The world of scholarly publishing is rapidly changing in response to pressure from research funders and policymakers, such as the 2018 Plan S mandates and the recent memorandum from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, to accelerate the move to open access (OA).​ As a result, publishers are working to quickly transform their business models in the short term to remain viable over the long term.

In part 1 of this blog series, I explored the challenges that publishers face in pulling together clean, actionable data to model out new agreement offers to propose to their institutional partners and in part 2, I outlined the difficulties and complications that can arise when modeling OA pricing models. In my final post, I will focus on the impact and importance of communication and collaboration between publishers and their institutional partners, as well as with internal stakeholders.

In order to build successful OA agreements, all parties need to be willing to enter into collaborative conversations leveraging transparent data. Data transparency is critical for building and maintaining trust with institutional partners, who are key to publishers’ OA strategy time through renewals, new deals, and new services. Often, when entering negotiations, publishers share the historical article processing charge (APC) information, including total APC spend, but institutions may have their own, different picture of what APCs they’ve paid. This leads to the publisher having to go back and either review their own historical data or explain any differences, often through spreadsheets and email.

If an institution indicates a contract isn’t going to work for them and wants to rework it, the last thing publishers want to do is tackle the manual analysis all over again, taking additional time and resources and delaying negotiations further. Having the ability to combine the right numbers with an automated model that taps into and integrates the right data sources is the best chance to get it right. Publishers can then propose data-driven OA deals to institutions that make sense for both parties. Quick and efficient data clean-up, modeling, and sharing can help agreements get over the finish line quickly and without error.

And it’s not just streamlining external collaboration that should be explored. Another open access challenge publishers must deal with is keeping internal teams informed. Many internal groups—from sales to editorial to the finance team and senior management—can be involved in closing on new business and renewing existing agreements. Manual processes can lead to unclear internal communications and inefficient processes that cause a lack of alignment and support for new business models, leading to agreements that are complicated and cumbersome to operationalize.

Using an agreement modeling tool like CCC’s OA Agreement Intelligence can help solve these challenges in communication and collaboration. For internal teams, OA Agreement Intelligence supports internal alignment as all parties are viewing the same data, streamlining the process and preventing manual errors. For external partners, OA Agreement Intelligence provides data exports that publishers can share as well as dynamic data visualizations of the historical relationship and projected future years for more consistent data sharing.

Learn more about CCC’s OA Agreement Intelligence here


Author: Herman Mentink

Herman Mentink is an Econometrics MSc from the Erasmus University of Rotterdam in the Netherlands. Throughout his career, he has worked in marketing intelligence & strategy, specializing in pricing since 2008. As a pricing professional, Herman has worked in various B2C and B2B environments, focusing on scientific publishing since 2014. He has worked with some of the leading scientific publishers in a variety of areas, including transformative agreements. Currently, he works as an interim CPO (Chief Pricing Officer) in the publishing and entertainment industry.
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