The STM publishing landscape is rapidly changing. Many scholarly publishers are transitioning to Open Access publishing by signing ‘transformative agreements’ with academic institutions that would previously purchase traditional journal subscriptions. To create, evaluate and negotiate those agreements, all players in the discussion need access to high-quality historical data with trend analysis functionality built-in. 

In this article, we will show you how Dimensions Analytics is supporting transformative discussions. The content in this article is taken from the webinar Using Dimensions Publications and Grants Data to Validate Transformative Agreements.

Introducing Dimensions Analytics

Dimensions is an interlinked database pulling together many large and disparate data sources into one single platform. Those sources of information include publications, grants, datasets, patents, clinical trials and policy documents. Users can explore the data in Dimensions to find links and connections to identify and analyze the broad impact of research; from the initial funding all the way through to potential citations in other publications, or even usage patterns from clinical trials and policy documents, as well as different types of metrics including Altmetrics. Dimensions Analytics provides a simple way to interact with the data and perform complex analyses using visualizations. 

“Transformative Agreements” explained

The term ‘transformative agreement’ is a catch-all term used to describe a contract between a publisher/agent and an institution/library/consortia. It includes commercial and practical terms in moving towards more openly accessible publications instead of traditional subscription-based models. Other names for these kinds of contracts are “transitional agreements”, “read & publish” agreements or “publish & read” agreements and “country-wide deals”. However these agreements are referred to, they are viewed differently among the community. For some, these agreements are seen as temporary or makeshift agreements that won’t stick around for long. In contrast, others feel they are delaying the inevitable: an evolution to a fully Open Access research publishing environment.

The secret to success

For a ‘transformative agreement’ to come to fruition, there is one essential ingredient: transparency. Everyone involved in a ‘transformative agreement’ discussion needs transparency in terms of access to and visibility within the data that underpins each agreement. This data includes, for example, the number of publications and citations, as well as the resulting patents, clinical trials, policy documents etc. that are all connected to the institution or consortia. Dimensions Analytics data provides transparency to all participants in the negotiation of ‘transformative agreements’.  Let’s review some examples of how Dimensions Analytics does this…

Case Example: Harvard University, Biochemistry & Cell Biology

Total Publication Output

When beginning a negotiation for a ‘transformative agreement’ both parties will want to understand the total output trends. In this case example, we are reviewing Harvard University and explicitly analysing the field of Biochemistry & Cell Biology. Within a couple of clicks, the analytical view shows the total publication output trend from Harvard researchers on this topic. This kind of data is critical in terms of predicting the expected publication output related to an institution. It is also possible to further slice the data across a set of keywords, terms, a specific collection of journals or even publishers.

Total Researcher Output

It is also possible to review in Dimensions Analytics which researchers are highly-productive in this field. Many users adopt this lens to find new reviewers, for example. And, by using the export function, this data can also be exported into Excel or a similar program, allowing users to cut and slice the data in a variety of other ways depending on their specific needs. 

Overall Impact Of The Research Output From A Single Institution

Drilling down further into the data, we can also see which journals Harvard researchers are publishing their work in. This helps to not only inform the ‘transformative agreement’ discussion but also to understand the overall Open Access publishing activity as well. Within this analytical view, it is also possible to access the citation information, together with alternatives like Field-Weighted Citation Impact or Altmetric data. 

Case Example: Regional Analyses, Biochemistry & Cell Biology

Looking at Consortia 

Some ‘transformative agreements’ will not be institutional-based discussions but cover geographic regions instead. Dimensions Analytics can cater for this by looking at a geographical region within the same topic (in this case, Biochemistry & Cell Biology). It is possible to look at the aggregated volume across a selection of institutions (for instance UK and Europe-based institutions or a specific country). This view specifically supports the country-wide deal discussions and agreements.

Open Access & Consortia 

For many consortia agreements, Open Access publishing is an integral part of the discussion. In Dimensions Analytics, we can drill down to review the Open Access publishing trends within the UK and Europe for the same subject area. Now we can begin to view trends over time across various different Open Access publishing models. Dimensions Analytics uses a specific set of descriptions per Open Access model, to learn more about the categorization we use, please read our blog: Analyze the impact of the rising Open Access movement on your organization.

Publication Heat Maps

Another way to quickly assess subject area publication data is to use a heat map. Heat maps are perfect for highlighting how Dimensions Analytics categorizes data at the publication level. Users can quickly understand which journals are heavily active in which subject area. The heat map can also be limited to Open Access journals only, helping to provide an alternative landscape view of the activity of different journals within a field. 

Assessing Funding Data

Looking at the funding data in Dimensions Analytics, we see which funders are most heavily active within a topic area. We can also see who funded the research that has been published. This is an insightful way of understanding if funding bodies are taking part in any agreements like Plan S or if they must adhere to similar funding mandates. Ultimately, this is useful to understand how much publication activity is funded by which individual funding body or organization.

Connecting A Funder To Publications

When reviewing an individual funder, for example, DFG from Germany, we can see their unique history of Open Access publication output. As much as is possible with the data provided, Dimensions Analytics will connect the research funding to the resulting publications. This means that users can do an analysis on the funding to determine what types of funding have powered the publications from a particular region, country, institute or researcher. Now it is possible to assess which trends can be seen and which trends can be predicted in terms of a movement towards or away from Open Access publishing, for example.

Are you interested in learning how Dimensions Analytics can benefit your organization? Please contact us via and we’ll be in touch soon.