Whether starting to develop your own open access strategy or assessing a publisher “read and publish” offer for the first time, adapting to the changes underway in the scholarly publishing landscape can be daunting. Luckily, clear signposts have emerged and, thanks to the excellent resources shared by the community, there is no need to re-invent the wheel.

The ESAC Reference Guide is the narrative manifestation of a mapping exercise conducted in Spring 2021 by members the international ESAC community that have accumulated deep, first-hand knowledge and expertise in the negotiation and implementation of transformative agreements with scholarly publishers. Threading together and contextualizing the many local guidelines, recommendations, toolkits, templates and data openly available, the reference guide serves as an authoritative and essential orientation for librarians and consortium staff just beginning to approach or looking to update their transformative agreement strategies based on the latest benchmarks.

The ESAC Reference Guide develops through the phases of preparing, negotiating and implementing an agreement, but libraries and library consortia each have their own unique starting points, and the steps they take in adopting transformative agreements will have local flavors.




As transformative agreements advance in driving the transition of scholarly publishing from the subscription paradigm to open access, the guide will be updated to reflect new benchmarks and practice.

Contact ESAC if you would like to suggest an addition or adjustment to the reference guide based on your own negotiation experiences.

The complete Reference Guide is available for download in PDF form.



ESAC wishes to thank the colleagues who contributed their time and expertise to the Spring 2021 mapping exercise, the output of which served as the basis for this Reference Guide:

Jens H. Aasheim, Sikt, Norway
Daniel Albertsson, SLU University Library, Sweden
Ádám Dér, Max Planck Digital Library, Germany
Helen Dobson, Jisc, UK
Tran Ha, California Digital Library, USA
Pernille Hammelsø, Royal Danish Library, Denmark
Najko Jahn, SUB Göttingen, Germany
Camilla Lindelöw, National Library of Sweden, Sweden
Lisa Lovén, National Library of Sweden, Sweden
Rita Pinhasi, Vienna University Library, Austria
Bernhard Schubert, Vienna University Library, Austria
Adriana Sikora, Max Planck Digital Library, Germany
Michael Svendsen, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Timo Vilén, FinELib, Finland
Mat Willmott, California Digital Library, USA

Read the project brief here.

Additional thanks go to Ellen Finnie, California Digital Library (USA), Arjan Schalken, UKB (Netherlands) and Tina Planck, Max Planck Digital Library (Germany) for their careful review and comments.

Ádám Dér developed this narrative manifestation of the mapping exercise with Colleen Campbell, Kai Geschuhn developed the basis of the How Transformative Is It framework, Ana Valente produced the web pages and downloads, Anja Stöber provided organizational support; all of the Max Planck Digital Library.