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Characteristics and types of transformative agreements

Transformative agreements have the aim of facilitating universal open access to scientific production for readers and authors, while also containing the growing costs of journals set by the publishing market.
They are contracts signed with academic publishers, thanks to national collective bargaining managed by theElectronic Resources Area of the Conference of Italian University Chancellors, which any interested university library systems can join, providing for an increasing contractual share designated for publication costs, and a progressively decreasing share reserved for the subscription of journals. University researchers can therefore publish open access articles in scientific journals by paying the relevant contribution (APC Article Processing Charge), which is charged to the contractual costs of the university.
Transformative agreements aim to move progressively towards the publication model known as Gold Open Access , in which the only costs required are the publication costs (APC), therefore going beyond the Hybrid Open Access journal model, which can result in the phenomenon of "double dipping", when publishers receive the APC payment for publishing an open access article, and at the same time receive a second payment in the form of a subscription to the journal in which the article has been published.

Main types of transformative agreements
This new form of contract aims to progressively transform the economic model at the foundation of scientific publishing. This will create a shift from a model based on the payment of subscriptions for access to content (Read) to one in which the publisher is paid a fair price to ensure open access publication services (Publish).
There are currently two formulas:

Offsetting agreements
The subscription and publication costs for articles compensate each other: the former progressively decrease and the latter increase.

− Read and Publish (RAP)
A single price, predominantly made up of subscription costs, which covers both subscription access and open access publication for the authors from institutions part of the agreement.

− Publish and Read (PAR)
The majority of the cost is designated for open access publication.


CRUI agreements for the Italian university system

In this section of the CRUI website it is possible to consult the contracts signed to date with the main international academic publishers for the Italian university system; many of these are transformative agreements.