What are Transformative Journals?

Transformative Journals proactively champion Open Access publishing and have Open Access growth targets. By providing a transition period, the Transformative Journal model acknowledges that not all of our authors are ready for Open Access (which requires support from their funders and institutions) and ensures that every author in our community can continue to publish with us.

How are Transformative Journals different from hybrid journals?

As hybrid journals, Development, Journal of Cell Science and Journal of Experimental Biology already offered Open Access publishing options.

As Transformative Journals they will continue and extend their Open Access support by:

  • gradually increasing the share of Open Access research content year on year
  • promoting the benefits of Open Access publishing
  • providing transparent metrics for published articles
  • providing comparative metrics for Open Access articles compared with subscription content
  • providing greater transparency on the services covered by the article processing charge (APC)
  • offering ‘transformative’ Read & Publish agreements to libraries/consortia
  • continuing to offset subscription revenue to avoid ‘double dipping’

What does this mean for authors?

Authors will still have the same three routes to publication as we transition towards Open Access:

Free publication (not Open Access)

With this option, the author pays nothing at all. The article is available to our subscribers for six months and is then freely available to everyone after this time.

This option might appeal to authors whose funders and institutions do not mandate Open Access and authors who do not want to choose Open Access or pay an Open Access fee. This option could be important given the financial challenges within the university sector.

Open Access (author pays)

The author will pay an article processing charge (APC) to publish their article Open Access. Articles will be published under a CCBY licence and will be available to everyone immediately upon publication.

This option will appeal to authors whose funders or institutions mandate Open Access or to authors who prefer to publish Open Access.

Read & Publish agreements

The third option is for authors whose institutions have taken up one of our Read & Publish agreements. These cost-neutral agreements, agreed with librarians, provide unlimited access to all of our content and allow corresponding authors from that institution unlimited APC-free Open Access publication for research articles. These agreements therefore support institutions and authors working to meet funding requirements and to make Open Access the default publishing choice.

Is this Plan S compliant?

Yes, our commitment to the Transformative Journal approach makes us Plan S compliant, which supports those of our authors with cOAlition S funding. By continuing to offer authors choices, we ensure that we support our whole author community whatever their funder and financial status. We anticipate the proportion of authors selecting Open Access will grow year on year, with the support of their funders and institutions.

What is the timeline for transformation?

Development, Journal of Cell Science and Journal of Experimental Biology aim to:

  • grow the proportion of Open Access research content by 5% year on year (or 15% in relative terms) over the transition period 2021—2024. This will require the support of funders and institutions as we promote Open Access publishing to their authors.
  • transition to full Open Access when the journals reach 75% Open Access research content. Journals could transition earlier with the support of the journal communities. Financial support from cOAlition S funders for hybrid journals ends on 31 December 2024.
  • report annually on our transformational journey. Our Open Access growth targets are challenging and require real changes in the marketplace such as funder mandates (including financial support for Open Access) and more libraries/consortia taking up our Read & Publish deals. We will monitor our progress on this Open Access journey closely and will openly report on it, ensuring we work together with stakeholders to maximise the chances of success.

We call for authors, funders and librarians to join us on our Open Access journey.

Frequently asked questions

Our progress

For 2023 we have again exceeded our targets. We will keep the community informed on our progress via this webpage, the journals and other communication channels.

Read & Publish agreements

Learn more about our Read & Publish Open Access initiative, which supports our Transformative Journal approach.

Transparency requirements

As Transformative Journals, we are providing more transparency around pricing and publishing metrics in line with the Plan S Price and Transparency Framework developed by Information Power.

Find out more on our journal pages.

Fair pricing policy

We review our subscription pricing policy annually to ensure that our customers do not pay twice for access to this content via article processing charges (APCs) and subscription fees – also known as “double dipping”.

Democratising access to research – our long-standing commitment to Open Access publishing

Updated 18 October 2023

The scholarly communication landscape has changed profoundly over the past two decades, with a profusion of new publishing and subscription models from commercial and not-for-profit publishers. The increasing importance of Open Access (OA) – making research immediately and freely available to all – has presented challenges as well as opportunities for libraries, funding organisations, publishers and researchers alike.

Visit our journal websites

Development Journal of Cell Science The Journal of Experimental Biology Disease Models & Mechanisms Biology Open

© 2024 The Company of Biologists Ltd | Registered Charity 277992
Registered in England and Wales | Company Limited by Guarantee No 514735
Registered office: Bidder Building, Station Road, Histon, Cambridge CB24 9LF, UK