Cambridge University Press Aims for Full Open Access by 2025

In News by Porter Anderson

Cambridge University Press reports that 400 of its journals offer open-access options to publishers; 66 with fully open access and 340 hybrid.

From the Cambridge Companions collection at Cambridge Core. Image: Cambridge University Press

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Hill: ‘A Sustainable Route’
In England, Cambridge University Press has announced that it’s passed the halfway point in publishing research articles in open access.

It passed the 50-percent threshold in 2022, with some 10,000 articles being “fully open,” and now has a goal of seeing “the vast majority of its research papers published fully open access by 2025.”

Cambridge reports that its open-access articles that are available online through its Cambridge Core platform attract “about 3.5 times more full-text views and, on average, 1.6 times more citations” over more traditional models in which readers or their institutions pay to access such content.

As many of our Publishing Perspectives readers know, Cambridge characterizes itself as the world’s oldest academic press, and in this most recent media messaging says that its transformative agreements now cover more than 2,000 institutions, to enable researchers at those universities and research institutes to publish open research at no additional cost.

Our trade publishing readers, of course, may not follow the academic publishing industry’s near-daily announcements of new transformative agreements and might be helped to recall  that a “transformative agreement” is a tool used in large-scale contracts to evolve operating and economic models toward open-access frameworks. Transformative agreement announcements are now used by many presses as a key currency in their competition with each other for press coverage.

Transformative agreements are made between publishers and institutions such as libraries and universities to “transform” how content is paid for, specifically transitioning from subscription-based business models to open access. Scholarly Kitchen has a thorough explanation of transformative agreements here.

In its latest commentary, Cambridge makes the interesting point that its success with in the open-access arena is particularly of note because some 60 percent of its research publications are in the areas of humanities and social sciences. These are understood as fields in which research funding typically has been less available than in other sectors, meaning that open-access research and publication have tended to be less well supported by financial backers.

More than 400 Cambridge journals, the company reports, now offer open-access options to publishers, 66 of them with fully open access and 340 in a hybrid stance.

Mandy Hill

In a prepared statement, Mandy Hill, the managing director for academic work at Cambridge University Press and Assessment, is quoted, saying, “Two years ago, we set a bold ambition to transition our research publishing to open access by 2025, and this is a major milestone toward that goal. As an academic publisher, we’re committed to maximizing the dissemination and impact of high-quality research. Open access is a sustainable route to support that mission.

“That’s why we won’t stop at half of our journal papers being open access. We’re working to make the vast majority of such research fully open by 2025.

“Transformative agreements have provided an important route toward open access for authors, irrespective of their funding. We’re building on this momentum to explore a range of business models to take us beyond the transformative agreement and establish innovations to ensure the world’s academics, students, and citizens can enjoy open access in a sustainable manner.”

Cambridge’s media messaging says that in the United States, it has signed more than 300 agreements in the past two years, while developing its Cambridge Open Engage platform.

The company reports that in addition to its journal articles, Cambridge is “experimenting with new models to publish open research monographs,” and one is the Cambridge Core offering called “Flip It Open.”


More from Publishing Perspectives on Cambridge University Press is here, more from us on the British market is here, more on university presses is here, more on academic and scholarly publishing is here, and more on digital publishing is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.