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.


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 a large number of 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


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