In an academic world transitioning from “paying for reading” to “paying for publishing” (and not both), it makes sense to sign agreements with publishers to “offset” the publishing costs against reading costs to prevent total costs from sky rocketing.
The article processing charges (APC) associated with Open Access publishing have traditionally been paid by individual researchers, without transparency and beyond the control of their institutions. Through the Bibsam Consortium Swedish institutions can sign offsetting agreements with publishers in attempts to centralize and thus gain control of publishing costs. Such agreements provide a foundation for supporting Open Access publishing in Sweden, increases efficiency (less administrative work for researchers), and create leverage in negotiating and lowering the overall costs for publishing Swedish research.
An evaluation group currently evaluates two offsetting agreements with respects to their effects on economy, administration, researcher attitudes and research dissemination. The first agreement is Springer Compact (running from July 2016 to December 2018). The second is Institute of Physics (running from January 2017 to December 2019).