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[…]

Some short answers to big questions

The open access landscape is highly complex, and the academic community does well to reflect on the ambitions, progress and impact of the many approaches that are working toward an open information environment. To illustrate the unique and essential role of the Open Access 2020 Initiative in this landscape, here are brief answers to some important questions for consideration, which we hope will facilitate a greater understanding of OA2020 and facilitate further collaboration. […]

It’s the workflows, stupid! What is required to make ‘offsetting’ work for the open access transition

A recent article by Graham Stone (Jisc) and Kai Geschuhn (MPDL) published in the British library journal UKSG Insights highlights the outcomes of two workshops organized by the Efficiencies and Standards for Article Charges initiative (ESAC) in 2016 und 2017. The paper makes the case for stronger engagement of libraries and consortia when it comes to negotiating and drafting offsetting agreements. The workshops have shown a clear need for an improvement of the current workflows and processes between academic institutions (and libraries) and the publishers they use in terms of author identification, metadata exchange and invoicing. Publishers need to invest in their editorial systems, while institutions need to get a clearer understanding of the strategic goal of offsetting. To this purpose, strategic and practical elements, which should be included in the agreements, were introduced. The paper proposes a set of recommendations for article workflows and services between institutions and publishers, based on a draft document which was produced as part of the 2nd ESAC Offsetting Workshop in March 2017. These recommendations should be seen as a minimum set of practical and formal requirements for offsetting agreements and are necessary to make any publication-based open access business model work.

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ShanghaiTech University Library becomes the first university library in China to join OA2020

ShanghaiTech University Library becomes the first university library in China to join OA2020, with Library Director Xiaolin Zhang signing the Expression of Interest. Shanghai Tech is a new research university of academic excellence jointly established by Shanghai Municipal Government and Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) in 2013.


Today, the National Science Library, Chinese Academy of Sciences, has become the first institution in China to join the global Open Access 2020 Initiative with Director Huizhou Liu formalizing the endorsement by signing the OA2020 Expression of Interest on the occasion of Open Access Week 2017. OA2020 is honoured by the participation of such a[…]


**Full press release available in English, French, Spanish, German, and Italian**

Divest of subscriptions, invest in Open Access!

This principle is the foundation of the Open Access 2020 Initiative, and we are encouraged to note it is now also the underlying strategy of an increasing number of new Open Access initiatives with whom we share the common vision of making open the default in scholarly communications. In support of our mutual goal, we are excited to announce the launch of our newly expanded website,, where libraries and institutions can find practical information, best practice and resources to plan and execute their own transformational roadmaps that address local needs and have impact in the drive for Open Access at a global scale.

Ms. Midori Ichiko, of the Keio University Library, and Steering Committee Chair of JUSTICE, the Japanese University Library Consortium, a signatory of the OA2020 Expression of Interest says: “The completely renovated OA2020 website gives clear and strong support to my colleagues of the Japanese consortium. This hub helps us isolate the issues we are facing and provides instruments to help us collaborate.”

As set out in the OA2020 Expression of Interest, drafted at the 12th Berlin Open Access Conference in 2015, the key to achieving large scale transformation of the current scholarly publishing (subscription) system is by “converting resources currently spent on journal subscriptions into funds to support sustainable OA business models”. The OA2020 Expression of Interest goes on to clarify that the envisioned transformation shall be made “in accordance with community-specific publications preferences” while continuing “to support new and improved forms of OA publishing”.

One bold manifestation of these principles can be found in Germany, where nearly 200 institutions have announced that, pending positive results of the ongoing DEAL negotiations to incorporate open access publishing entitlements into a national content license agreement, they will not extend their current licenses with Elsevier; consequently, the local OA2020 coordinating body for Germany  proposes that the funds saved on non-renewal with Elsevier be diverted to sustaining OA publishing initiatives.

Yet, in keeping with the OA2020 objective of incorporating community-specific publication preferences, there are diverse proposals to be explored:

The recent Jussieu Call, echoes the principles voiced by OA2020 in their declaration by calling “on research organizations and their libraries to secure and earmark as of now a share of their acquisition budgets to support the development of scientific publishing activities, which are genuinely open and innovative, and address the needs of the scientific community.”

In the US, while not specifically calling out a conversion of subscription funds, the 2.5% Commitment recommends that libraries “commit 2.5% of their total budgets to organizations and projects that contribute to the common digital infrastructure need to support the open scholarly commons”. And, the “Red OA” proposal being studied by the Association of Research Libraries, albeit moving a step further, proposes to convert not only subscription funds but also the funds that scholars use to pay publishing fees, to support open, discipline-based pre-print repositories.

While adopting the tactics most appropriate for each geographic and discipline context, these strategies are united by a common denominator: the realization that Open Access can only be achieved on a large scale if libraries and institutions take an active and systematic approach to divesting of subscriptions and investing in open access. Prof. Gerard Meijer, Director of the Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society and co-chair of the OA2020 initiative says: ”With the relaunch of its new website, the OA2020 initiative renews its invitation to the many voices within the global academic and research communities to partner with us in transformative, coordinated actions to liberate scholarly communications from the subscription system and propel the open access movement forward.”

Whatever the strategies adopted, as institutions move their budgets away from subscriptions and invest in Open Access publishing models, the stronghold of the traditional subscription system is weakened. Nearly 80% of scholarly publishing lies with only a small group of publishers, and a growing percentage of institutions whose scholarly outputs publishers depend upon, are embracing the OA2020 strategy and adopting tactics to remove their financial support of the subscription model in order to inject open access into the system.

Based on current world publication trends, transformative actions from a relatively small number of global research-intensive institutions would be sufficient to bring down the subscription paywall, but the involvement of institutions from every geographical and academic context are essential for creating a truly open and just information environment.

Visit the OA2020 website to learn how you can drive the transformation.

Your action will make the difference!