International principles, guidelines & best practices

Many countries have set up open access policies and mandates over the past years. To put political strategies into practice, consortia around the world have started to negotiate transformative open access agreements replacing their former subscription licenses. Principles, guidelines, checklists, and recommendations have been developed locally and in cooperation with ESAC to guide the negotiations and implementation. This overview collects the ressources available in order to support the library and consortia community in developing common principles as well as implementation standards.


LIBER Five Principles for Negotiations with Publishers

LIBER, Europe’s leading association of research libraries, set up Five Principles for libraries to use when conducting Open Access negotiations with publishers:


Nordic Countries – Nordic consortia open access commitments

Consortia from Europe’s nordic countries Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, and Iceland have developed a joint checklist intended for the use of consortium or library staff negotiating open access agreements with publishers addressing the following principles:


Southern European Libraries Link (SELL) – Statement

In May 2018, consortia from Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Turkey, and Israel, members of the SELL group, reiterate their full support to open access and their commitment to speed up the transition.  Sharing the analysis that “there is currently enough money in the (publishing) system” and that the money spent on subscriptions is now to be considered as an investment to support open access, SELL consortia agree on the following principles:


The Netherlands – Five Pillars of Open Access

The Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU) developed a strategy comprising five pillars of open access. Negotiations with publishers on open access agreements is one key element of the five-pillars-strategy. As a principle, the Dutch universities want to transform their former subscription contracts to open access agreements at no extra costs.

Read more about the Dutch five pillars of open access

The Netherlands – UKB Checklist Big Deals and Open Access clauses

In March 2017, UKB working group launched a checklist putting together requirements and clauses for open access agreements.

Download the checklist here


USA – California Call to Action

On June 2018, the University of California’s Systemwide Library and Scholarly Information Advisory Committee (SLASIAC) issued a Call to Action in which they announced their intent to embark on a new phase of activity in journal negotiations focused on open access to research.


UK – JISC Collection’s requirements for transformative Open Access agreements

UK academic institutions and sector agencies, working alongside Jisc Collections, have established the requirements for 2019 which set out the measures required to accelerate open access in the UK:


Switzerland – Negotiating strategy of swissuniversities

Switzerland’s rectors’ conference of higher education institutions, swissuniversities, are revising the national contracts on access to academic journals with the major publishers Springer Nature, Wiley and Elsevier to include open access components. The negotiating strategy is based on an approach already used in numerous other European countries, e.g. Germany, and corresponds to the general principles of the European network LIBER. The strategy foresees that Switzerland expressly heeds its demands regarding licensing to achieve appropriate, transparent pricing for access to academic information and greater accessibility to publications in accordance with the open access standard.


Austria – Recommendations for the Transition to Open Access in Austria

In 2016, an expert Group “National Strategy” of the Open Access Network Austria (OANA) and Universities Austria (uniko) published 16 recommendations designed to bring open access to a large part of all scholarly publication activity in Austria by 2025. Regarding the negotiation of publisher agreements, the recommendations state:


Germany – Project DEAL

The goal of Project DEAL is to conclude nationwide licensing agreements for the entire portfolio of electronic journals (E-journals) from major academic publishers. The underlying principles of the agreements to be negotiated are adequate pricing (within the range of the current spending level) and open access to the German article output (CC-BY).

Read more about project DEAL


Germany – Positions on creating an Open Access publication market which is scholarly adequate

In 2015, a working group of the German Alliance of Science Oarganisations published a position paper aiming at improving transparency and sustainability in the field of scholarly publishing and its transition to open access. It is directed at scholarly institutions dealing with aspects of Open Access publishing, and bundles and evaluates the requirements for contracts based on the publication cost model. .

Read the full position paper