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Research Guides

Open Education

A hub for information and links about OER, Open Educational Practices and Pedagogy, and Open Education activities and projects at U of T

Transformative Agreements

Transformative Agreements (TA) are, as defined by the ESAC Initiative, “...agreements negotiated between institutions (libraries, national and regional consortia) and publishers in which former subscription expenditures are repurposed to support open access publishing of the negotiating institutions’ authors, thus transforming the business model underlying scholarly journal publishing, gradually and definitively shifting 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 Changes (ESAC) File:VisualEditor - Icon - External-link.svg]

These agreements are becoming more prominent worldwide and involve discussions between publishers regarding issues surrounding costs, copyright, transparency, open access, and overall change or transition. The CRKN (Canadian Knowledge Research Network) has negotiated a number of these agreements on behalf of the University of Toronto, information on which can be found here File:VisualEditor - Icon - External-link.svg.

For a more in-depth analysis of the TA environment, see Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe's article File:VisualEditor - Icon - External-link.svg at the Scholarly Kitchen.

For a complete list of transformative agreements worldwide, check out the ESAC registry File:VisualEditor - Icon - External-link.svg.

The Publishing Industry

A quick documentary that explores some of the major issues in the Scholarly Communications industry.

Kinds of Open Access

There are two main kinds of open access - Gold and Green.

Gold Open Access

  • Means the article is available immediately for people to read, regardless of subscription status to the journal
  • Articles of this kind are usually charged an Article Processing Charge (APC, see below) to levy the cost in-lieu of subscription based fares
  • Traditional submission process is the same, including peer review
  • Journals can be either fully gold, meaning all articles are open access, or hybrid, meaning the journal still maintains a subscription model with some articles being available via open access

Green Open Access

  • Also known as 'self-archiving' Green OA is an option offered by many publishers wherein an article is allowed to be deposited in a research repository (such as TSpace at U of T)
  • The version that is deposited often depends on the publisher - this can be the postprint, the accepted manuscript, or the final version after peer review (but before layout and branding has been applied)
  • Usually there is an embargo period in which the article remains available only to subscribers of the journal before it can be deposited and made available as open access. This period is generally 6-12 months.
  • Green OA compliments, but is not a substitute, for Gold OA. However, many journals may start off this way before transitioning to models of more equitable open access

Article Processing Charges

An Article Processing Charge (APC) is a charge levied on the author (or funding body/institution) that aims to cover the costs on behalf of the publisher for making an article instantly open access (Gold OA), viewed as a trade-off in lieu of more traditional subscription/toll access payments.

U of T has a number of agreements in place with publishers to help authors either fully cover or partially cover these costs. Please see our page here File:VisualEditor - Icon - External-link.svg for a list of agreements with instructions on how to apply the coverage or discount. As always, feel free to contact us File:VisualEditor - Icon - External-link.svg when in doubt.

See below for a humorous (and surprisingly succinct) critique of the publishing industry's approach to charging APCs to make material open access, this video was made in reaction to Nature's $11,390 USD charge for OA publications.