Scholarly Publishing and Open Access blog

The latest news and answers to your questions about scholarly publishing and open access.

Transformative agreements come to SFU

Published by Alison Moore

SFU Library is proud to announce our first two transformative agreements with scholarly publishers. As a member of the Canadian Research Knowledge Network (CRKN), SFU has recently signed agreements with SAGE Publishing and the Public Library of Science (PLOS) that open a new way to publish open access to SFU authors.

What is a transformative agreement?

Transformative agreements are contracts between research institutions and publishers that “seeks to shift the contracted payment from a library or group of libraries to a publisher away from subscription-based reading and towards open access publishing” (Hinchliffe, 2020). The details can vary but a common form of transformative agreements are Read and Publish agreements.

In a Read and Publish agreement, the institution pays the publisher a set amount that allows their researchers to both read existing content and publish future work from that institution open access. This increases the amount of scholarly work that is available open access, to everyone. 

Transformative agreements offer additional avenues to researchers to make their work open access. This helps authors comply with Open Access policies such as the SFU Open Access Policy or the Tri-Agencies policies. Research has shown that open access articles receive on average higher citation counts, compared to articles which require a subscription to read (Ottaviani, 2016; Piwowar et al., 2018). 

Read More: The benefits of Open Access

SFU and transformative agreements

In February, the Canadian Research Knowledge Network (CRKN) announced their transformative agreement with SAGE Publishing.  As a member of CRKN, SFU Library joined this agreement. As such, SFU researchers will gain access to read all SAGE journals from 1999 on and be able to publish their articles as open access with no Article Processing Charges (APCs) in over 900 SAGE Choice journals.

SFU has also joined PLOS’s Community Action Publishing agreement, which applies to two of their journals: PLOS Medicine and PLOS Biology. These are two highly-selective open access journals with correspondingly high article processing charges. SFU authors can now publish in these two journals at no additional cost.

Read more: Funding for open access publishing

Both of these agreements help SFU authors publish open access more easily and contribute to making SFU research accessible to readers worldwide.


Hinchliffe, L. J. (2020, February 6). Revisiting — Transformative Agreements: A Primer. The Scholarly Kitchen.

Ottaviani, J. (2016). The Post-Embargo Open Access Citation Advantage: It Exists (Probably), It’s Modest (Usually), and the Rich Get Richer (of Course). PLOS ONE, 11(8), e0159614.

Piwowar, H., Priem, J., Larivière, V., Alperin, J. P., Matthias, L., Norlander, B., Farley, A., West, J., & Haustein, S. (2018). The state of OA: A large-scale analysis of the prevalence and impact of Open Access articles. PeerJ, 6, e4375.

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