The Fully Open Access Agreement – an essential component of a diverse, open access world

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Date: December 6, 2021 (UK)


OASPA is pleased to provide thi webinar which focuses on “Fully Open Access agreements” (sometimes referred to as “Pure Publish” agreements) which entail institutions making central agreements to support open access (OA) publishing with Fully OA publishers who have no content to transition to open access. This webinar is organised by the OASPA Interest Group – Fully OA Journal Organisations.

Fully OA publishers welcome the pivotal role institutions and libraries are playing in supporting open access. Much of the recent effort to transition scholarly publishing to OA has focused on ‘Transformative Agreements’ that incentivize change among subscription or mixed-model publishers. In parallel with this, therefore, it is equally important to create the budget and infrastructures to support fully OA publishers – who already deliver open content by default in ways that comply with Plan S and fulfill its original principles and spirit.

In this OASPA webinar, we will hear from publisher, researcher, and librarian stakeholders on the necessity and benefits of fully OA agreements, along with the pitfalls with considering OA solely as a “transitional” exercise. Please find background information about the topic at this OASPA blog post from May 2021. 

This webinar aims to address an audience from the OASPA community, as well as librarians and the wider scholarly communications community.


  • Chair: Jennifer Gibson, Executive Director, Dryad
  • Wilhelm Widmark, Library Director, Stockholm University
  • Sharla Lair, Senior Strategist, OA & Scholarly Communication Initiatives, Lyrasis
  • Wolfgang Benedikt Schmal, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE), Heinrich-Heine-University

After an introduction by the chair, the panelists will each speak for 6-10 minutes, and then we will open it up to questions from the audience and have an extended discussion.

Panelist Key Takeaways and Slides 

Wolfgang Benedikt Schmal (Slides)

  • Academic journals can be considered as two-sided markets. This raises concerns regarding market power and monopolization tendencies if large firms become even larger
  • Our empirical research on the German DEAL contracts suggests that there is an increase in the likelihood that a paper from a researcher with German affiliation appears in a journal covered by the DEAL
  • Papers at the very bottom and the very top of the quality distribution do not benefit from the DEAL, while journals in the mid-range benefit a lot, which suggests – in line with theory – that the full open access feature of the DEAL contract together with the simple administration for researchers affects journals in this range the most.

Wilhelm Widmark (Slides)

  • Sweden is striving for 100% OA
  • You can´t do this with only transformative agreement
  • Consortia’s must negotiate agreements with pure open access publishers
  • Will there be any transition or a we stuck with the transitional agreements?
  • It’s time to have an international discussion about what will happen after the transition and when will it happen

Sharla Lair (Slides)

  • Establish principles and values as well as mechanisms and tools for operationalizing them
  • Invest in your mission FIRST
  • Diversify and balance your investments
  • Look for opportunities to invest in publishers that align with your mission
  • Consider creating a budget line specifically for investing in new OA programs that create opportunities for more diverse authorship and readership
    – In particular, invest in programs that are Academic-led, Scholar-led, Diamond OA, Collective/Collaborative Funding, Membership, Subscribe to Open, Native/Pure OA

Panelist Biographies

Jennifer Gibson (Chair) (@jmclenna)

Jen joined Dryad as Executive Director in October 2021. Since 2005, she has worked with scientists, funders, publishers, libraries, developers and others to explore fresh paths toward accelerating discovery through open research communication and open-technology innovation. Prior to Dryad, Jennifer was Head of Open Research Communication for eLife, a non-profit and research funder-backed initiative to transform science publishing. She is Chair of the Board of Directors for OASPA (2020-2022) and a former member of the board for FORCE11 (2018-2020). 

Wilhelm Widmark (@wilhwid)

Wilhelm Widmark is the Library Director of Stockholm University since 2012 and Senior Adviser for Open Science to the President. He has a Master of Arts in literature and a Master of Arts in Library and information science from Uppsala University. Wilhelm is active in the Open Science movement in Sweden and Europe. He is the Vice-Chairman of the Swedish Bibsam consortia and a member of the Swedish Rectors conferences Open Science group. He is also a member of EUAs Expert Group on Open Science and since December one of the Directors of EOSC Association.

Sharla Lair (@liblalair)

Sharla Lair serves as a Senior Strategist of Open Access and Scholarly Communication Initiatives at LYRASIS, a non-profit, membership organization that serves libraries, museums, and archives. Sharla obtained a Master of Science in Library and Information Studies and a Master of Science in Geography from The Florida State University. Her professional passions fall under the broad umbrella of scholarly communication. She is particularly interested in exploring how to facilitate community building around and the sustainability of scholarly publishing.

Wolfgang Benedikt Schmal (@schmal_w)

W. Benedikt Schmal is a Doctoral Researcher at Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf. He obtained a Bachelor degree in Business Administration at WelfenAkademie Brunswick (Germany) as well as a Bachelor degree in Economics at Free University of Berlin and an MSc in Quantitative Economics from University College Dublin. His research interests lie in applied microeconomics and competition economics. He applies both empirical methods as well as theory. In the field of academic publishing, he recently published economic research on the German Publish and Read agreement “DEAL” between Springer Nature, Wiley and all German research institutions.

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