Boston (2021). Read & Let Read: An Alternative to the Transformative Agreement

Boston, A. J. (2021). Read & Let Read: An Alternative to the Transformative Agreement. Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication 9(1), 12908. https://doi.org/10.31274/jlsc.12908

In March 2021, the University of California (UC) and Elsevier announced a new so-called “transformative agreement” that included slightly discounted article processing charges as UC’s route to open access in Elsevier journals. Librarians and researchers expressed immediate concern that this deal upheld inequities in the research system. The UC/Elsevier deal, however, is just one of many that include expensive pay-to-publish structures. This commentary proposes an alternative contract between libraries and publishers that would enable wider reading and lower costs, called Read & Let Read. The three main points of a Read & Let Read deal include a half-dollar valuation of individual journal articles, prepayment on a university’s estimated usage, and an equal payment made for usage outside of the university. If a Read & Let Read deal were implemented at UC, UC would pay a slightly higher amount of money to Elsevier than they are expected to at present, and they would not flip any articles to open access. Instead, they would contribute toward a more equitably distributed system of scholarly readership.

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