for TJ titles which do not meet their 2021 (Year 1) OA target?

Is there a special, Year 1, exception for TJ titles which do not meet their 2021 (Year 1) Open Access target?

Published on: 17/01/2022 - Updated on: 09/05/2022

The Transformative Journal programme is a new initiative, designed to provide another route by which publishers can provide a Plan S-aligned publishing option to cOAlition S funded-researchers. Given that this model is still in its infancy, cOAlition S has agreed that if a Transformative Journal does not meet its Year 1 (2021) OA target, then the Transformative Journal title can remain in the programme, provided that the journal agrees that the Year 2 target is calculated as if the Year 1 target had been achieved. Figure 1, below, provides an illustration.

Journal Year 1 OA penetration target Year 1 actual penetration rate Year 2 target (5% absolute growth) Year 2 target (15% relative growth) KPI target for Year 2 based on:
A 15% 12% 20%
(i.e. Year 1 target 15% + 5% = 20%)
17.25%
(i.e. Year 1 target 15 * 1.15 = 17.25)
Absolute growth
B 50% 47% 55%
(i.e. Year 1 target 50% + 5% = 55%)
57.50
(i.e. Year 1 target 50*1.15 = 57.50)
Relative growth
Figure 1: Year 2 targets assume year 1 targets were met

 

This option may be helpful for publishers who are confident that Year 2 targets will be met. This confidence may arise because the publisher believes that they will conclude a number of Transformative Agreements (Read & Publish etc) and/or they are more proactively marketing the Transformative Journal option in Year 2.

Publishers who would like to make use of this option must request this in writing from cOAlition S, specifying which titles they are proposing would make use of this exception, and providing the Year 2 target data in line with the information set out in Figure 1. This request must be received by the cOAlition S Office no later than 09.00 BST on Tuesday 3 May 2022.

Any title which fails to meet its Open Access target will be withdrawn from the Transformative Journal programme.

Titles that fail to reach their Year 1 Open Access penetration target, and who do NOT seek the exception detailed here, will be removed from the Transformative Journal programme.

For the avoidance of doubt, the Year 1 exception relates to the OA penetration rate achieved in 2021. Publishers who join the TJ programme after 2021 – or existing TJ publishers who add new titles to their TJ list – will not be able to make use of this Year 1 (2021) exception.

I publish a journal that does not charge any publication fees (aka ‘Diamond’ OA). Do I have to submit Price Transparency data?

Published on: 22/06/2020 - Updated on: 22/06/2020

The Plan S requirements for price transparency state “When Open Access publication fees are applied, they must be commensurate with the publication services delivered and the structure of such fees must be transparent[Principle 5].

By operating a no-fee model, there is no Plan S requirement to make your pricing openly available. Such publishers may choose to make their pricing data available.

What publication charges will cOAlition S funders cover?

Published on: 19/05/2020 - Updated on: 02/06/2020

cOAlition S funders commit to the following for their grantees:

  • Financial support for Open Access publication fees – such as article processing charges (APCs) – for peer reviewed articles in fully OA journals (or fully OA publishing platforms) that fulfil the Plan S requirements.
  • Funders do not support the ‘hybrid’ model of publishing. However, as a transitional pathway toward full OA within a clearly defined timeframe, funders may contribute financially to OA publishing under transformative arrangements; check your individual funder’s conditions. If you are based at a higher education institution, your library may offer advice.
  • Check with your individual funder to find out whether they cover other publication charges that are not related to OA such as page, colour, image or submission charges.
Who can apply for publication charges support from cOAlition S funders?

Published on: 19/05/2020 - Updated on: 02/06/2020

cOAlition S funders only financially supports the publication fees incurred by researchers benefitting from their own grants, and cannot commit to paying the publication fees of other researchers.

My research has multiple collaborators at different institutions? How do I divide the APC charge?

Published on: 19/05/2020 - Updated on: 02/06/2020

How the charge is divided is left to the discretion of the PI/researchers/institutions involved, in line with the rules of their funder.

My research is funded by multiple funders. How do I split the publication charge?

Published on: 19/05/2020 - Updated on: 02/06/2020

Where a piece of research has been supported by several grants and possibly several funders, all of these should be acknowledged. How the charge is divided is left to the discretion of the PI/researchers/institutions involved, in line with the rules of their funder.

In order to comply with Plan S, do I have to publish in a fully Open Access journal and pay a fee?

Published on: 19/05/2020 - Updated on: 15/10/2021

No.

  • Publishing in a fully OA journal or on an OA platform is only one of the three routes to compliance with Plan S. Not all of the routes to OA require the payment of an OA fee.
  • As a second option, you could publish in a subscription journal (pure subscription or hybrid) and make a copy of your article (either the Author Accepted Manuscript or the Version of Record) immediately available OA via a repository under a CC-BY licence.
  • Finally, as a third option, you could publish OA in a journal that is under a transformative arrangement.
  • For full details see Part II of the Plan S Implementation Guidance.
  • If you are based at a higher education institution your library may be able to advise.
What is a transformative arrangement?

Published on: 19/05/2020 - Updated on: 02/06/2020

cOAlition S supports a number of strategies to encourage subscription publishers to transition to Open Access. We call these approaches ’transformative arrangements’, for which there are currently three strategies: Transformative Agreements, Transformative Journals, and transformative model agreements.

What is a transformative agreement?

Published on: 19/05/2020 - Updated on: 04/06/2020

Transformative agreements are those contracts negotiated between institutions (libraries, national and regional consortia) and publishers that transform the business model underlying scholarly journal publishing, moving from one based on toll access (subscription) to one in which publishers are remunerated a fair price for their open access publishing services. (Efficiency and Standards for Article Charges, ESAC)

What is a transformative model agreement?

Published on: 19/05/2020 - Updated on: 22/06/2020

Many journals and publishers, especially smaller society presses, are not currently engaged in Transformative Agreements. Transformative Agreement model contracts aim to facilitate new transformative mechanisms for such publishers. See also the transformative agreements toolkit developed by Information Power as part of the SPA-OPS project

If a researcher publishes in a subscription journal that is part of a Transformative Agreement to which they have access, is that compliant with Plan S?

Published on: 19/05/2020 - Updated on: 02/06/2020

In cases where the researcher publishes in a subscription journal that is covered by a Transformative Agreement, to which they have access, it is fully compliant with Plan S. As always, this is under the condition that the Plan S requirements for publication venues are fulfilled (see in Part II of the Guidance). To clarify: If a Transformative Agreement has been concluded between a publisher and a consortium of institutions, then, if a researcher at one of those institutions who is funded by a cOAlition S funder publishes an article in a journal that is included in the Transformative Agreement, this article would be compliant.
However, if another researcher supported by a cOAlition S funder, who is based elsewhere that is NOT covered by the Transformative Agreement, publishes in the same journal, then to comply with the Plan S requirements the researcher must make a copy of the article (either the Author Accepted Manuscript or the Version of Record) available in immediate OA via a repository (under a CC BY licence).

Why do cOAlition S funders not fund hybrid Open Access?

Published on: 19/05/2020 - Updated on: 02/02/2022

Plan S is part of a wider open science movement, looking to accelerate the transition to providing research results in Open Access. Hybrid OA (i.e., OA option within a subscription journal) has been part of that transition towards full OA.

  • One reason cOAlition S funders do not support the hybrid model is the reality of double payments, where a single journal provides the publisher with a revenue stream both from full subscriptions as well as from APCs.
  • Another reason is that although hybrid journals were perceived as a bridge, by which publishers could move their model away from subscriptions and toward open access, the reality is that this has not happened. In short, hybrid journals have demonstrably failed as a viable transitioning strategy toward full Open Access. After more than a decade, cOAlition S funders have seen little evidence of this transition to full OA actually occurring for these titles. cOAlition S funders require a clearly defined end to hybrid status to ensure a full transition to OA, so that the partial transition resulting from hybrid does not continue indefinitely.
  • So far, publication charges for hybrid OA articles have been higher than charges for OA articles in fully OA journals. cOAlition S funders are keen to make prices more transparent and to keep charges to a sustainable level for the future.
  • cOAlition S will fund publication charges in journals that offer an OA option until 31st Dec 2024 providing the journal is part of a transformative arrangement. cOAlition S funders will not pay for OA publication via an OA option within a subscription journal (i.e., hybrid via a transformative arrangement) beyond 31st December 2024. Transformative arrangements are expected to be temporary transitional solutions towards full OA, and must move to full OA for cOAlition S funds to continue to be used to pay publishing charges for these journals from 2025.

See also: ‘Why hybrid journals do not lead to full and immediate Open Access

If a researcher publishes in a subscription journal that offers a hybrid OA option, is that compliant with Plan S?

Published on: 19/05/2020 - Updated on: 02/06/2020

The Plan S implementation guidance makes it clear that if a researcher publishes in a subscription journal that is NOT part of a ‘transformative arrangement’, to fulfil the requirements of Plan S they must make a copy of the article (either the Author’s Accepted Manuscript or the Version of Record) available in immediate OA (no embargo) via a repository under a CC-BY licence.
cOAlition S funders will not fund APCs in such hybrid journals and encourages institutions to adopt a similar position.

What is a Transformative Journal?

Published on: 19/05/2020 - Updated on: 02/02/2022

A Transformative Journal is a subscription/hybrid journal that is committed to transitioning to a fully OA journal. In addition, it must:

  • gradually increase the share of OA content and
  • offset subscription income from payments for publishing services (to avoid double payments).

To apply for Transformative Journal status complete the cOAlition S online form

Plan S compliant Transformative Journals are listed here

What problem is the Transformative Journal model seeking to solve?

Published on: 19/05/2020 - Updated on: 02/02/2022

We believe that one of the most promising instruments to help subscription journals to transform to full and immediate open access is through Transformative Agreements, such as Read and Publish Agreements. Many countries and consortia of research institutions are supporting Transformative Agreements, often inspired by the invaluable work of the Open Access 2020 initiative.

Agreements are “transformative” in the sense that funds formerly used to pay for subscriptions are redirected to pay for Open Access services. It is the sum of an increasing number of agreements, negotiated with publishers around the globe, that will bring about the transition to full and immediate Open Access. Recognising that a fundamental principle of these transformative arrangements is that they are temporary and transitional, where cOAlition S members provide funding to support publication fees of journals covered by such arrangements, this funding will cease on the 31 December 2024.

However powerful we think Transformative Agreements are in the transition to full and immediate Open Access, there may be occasions when such agreements may not be the optimal way to facilitate a transition to full Open Access. Examples may include a society journal which doesn’t have the resource to negotiate Transformative Agreements (which tend to be negotiated at the country or institution level) and/or that wishes to provide a Plan S-aligned OA publishing option for all its authors, irrespective of their location (and whether they are based in a country which has a history of negotiating read and publish agreements or not).

For these journals, we have developed the “Transformative Journal” framework.

How do Transformative Journals differ from hybrid journals?

Published on: 19/05/2020 - Updated on: 02/02/2022

One of the overarching principles of Plan S is its commitment that funders do not support the hybrid model of publishing. One reason for this is the reality of double payments, where a single journal provides the publisher with a revenue stream both from full subscriptions as well as from APCs.

Another reason is that although hybrid journals were perceived as a bridge, by which publishers could move their model away from subscriptions and towards open access, the reality is that this has not happened. See cOAlition S news item ‘Why hybrid journals do not lead to full and immediate Open Access. In short, hybrid journals have demonstrably failed as a viable transitioning strategy towards full Open Access.

Transformative Journals differ considerably from hybrid journals in the following ways:

  • They make an explicit commitment to transition to Open Access.
  • They meet transition KPI’s (key performance indicators) year-on-year.
  • They formulate explicit policies to avoid double payments.
What key performance indicators (KPI’s) must a Transformative Journal minimally adhere to?

Published on: 19/05/2020 - Updated on: 14/01/2022

In progressing toward full and immediate Open Access, a Transformative Journal will need to demonstrate an annual increase in the OA proportion of at least 5% in absolute terms and at least 15% in relative terms, year-on-year. Growth in OA proportions will be assessed either on a rolling 3-year historic basis or each calendar year.

It must also commit to flip to full Open Access as soon as possible, and in any event once 75% of the research content is published open access.

Why does the final version of the Transformative Journal criteria not require publishers to commit to a date when they will flip to fully Open Access?

Published on: 19/05/2020 - Updated on: 14/01/2022

In the draft version of the criteria for Transformative Journals, cOAlition S specified that a journal had to flip to fully Open Access by 2024. This requirement has been removed from the final version.

However, we continue to require publishers to actively commit to transitioning to a fully Open Access journal and in any event to make this flip no later than when 75% of the research content is published open access.

cOAlition S has also made it clear that funding for Transformative Journals will cease at the end of 2024, at which time we will also end support for other types of Transformative Arrangements, such as Read and Publish agreements.

The feedback from the consultation indicated that the “flipping OA target” was the most problematic aspect of the model proposed. We listened to this feedback and adjusted this KPI, in line with some of the publisher feedback.

As we want to encourage scholarly publishers to move to a fully Open Access world, and at the same time provide publishing options for researchers which do not rely exclusively on the repository route (“green OA”), relaxing this requirement was deemed to be the most pragmatic approach and one we hope publishers will embrace.

If a publisher develops a Transformative Journal, will cOAlition S funders pay publication fees?

Published on: 19/05/2020 - Updated on: 02/06/2020

As stated in the Guidance to the Implementation of Plan S, cOAlition S members may, but are not obliged to, provide funding to support publication fees of journals covered by transformative arrangements, such as Transformative Journals.
Where cOAlition S members provide funding to support publication fees of journals covered by such arrangements, this funding will cease on 31 December 2024.

Does a Transformative Journal have to make use of the APC model?

Published on: 19/05/2020 - Updated on: 14/01/2022

No. We acknowledge that there are multiple business models that can support Open Access publishing. In moving away from a subscription model, a Transformative Journal does not necessarily have to transform to an APC-based model. The transition could also represent a transformation to non-APC based OA, for example, through financial support of subsets of articles (as in SCOAP3), or via a “Subscribe to Open” model, as used by Annual Reviews.

What article types will be funded in a Transformative Journal?

Published on: 19/05/2020 - Updated on: 14/01/2022

We recognise that journals publish a wide range of article types, including research articles, editorials, reviews, letters, commentaries etc. A Transformative Journal will need to offer authors the opportunity to publish their primary, original research articles Open Access.

Costs associated with non-primary research content can be met through subscriptions or other means.

If a publisher develops a Transformative Journal, must that be included in future Transformative Agreements?

Published on: 19/05/2020 - Updated on: 02/06/2020

We would expect publishers to offer the relevant negotiating body the opportunity to include Transformative Journals in any future Transformative Agreement, as soon as it is practicable to do so. A decision whether to do so would, of course, reside with the negotiating body.

Do Transformative Journals have to offer waivers to cOAlition S funded researchers who are unable to pay the publication fee?

Published on: 19/05/2020 - Updated on: 11/02/2022

We would, in line with Guidance on the Implementation of Plan S, encourage such journals to offer waivers.

If a waiver is not provided, and the researcher (or their funder or institution) is unable to fund the publication fee, the author should retain their copyright and make a copy of the Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM) or the Version of Record (VoR) available through a repository without embargo and with an open licence (CC-BY), in line with the Plan S requirements.

As a publisher, how do I apply for one of my journals to be considered as a Transformative Journal?

Published on: 19/05/2020 - Updated on: 14/01/2022

If you would like one of your journals to be considered as a Transformative Journal, please complete the form here.

The application will be reviewed by the cOAlition S secretariat. A response, indicating whether your application has been accepted, will be made within four weeks of the date of submission. Journals that are afforded Transformative Journal status will be listed on the cOAlition S website here.

My institution has no funds to support the costs associated with OA. Does this mean if I do not have funds I can’t publish?

Published on: 19/05/2020 - Updated on: 02/06/2020

If you are funded by a cOAlition S funder and the particular funder’s guidelines already support Plan S practices, the funder and the institution will normally provide funding for covering costs associated with OA. However, cOAlition S funders only financially support the publication fees of their own grantees, and cannot commit to paying the publication fees of other researchers.

Does cOalition S funding cover publication charges such as submission fees and page and colour charges?

Published on: 19/05/2020 - Updated on: 02/06/2020

Check with your individual funder to find out whether and under what conditions they cover non-APC publication charges such as page, colour, image, and submission charges.

Transformative Agreements will result in different levels of Open Access depending on country or institution. Will this change at the point when the agreements end?

Published on: 19/05/2020

Transformative Agreements may vary between countries and institutions, and will result in partial and uneven OA until the journals included ‘flip’ to full OA. The flip to payment for ‘publish’ or other OA model must be universal to align with Plan S. cOalition S funders will not pay partial (hybrid) OA charges beyond 31st December 2024.

Which OA models will cOAlition S funders support financially?

Published on: 19/05/2020 - Updated on: 22/06/2020

cOAlition S funders will pay publishing charges as explained in their policies. They will only pay for ‘hybrid’ OA for articles in journals with transformative agreements and only until end of December 2024.