Transformative agreements

Open research – the context for transformative agreements.

The University of Manchester Library is committed to supporting the global open research agenda, a key element within the University’s Our Future strategy. An important aspect of this commitment is engaging with publishers to support the movement away from subscription-based Big Deals, and towards a more open and equitable model of scholarly publishing.

Many subscription-based publishers have signalled their commitment to transitioning their business models by proposing 'transformative agreements,’ where institutional spend on subscriptions is transferred to spend on Open Access publishing instead.

Springer Nature negotiations update, May 2023

The University of Manchester, alongside 110 other UK institutions, has negotiated a new three-year agreement with Springer Nature, one of the world's leading academic publishers. This significant agreement maintains our access to key academic journals and allows open access publishing for University authors with no additional cost. 

Discussions with Springer Nature began around eighteen months ago, with formal negotiations beginning in June 2022. UK institutions were consulted on their requirements for a new agreement with Springer Nature in March 2022 and these were communicated to Springer Nature throughout the negotiations. 

The negotiations were driven by five objectives: promoting full open access to research, constraining costs, showcasing Springer Nature's commitment to global open access, ensuring fair agreement charges, and fostering Open Research across UK institutions. 

In April 2023, the sector was consulted on Springer Nature's fifth proposal for a new Read and Publish agreement. All 110 institutions that responded to the survey accepted the proposal, though 43 did so with serious reservations including our own university, citing concerns about high publishing costs in Nature Research journals, lack of price transparency, and rights retention exceptions.

Despite these concerns, the sector is moving forward to implement the agreement, contingent upon successful contract negotiations with Springer Nature. Our university, in collaboration with the sector, will now focus on shaping future negotiations and fostering open science more broadly. 

The new agreement spans three years, with a review scheduled after the second year, and promises a 4.46% reduction in current sector spending. The agreement ensures unchanged read access to Springer Compact and Nature titles, with the addition of all Palgrave titles. It incorporates unlimited open access publishing in Springer Compact and capped open access publishing in all Nature Research titles, irrespective of read access. Should the cap be exceeded, authors are permitted to openly share their accepted manuscripts via green open access.

Support and guidance 

Further updates on this deal and our other read and publish deals can be found on the University of Manchester Library website: