The Impact of Transformative Agreements on Publication Patterns

How to Cite

Bakker, C., Langham-Putrow, A., & Riegelman, A. (2024). The Impact of Transformative Agreements on Publication Patterns: An Analysis Based on Agreements from the ESAC Registry. International Journal of Librarianship, 8(4), 67–96.
Received 2023-08-30
Accepted 2023-12-15
Published 2024-01-31


"Transformative agreements" are agreements made between publishers and institutions that were intended to transform the traditional subscription-based scholarly publishing system to open access. Some publishers and institutions have argued that these are the best option, yet, they are increasingly being called into question. Not only does the transition remain incomplete, they create negative effects on researchers without access to an agreement or funding to pay an article processing charge. This research project sought to address the question of whether transformative agreements increase the number of open access publications. In April 2022, we retrieved 370 transformative agreements from the ESAC Transformative Agreement Registry, of which 72 met our inclusion criteria. At that time, agreements in the ESAC Registry were heavily weighted towards Europe. We retrieved publications from the Web of Science Core Collection, and screened these to ensure that they were authored by researchers at participating institutions and published in hybrid open access journals covered by the agreement. Using the Unpaywall API, we determined the open access status of each item. Through this process, we identified 156,053 publications that met inclusion criteria. In this article, we examine changes in publication patterns at an aggregate level and per agreement.


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