Transitioning to Open Access: An Evaluation of the UK Springer Compact Agreement Pilot 2016–2018

Mafalda Marques, Graham Stone


This article analyzes the UK’s first “read and publish” journals agreement. The Springer Compact Agreement pilot ran from 2016 to 2018. The authors outline the methodology and data sources used to undertake a detailed analysis of the agreement. This includes the number of open access articles published, the number of author opt-outs and rejected articles. Institutional savings (or cost avoidance), and the financial implications resulting from the number of opt-outs and rejected articles are also discussed. The value of articles published and cost per download for non-OA content are also covered. The agreement, at the consortia level, has constrained the total cost of publication—during the three years, the HE sector has avoided paying additional costs of €20,000,800 ($22,761,688) for publishing OA by paying the single combined fee that capped publication costs at 2014 rates. All institutions taking part in the Springer Compact agreement published OA articles equivalent to or in excess of their total 2014 APC spend between 2016 and 2018. By 2018, 30 percent of institutions published OA articles to the value of or in excess of the combined fee paid to Springer. The article concludes with a number of recommendations for future agreements and considers compliance with Plan S guidelines.

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