HomeScholarly CommunicationOpen AccessWhat's New in Open Access?

What's New in Open Access?

The world of scholarly publishing is changing rapidly and rise of new open access models and directives is shaping the conversation about the future of scholarship. Below is a brief summary of major events or initiatives that have taken place around open access recently. 

Plan S, launched in 2018, aims to shift all publicly funded research from supporting European countries from paywalled to open access by 2021. As publishers operate globally, Plan S has the potential to affect the entire publishing ecosystem as they adapt to the demands of their European customer base. Read more here: https://www.coalition-s.org/.

In response to Plan S and institutional open access mandates, academic consortia and institutions are negotiating transformative agreements with publishers. These agreements seek to transform the existing scholarly publishing model from subscription based access to open access. A popular method of doing this is the Read and Publish agreement, in which libraries continue to pay subscription dollars and APCs for faculty publishing are rolled into the price, allowing institutional authors to publish open access at no cost to them.

Major transformative agreements that have been negotiated in the U.S. include:


Many universities are also re-evaluating their contracts with commercial publishers through an open access lens and ending relationships with those who are unwilling to support open access publishing while making the costs sustainable for institutions.

The University of California led this effort in the U.S. in 2018 by cancelling their subscription to materials on Elsevier’s ScienceDirect platform when they could not reach an agreement with the publisher that would both promote open access and cap institutional costs. In the past year, several more universities have followed suit, most recently MIT, announcing plans to let their subscriptions to ScienceDirect lapse based on Elsevier’s unwillingness to negotiate deals that benefit institutions as much as they financially benefit Elsevier.  

Read more about the universities that have implemented plans to fully or partially cancelled their Elsevier subscriptions here: