Robert-Jan Smits congratulates Projekt DEAL: “A great day for science”

All German research articles in Wiley journals to be published open access under new transformative agreement

Germany’s Projekt DEAL and the publisher John Wiley & Sons have entered a ground-breaking transformative agreement, in line with the objectives of the Open Access 2020 initiative.

Under this new agreement, all authors affiliated with 700 academic institutions in Germany will retain copyright and their accepted articles will be published open access in Wiley journals. Almost 10,000 articles by German researchers are published a year in Wiley journals, constituting around 9% of the publisher’s total output. The agreement also grants students and faculty read access to the full Wiley journal portfolio including backfiles starting with 1997. The national-level agreement is based on a “publish and read” model in which fees are paid by institutions—not for subscriptions but for open access publishing services.

The agreement will be made public in a month’s time and an English-language FAQ will be released by the Projekt DEAL working group.

Read the official press release

Transformative agreements are those contracts negotiated between institutions (libraries, consortia) and publishers that transform the business model of scholarly communication in which the parties are engaged from subscription to open access. They allow institutions to remove their financial support of paywalls and shift their investments to support open access publishing, thus ensuring maximum impact for the research they produce and ongoing and unencumbered access to knowledge for their faculty and students. Because the vast majority of scholarly publishing currently happens in journals produced by a relatively small number of commercial publishers, transformative agreements with these publishers, in particular, constitute a high-impact strategy, in line with the objectives of the Open Access 2020 initiative, to accelerate the transition of scholarly communication to open access. From an administrative perspective, transformative agreements unlock the opaque, lump-sum payments to publishers for reading access—largely based on legacy print expenditures—and, instead, articulate fees for services at the article level; this shift brings cost transparency to the scholarly publishing marketplace, enables market competition to contain pricing, and disbands the lump-sums fees of subscriptions so that investments are free to follow authors as they determine the publishing venues most appropriate for their work—a necessary step on the path to a diverse ecosystem in scholarly communication. For more information on transformative agreements, see