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Transformative options supporting open access 


The Biochemical Society and Portland Press are transitioning towards open access (OA), and released this joint position statement on open scholarship in October 2019. 

To support and accelerate a transition to OA, we are offering pilot deals to several hundred institutional subscribers through Read & Publish alternatives to regular subscriptions (i.e., transformative renewals) facing individual institutions and via ‘transformative’ agreements signed with consortia. More information is available about our transformative renewals and our transformative agreements with CAUL and Jisc

These transformative Read & Publish offerings are pilot programmes providing researchers with frictionless OA: accepted articles from authors will be published OA by default without article-level, author-facing invoices.
Below is a list of institutions that have signed up to one of our ‘transformative’ Read & Publish routes, meaning that: 


  • Corresponding authors from ‘transformative’ institutions can publish their papers as Gold OA articles in all seven Portland Press journals without needing to pay any article publishing charges (APCs). 

  • Unlimited Gold-OA publishing is wrapped into the Read & Publish pricing covered by the institution. 


Read & Publish institutions 2020 


A number of institutions have signed up to our ‘transformative’ Read & Publish pilots. A full list can be found here > 

Read & Publish with Portland Press: Frequently Asked Questions


1. Will authors be able to opt out if they choose NOT to have their article published OA?
Yes – Article workflows will give authors the chance to let the editorial team know if they wish to opt OUT of automatic, APC-free OA offered under a Read & Publish deal with any institution. 


2. What license are the OA papers published under?
Articles published under our Read & Publish deals will be covered by a Creative Commons license – in most cases the corresponding author may choose between CC BY or CC-BY-NC-ND licenses; if the institution is based in the UK and is subscribing as a member of Jisc then a mandatory CC BY licence will apply.


3. What about Plan S compliance?
The Portland Press Read & Publish offerings are ‘transformative’ in nature and allow a Plan S compliant route for corresponding authors affiliated with the above list of institutions. Plan S compliance for corresponding authors at the institutions listed above is therefore assured (at least until the end of 2024). 


The Biochemical Society/Portland Press Read & Publish offerings are also in compliance with current MRC, UKRI and Wellcome policies on OA, as well as remaining compliant with NIH, HHMI, COAF policies and dozens of other funder policies from around the world. 


4. How many papers can be published on an APC-free basis by each author and/or each subscribing institution taking up a Read & Publish deal?
As pilot offerings for 2020, the Read & Publish offerings are ‘all-inclusive’ in nature, meaning 
an unlimited number of papers can be published OA on an APC-free basis under Portland Press’ Read & Publish offerings.


5. Which journals does this offering apply to?
These Read & Publish pilots are ‘all-inclusive’ meaning that APC-free OA publication can take place in all seven Portland Press journals:


Research journals:

Biochemical Journal
Clinical Science
Neuronal Signaling*
Bioscience Reports*

*These are fully OA journals where every paper is published via the Gold OA route. There is, therefore, no option for authors to opt out of OA publishing; however, the papers will be published OA without requirement for payment of any APCs if the article is eligible for OA under a Read & Publish deal.

Review journals:

Biochemical Society Transactions
Essays in Biochemistry
Emerging Topics in Life Sciences 


6. Why are these deals being described as ‘transformative’? 
Evolving the business model: The initiative for Efficiency and Standards in Article Charges (ESAC) broadly defines transformative agreements as “temporary and transitional” contracts negotiated between institutions and publishers “that transform the business model underlying scholarly journals from subscription to open access”. In practice, there is variation in how such agreements are interpreted by research funders and other bodies such as cOAlition S and Jisc, and variation in the offerings under these agreements from different publishers. 


Sustainable rewiring in support of OA: All articles in our journals that are submitted by corresponding authors based at Read & Publish institutions will ‘flip’ to OA. Therefore, with increasing uptake of the Portland Press transformative offerings described here, we expect to be able to publish a higher proportion of OA content in the Biochemical Society journals. This could lead to a transition away from the paywalled model in a way that rewires existing subscription spend and is sustainable for our institutional partners and us. 


Easy, charge-free OA for researchers: This Read & Publish approach is also transformative in that, depending on institutional uptake, it makes OA publishing easier and hassle free for authors and ensures that ability to publish OA is not linked to an individual researcher’s ability to pay for OA.


7. Why are these offerings badged as ‘pilots’?

The Biochemical Society and Portland Press are working to a joint strategy for 2019 – 2021 announced in July 2019. As part of this, Portland Press is scoping a transition of business models in support of a more open future and is trialling these transformative Read & Publish offerings for the first time with the aim of rewiring current income from institutional subscriptions in favour of OA publishing. 



Our Read & Publish offerings are ‘all-inclusive’ pilots. All-inclusive in that an unlimited number of OA articles can be published under the deals across all seven Portland Press journals, including Portland Press’ two full-OA journals. These offerings, given their all-inclusive nature, are not industry standard, and represent early steps with a new and transformative model. We hope and expect to evolve the model based on an initial run of these pilots to the end of 2022. 


8. How will researchers/authors know about eligibility?
Articles submitted to any of the seven Portland Press journals will be checked and corresponding authors at qualifying institutions (per the above list) will be notified of their article’s eligibility under a live Read & Publish agreement between Portland Press and the relevant institution. 


9. What determines eligibility of an article to be published OA without APCs?
Eligibility for OA under a Read & Publish deal is dependent on affiliation of the corresponding author at the time of manuscript acceptance. 
Upon acceptance the editorial team will check to confirm affiliation of the corresponding author to an institution on the above list. If eligible, an email will be sent to the researcher (corresponding author) to confirm that the manuscript will be published OA (without any requirement for APCs/charges) under a live Read & Publish agreement between Portland Press and the relevant institution.


10. What about co-authors / other authors (as opposed to corresponding authors) based at Read & Publish institutions?
At this stage and as a pilot offering, it has not been possible to include all authors as eligible authors in these Read & Publish deals and eligibility is restricted to affiliated corresponding authors. We are currently unable to widen our 2020 pilot offerings to co-authors. Validating eligibility based on corresponding authors is in alignment with other available ‘Read and Publish’ / ‘Publish and Read’ offerings and currently remains the most viable solution for a global, harmonized approach to transformative agreements. 


11. What about the peer review process?
OA publication will in all cases remain subject to the article clearing peer review and being deemed acceptable for publication as per the Portland Press editorial policy and peer review process. Portland Press therefore reserves the right to reject (not to publish) articles from corresponding authors based at institutions taking a Read & Publish deal. 


12. Why is Portland Press offering these Read & Publish deals in the first place?
See this article exploring the Biochemical Society’s commitment to having its journals (that are published by Portland Press) transition towards OA.  


13. Can institutions take up a Read & Publish deal via a subscription agent?
Yes – ‘transformative’ Read & Publish renewal options were surfaced to existing subscribers in partnership with subscription agents such as EBSCO. Institutions can choose to come direct or take up these deals via any subscription agent of their choice. Please write to open@biochemistry.org if you need more information.


14. How will an institution know about the level of APC-free OA publishing under a Read & Publish deal?
An annual report of articles published under our Read & Publish deals will be sent to subscribing institutions.


If you have further questions, please write to open@biochemistry.org. If you are currently a subscribing institution OR an author with a manuscript in process, it would be helpful to know this, along with the manuscript ID number if relevant.

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