(Oct 2023) In 2021, the Association of Swedish Higher Education Institutions (Sveriges universitets- ochhögskoleförbund, SUHF) decided to convene a beyond transformative agreements working group(the BTA group) to lay the foundation for further advancing the transition to open access. The group includes researchers, representatives of higher education institutions, funders and negotiators from the Bibsam Consortium. It was convened to develop a strategy for how Sweden – and more specifically the Bibsam Consortium in its negotiations with the publishers – should operate in the coming years.
This report is based on assessments and conclusions that the group developed and agreed upon at a final meeting on 22 September 2022. The text was prepared by a writing group consisting of Olle Lundberg, Forte (Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare) and Katarina Wiberg, the National Library of Sweden (Kungliga biblioteket, KB), with the support of a reference group consisting of Anna Lundén, KB and Wilhelm Widmark, Stockholm University Library, both from the Bibsam Consortium Steering Committee. The writing group was guided by the conclusions reached by the working group but also took into account changes in the world that have occurred since then.
Here’s the summary:
The beyond transformative agreements working group has been tasked with proposing a strategy for transitioning from transformative agreements to a financially sustainable system that stimulates the ongoing transition to a fully open publishing system. Drawing on the group’s research and discussions about various courses of action, a number of recommendations have been made.
The group contends that it is vital for control of scholarly publication to reside in the research community, while also emphasising the need to reduce publication costs. The group’s primary recommendation, therefore, is that the Bibsam Consortium should refrain from entering read and publish agreements in hybrid journals, beginning in 2026 at the latest. Instead, it should only sign agreements for publication in fully open access journals.
For this stance to be feasible during negotiations with publishers and successfully implemented in practice, various complementary and supporting strategic initiatives and actions also need to be carried out. These include:
• Signing agreements with publishers that only publish open access journals.
• Providing a national independent publishing platform.
• Improving the opportunities for migrating researcher-owned journals from traditional publishers to other platforms.
• Continuing to work with copyright issues related to open access.
The group also concluded that there may be a need for a better understanding within the research community of the benefits that a change in existing publishing practices can bring, and that communication and engagement with both higher education institutions (HEIs) and the research community will be essential aspects of the work.
These recommendations will hopefully provide support to the HEIs’ leadership and the Bibsam Consortium Steering Committee when they are making strategic choices in future negotiations with the major publishers. Additionally, they are intended to guide the implementation of the supporting measures that the group deems necessary.