May 26, 2022

Report From Germany: “A Smooth Transition From Subscriptions to APCs”


The strategic goal of the National Contact Point Open Access OA2020-DE is to create requirements for the large-scale open access transformation in accordance with the Alliance of Science Organisations in Germany. This also includes analysing existing transformation approaches and formulating changes or adjustments that make sense from our perspective. This is also the reason why we see the need for a more realistic transformation model in the journal sector, because existing models as Publish & Read and Read & Publish do not best serve the needs of libraries and publishers in transforming their acquisition budgets and revenues, respectively, from subscriptions to APCs.

  • For P&R agreements to transform the scholarly journals successfully to open access, huge coordination efforts, a massive and instantaneous re-allocation of funds, or permanently large additional funds are necessary. Moreover, publishers will not offer P&R agreements to individual libraries or loose consortia with liberal opt-in or opt-out regulations.
  • With R&P agreements, the open-access transformation will stuck at low OA shares. To progress further, a switch to the P&R model would be necessary with its own obstacles.

Therefore, we see the need for a new transformative model that facilitates the switch from a pure R&P to a pure P&R model by lowering coordination costs, avoiding disruptive workflow and cost adjustments, and putting less pressure on timing. To support the arguments of this, we run a simulation on a global model. Please note: The model presented here is a proposal and approach that should help to identify and describe possible paths for the open access transformation. Indeed, the R&P model and the P&R model can be regarded as corner solutions of this.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.