What is in the Transfer Code of Practice?
Who should read the Code?
How does it assist in the 'transfer' process?
How do publishers benefit?
How can a publisher endorse Transfer?
How can a publisher without a lot of resources get started?
What are the benefits for a publisher that typically transfers and does not receive?
How can societies benefit from Transfer?
How do librarians benefit?
On the Transfer Alerting Service (TAS), you can find:
How can I receive information about transfers?
How does a receiving publisher report transfers?
How frequently is the Code revised?
What changes were made in the most recent version of the Code?
How are stakeholders represented on the Standing Committee?
What is the relationship between Transfer and platform changes?
1. What is in the Transfer Code of Practice?
The Transfer Code of Practice is a NISO recommended practice to ensure continuing access to journals when titles transfer from one publisher to another. Publishers who sign on to endorse and follow the recommended practice are considered Transfer compliant. The Code includes:
- Transferring publisher responsibilities
- Receiving publisher responsibilities
- Details on how to communicate and transfer
- Digital assets
- Access rights (such as subscriber lists)
- Usage data
- Perpetual access arrangements
- ISSN/DOI information
The Code was created and is continuously improved by representatives from key stakeholders involved in journal transfers, and is a practical and concise set of instructions for publishers. It prefers clear responsibilities and communications over being prescriptive.
2. Who should read the Code?
While publishers are asked to endorse and follow the Code, librarians, owning societies, and other third parties are strongly encouraged to read it. This enables an understanding of what they can/should expect to hold publishers to account for over a transition; and they may also potentially want to include a reference to compliance with the Code in their publisher agreements.
3. How does it assist in the 'transfer' process?
By covering best practice guidelines for publishers to follow, the Code helps them to ensure that key activities are addressed effectively and consistently. This helps both smaller publishers – which may have few transfer scenarios – and larger publishers which require regular processes to set-up at scale. For publishers of any size, having a clear description of roles and responsibilities between the transferring and receiving party is key. For librarians this should mean a smoother transfer process with continuing access to digital resources. For societies it provides reassurance that practical considerations over a transfer can be handled effectively.
4. How do publishers benefit?
Compliance makes it clear that a publisher takes their responsibilities to customers and readers seriously, that they understand the challenges involved in ensuring these are addressed effectively over a transfer, and that they are ready and willing to follow best practice processes relating to this. When the receiving publisher endorses the code, details about the transfer will be shared through the Transfer Alerting Service (previously known as the Enhanced Transfer Alerting Service, or ETAS). In a transfer between two endorsing publishers, there is the reassurance that both parties will follow these best practices.
5. How can a publisher endorse Transfer?
It is straightforward to endorse the Transfer Code – publishers simply need to contact the Transfer Standing Committee Co-Chairs and commit to abide by the principles and practice of the Transfer Code wherever possible when transferring or receiving a journal. They provide a named contact (who can answer queries during a transfer process) to be added to the list of endorsing publishers, and are set up with access to the ISSN Portal . They are given the credentials and process to report title transfers that are posted to the Transfer Alerting Service. This only requires a small investment of staff time.
6. How can a publisher without a lot of resources get started?
While concise, the Transfer Code may appear daunting, especially for smaller publishers. If you look closely, however, you will find that the requirements follow best industry practices. Publishers are likely doing these things already or aspiring to meet these guidelines. Please consult the list of Transfer endorsing publishers, as you may find an organization very much like your own that might be able to offer guidance. You can also contact the Transfer Standing Committee co-chairs.
7. What are the benefits for a publisher that typically transfers and does not receive?
With the fluidity in the publishing space, a transferring publisher can easily become a receiving publisher. If you look at your publication history, you may find that you do indeed receive publications. Transfer compliance benefits our entire ecosystem, supporting libraries and the researchers that depend upon them. The requirements of the Transfer Code align with best practices which are probably already in place. Experiencing a title transferring out may not be the most pleasant development, but adherence to the Transfer Code can save valuable staff time in responding to library or researcher questions. It’s also important for author relationships.
8. How can societies benefit from Transfer?
Societies that are going out to tender can be assured that a Transfer endorsing receiving publisher will complete the transfer process smoothly without concern that library access will be interrupted or that the manuscript submission and production process will be delayed. If a society is considering transferring a journal to a non-compliant publisher, raising the issue of Transfer compliance as early as possible in the discussion is an excellent way of ensuring an efficient transfer process.
9. How do librarians benefit?
Librarians benefit from Transfer Code because compliant publishers will communicate details about transferring titles and protect libraries’ perpetual access rights. Transfer information will be published on the Transfer Alerting Service, e.g. receiving publisher, effective date of the transfer, perpetual access details and new URL.
Librarians can ask publishers if they are Transfer compliant and request acknowledgment of this in contracts. If a librarian discovers a publisher is not aware of the Code, they can direct them to the NISO Transfer site, the Transfer Alerting Service site, or alert a member of the Standing Committee. When the Committee approaches a publisher, it is a great help if they have already been informed of the benefits of Transfer by librarians.
10. On the Transfer Alerting Service (TAS), you can find:
- A database of journal transfers which can be searched or browsed. This allows librarians and other interested parties to access the details of journal transfers announced through the TAS and provides an archive of transfer information supplied by publishers using the service since 2013
- A list of titles that have gone through successive transfers
- A notification service available through an RSS feed or by signing-up to a dedicated mailing list. Librarians, information professionals, and other stakeholders are encouraged to sign up to the list. Every time a journal transfer is announced through the TAS, registrants receive email alerts detailing the journal(s) involved, bibliographic information, and contact details for the publishers involved
- An API which may be used by interested parties to query or integrate with the TAS
- Statistics on transfers and publishers
11. How can I receive information about transfers?
We encourage librarians and other stakeholders to sign up to the dedicated mailing list, RSS feed and the API provided by the Transfer Alerting Service (TAS). Publishers compliant with the Transfer Code and their contact details are signed on the ISSN Portal and made available on the NISO site list of endorsing publishers. TAS, the searchable database recording all Transfer information, is hosted by the ISSN International Centre and free to all.
12. How does a receiving publisher report transfers?
This slide deck and video explain how a receiving publisher can report a title transfer on the ISSN Portal.
13. How frequently is the Code revised?
Comments and suggestions are welcomed at any time and can be sent by email to one of the Transfer Standing Committee Co-Chairs, or any member of the Standing Committee. Following the release of version 4 (2019), the Standing Committee has instituted a three-year revision cycle. This allows time for the current version of the Transfer Code to have been used in practice, for suggestions to have been received, and for these to have been reviewed and incorporated, if appropriate, into the draft version in progress. The last 6 months leading up to the release of any subsequent version will entail a period of public comment on the proposed changes.
14. What changes were made in the most recent version of the Code?
Version 4 of the Transfer Code accommodated the changes in the industry and reflected developments in business models, terminology, and technology. These included:
- Specifying that open access content should be labeled by the transferring publisher and continue to be available as such with the receiving publisher
- Clarifying clauses to address concerns relating to link resolvers
- Clarifying points relating to pre-publication content, whether in submission systems or production
- Updating guidance on links and redirects
- Adding language regarding differentiation between current and former customers
15. How are stakeholders represented on the Standing Committee?
The Standing Committee is a group of publishers, librarians, standards organizations, and other third parties with a stake in journal transfers. The Standing Committee aims to maintain a good balance across the group, in particular between publishers and librarians. As part of this, the group is co-Chaired by a publisher representative and a librarian representative. The group meets every couple of months focussing on maintaining the Transfer Code, discussing any queries/issues raised, and looking for opportunities to promote and present Transfer.
16. What is the relationship between Transfer and platform changes?
When transfers of journals occur between publishers these normally involve a change of platform, and elements of the Transfer Code are applicable to informing service changes such as this. However, platform changes can also occur separately from the transfer of any titles. For example, publishers may change platforms as a development of their publishing services. Such platform changes are outside of Transfer’s scope. However, the Standing Committee is following developments of the NISO Content Platform Migrations Working Group towards a recommended practice relating to content platform migrations and considering opportunities for alignment with this.