Big Deals

For nearly three decades academic libraries have licensed much of their journal content in the form of large bundles or ‘Big Deals’ from each of the major academic publishers. The Open Access (OA) movement however is changing academic publishing and so Big Deals are changing too, resulting in agreements of increasing complexity that also offer authors OA publishing at no additional cost to themselves. These are commonly known as Transitional Agreements.

Library Services are constantly reviewing/negotiating these agreements and this page will present key information about negotiations where we have identified a risk to future access or publishing.


3 April 2024

We are pleased to announce we have access to SCOAP3 (the Sponsoring Consortium for Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics) for 2024 using some of our block grant funding.

In contrast to other Open Access models where libraries, authors or agencies pay a fee for each article, in SCOAP3, participating publishers have a single contract with CERN that centrally pays article processing charges (APCs) for the publication services provided. The publishers in turn eliminate or reduce subscription costs to all customers. The SCOAP3 partners redirect the funds previously used to pay the subscriptions into a common pool, which is then used for the central APC payments. This ensures efficient operations and allows to competitively set an APC level, while primarily using funds already available in the publication system (FAQs – SCOAP3). This is an innovative OA publishing model and one we are pleased to support.

A full list of accessible journals and books are available on the SCOAP3website.

5 March 2024

Following on from February’s OA update covering Religious Minorities Online, we are pleased to introduce some OA journals published by Brill covering Religion, History, Literature and Medicine. These five titles cover a wide range of scholarly articles appealing to a wide range of academic study. As a publisher Brill have very useful content on their webpages, including information about spotting predatory publishers. The titles in this deal are listed below, and if you have any thoughts or comments on them please contact your Engagement Advisor

5 February 2024

This month in Open Access news we are highlighting our access to Religious Minorities Online, an Open Access database published by De Gruyter which is dedicated to scholarly, peer-reviewed, research about religious minorities. Each article covers key themes in the study of religious minorities, looking at specific countries and regions as well as specific religious communities and the challenges they face. We also have a publishing agreement with De Gruyter that has expanded in 2024 to cover a wider range of hybrid and fully OA journals. You can search for these journals on Scifree or see our agreements.

11 January 2024

Subscribe to Open (S2O) agreements are a relatively new model in the world of Open Access. Under this agreement, if enough institutions subscribe, new volumes are published open access under a Creative Commons licence. If support is insufficient, the paywall is retained. As part of our dedicated to supporting OA initiatives we currently have an S2O subscription agreement with Berghahn Open Anthro which gives us, and the rest of the world, access to a selection of their hybrid journals supporting Arts and Social Science subjects. We encourage academics to explore the journals on offer, and let us know if you have any thoughts about this model.

5 December 2023

Open Access publishing options can be confusing but Library Services are working to make this process easier. We have signed up to many publisher agreements that cover open access publishing charges for University of Birmingham authors, and we now have a journal search tool to help you easily check whether a specific title is covered. SciFree allows University of Birmingham academics to check whether a journal allows them to publish open access for no additional cost, and what the next steps are.

If you want, or are required, to publish your research in an OA format then search for the journal title in SciFree. If your title is listed, select the 'Who pays' icon for eligibility and further instructions. If your title is not found, you may still be able to publish open access, so please see our publishing open access information for your options.

Significant ongoing negotiation

If there is a new transitional agreement that you think we should consider, please let us know why at


Professional Services