Negotiation principles

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 resources available in order to support the library and consortia community in developing common principles as well as implementation standards.

LIBER Four Urgent Recommendations for Open Access Negotiations with Publishers

LIBER, Europe’s leading association of research libraries, presents four urgent recommendations for libraries to use when conducting Open Access negotiations with publishers. This document builds on the Five Principles for Open Access Negotiations with Publishers of 2017, considering the new benchmarks in the landscape in publisher negotiations as well as the body of negotiation principles and recommendations that have, in the meantime, been embraced by LIBER institutions.

Read here

Open Access 2020 – Expression of Interest

Building on the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities and on the progress that has been achieved so far, we are pursuing the large-scale implementation of free online access to, and largely unrestricted use and re-use of scholarly research articles.

We recognize and endorse various ways of implementing open access (OA), including the development of new OA publishing platforms, archives and repositories. In scholarly journal publishing, OA has gained a substantial and increasing volume. Most journals, however, are still based on the subscription business model with its inherent deficiencies in terms of access, cost-efficiency, transparency, and restrictions of use.

To gain the full benefits of OA and enable a smooth, swift and scholarly oriented transition, the existing corpus of scholarly journals should be converted from subscription to open access. Recent developments and studies indicate that this transition process can be realized within the framework of currently available resources.

With this statement, we express our interest in establishing an international initiative for the OA transformation of scholarly journals, and we agree upon the following key aspects:

  • We aim to transform a majority of today’s scholarly journals from subscription to OA publishing in accordance with community-specific publication preferences. At the same time, we continue to support new and improved forms of OA publishing.
  • We will pursue this transformation process by converting resources currently spent on journal subscriptions into funds to support sustainable OA business models. Accordingly, we intend to re-organize the underlying cash flows, to establish transparency with regard to costs and potential savings, and to adopt mechanisms to avoid undue publication barriers.
  • We invite all parties involved in scholarly publishing, in particular universities, research institutions, funders, libraries, and publishers to collaborate on a swift and efficient transition for the benefit of scholarship and society at large.

Specific steps and milestones for the transformation process shall be outlined in a roadmap to be further developed in the course of this initiative. We see the initiative as one element of a more profound evolution of the academic publishing system that will lead to major improvements in scholarly communication and research evaluation.

Go to OA2020

Open Access 2020 – Final conference statement, 14th Berlin Open Access Conference

Participants from 37 nations and five continents, representing research performing and research funding institutions, libraries and government higher education associations and rectors’ conferences, associations of researchers and other open access initiatives gathered at the 14th Berlin Open Access Conference held 3-4 December 2018 in Berlin. They affirmed that there is a strong alignment among the approaches taken by OA2020, Plan S, the Jussieu Call and others to facilitate a full and complete transition to open access. The statement that follows represents the strong consensus of all of those represented at the meeting.

  • We are all committed to authors retaining their copyrights,
  • We are all committed to complete and immediate open access,
  • We are all committed to accelerating the progress of open access through transformative agreements that are temporary and transitional, with a shift to full open access within a very few years. These agreements should, at least initially, be cost-neutral, with the expectation that economic adjustments will follow as the markets transform.

Publishers are expected to work with all members of the global research community to effect complete and immediate open access according to this statement.

Go to OA2020

Australia – CAUL Consortium Agreement Principles for Journal-Based Content, 2024

Read here

Canada – CRKN Licensing Principles

Read here


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:

Open Access Model & Price Model

  • 100% OA
  • or Offsetting
  • or Read & Publish
  • or Licensing agreement combined with discount on Publication Charges
  • and/or clearly stated self-archiving rights after specified embargo period

License period

  • If no open access terms are included, only sign one year agreements [LIBER PRINCIPLE]


  • Information on agreement to be published on consortium website

Read more about the Nordic consortia commitements

Norway (UNIT)

Together with the press release of Norway’s Elsevier cancellation in March 2019, UNIT published their principles for publisher negotiations:

To ensure a successful transition to open access, the following guiding principles apply to all negotiations:

* Articles with corresponding authors from Norway shall be openly available at the time of publishing

* Publishing open access shall not increase total costs

* License agreements, costs and business models must be fully transparent

* Perpetual access to content published in subscription journals must be granted

* Agreements should demonstrate a move towards models where costs are related to the volume of Norwegian article output

In July 2018 Universities Norway (UHR) gave their full support to Unit’s negotiation principles and nominated representatives from the rectorates at the universities of Oslo and Bergen to participate in the negotiations with Elsevier.

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:

  1. Journal subscription current spending must be used to fund the transition to open access at no cost increase, because we invested already enough money in the system.
  2. All journal subscription agreements with scientific publishers should include an open access component, based on green road, gold road, or both– at no extra cost.
  3. When reaching such agreements reveals not to be possible, standard subscription agreements not including any open access component should be concluded at a reduced cost. This cost reduction will thus generate savings available to be invested in open access, alternative publishing roads or alternative publishers.
  4. Immediate open access should be the norm. As a first step towards full and immediate open access, we could temporarily and transitionally accept a delayed open access, in any case no longer than 6 months after publication (12 months in Humanities). 
  5. Science publications and research results being a part of the world heritage of mankind, the long-term preservation of research output is a crucial issue; public institutions and libraries have a responsibility for long-term preservation of research publications. Consequently, all agreements with publishers must include archival rights for all the subscribed content and long-term preservation with a local hosting option. Archival and local hosting rights must be granted by the publisher at no extra cost, as a standard component of any subscription or “publish and read” deal.
  6. Cost transparency being a key-issue, because science information publishing is funded by public money, we are willing to make public our data concerning science information subscription and publishing costs; we highlight the interest of the European University Association (EUA) Big Deals survey and encourage EUA to make public the aggregated data concerning Europe science information expenditure.

Read the full statement

Greece – Declaration on Open Access in Greece

HEAL-Link (Hellenic Academic Libraries Link), in the framework of its activity to strengthen Open Access in Greece, explores systematically the ways and means for the transition to a new scientific publication landscape, which will be sustainable and beneficial to the public academic and research institutions. In this process, HEAL-Link participates in international initiatives, evaluates the developments and weighs them, taking into account the benefit for the Greek scientific community. HEAL-Link’s Declaration on Open Access in Greece expresses its concerns about the inadequacy of the current scientific publication model and explicitly states the direct initiatives that it undertakes. The Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs, through Minister Kostas Gavroglou, supports the “Declaration on Open Access in Greece”. The Minister’s assent to the text of the Declaration was expressed after a meeting with the Chairperson of HEAL-Link, Professor Theodora Ioannidou, on the 31st of May 2018, at the Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs.

Read more

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

The Netherlands – Transformative agreements: what NWO expects from publishers

The Dutch Research Council (NWO) has compiled a document which specifies their expectations of Transformative Agreements to be negotiated from 01-01-2021 onwards. Responsibility for these agreements in the Netherlands lies with the Dutch consortium. It is agreed that in their negotiations they take on the aspects outlined in this document, which complements the Checklist Big Deals and Open Access clause of the UKB consortium and the UKB model contract.

Download the set of requirements 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.

In the Call to Action, seven strategic priorities for journal negotiations have been formulated:

  1. We will prioritize making immediate open access publishing available to UC authors as part of our negotiated agreements.
  2. We will prioritize agreements that lower the cost of research access and dissemination, with sustainable, cost-based fees for OA publication. Payments for OA publication should reduce the cost of subscriptions at UC and elsewhere.
  3. We will prioritize agreements with publishers who are transparent about the amount of APC-funded content within their portfolios, and who share that information with customers as well as the public.
  4. We will prioritize agreements that enable UC to achieve expenditure reductions in our licenses when necessary, without financial penalty.
  5. We will prioritize agreements that make any remaining subscription content available under terms that fully reflect academic values and norms, including the broadest possible use rights.
  6. We will prioritize agreements that allow UC to share information about the open access provisions with all interested stakeholders, and we will not agree to non-disclosure requirements in our licenses.
  7. We will prioritize working proactively with publishers who help us achieve a full transition to open access in accordance with the principles and pathways articulated by our faculty and our libraries.

USA – Iowa State University: University Library’s Principles for Advancing Openness through Journal Negotiations

On October 15, the Iowa State University Faculty Senate unanimously passed a resolution that supports the University Library’s Principles for Advancing Openness through Journal Negotiations.

The journal negotiation principles, adopted this summer, help the University Library advance openness and achieve financial sustainability and greater transparency. The principles and the support they have received will provide useful guidance to the library in its current and future negotiations, helping to inform journal publishers about what is most important at Iowa State.

The resolution’s three main points are:

  • Prioritize openness through open access sources
  • Reject nondisclosure language in agreements with publishers
  • Pursue financially sustainable journal agreements

The University Library Advisory Committee, representing faculty, students, and staff, has also written a letter of endorsement for the principles. These actions demonstrate strong support for the library in managing journal costs and advancing open access.

Download the Iowa SUL Principles

China – OA2020 Mainland China Signatory Libraries Discussed a Response To Plan S Guidance on Implementation

Mainland China signatory libraries of OA2020 Initiative Expression of Interest held a meeting March 26, 2019, at the National Science Library, Chinese Academy of Sciences, in Beijing, to discuss a response to Plan S Guidance on Implementation.

The following is the discussed response:

1. We are in broad support of Plan S and its goals to ensure immediate and complete open access to journal articles resulting from publicly funded research to the world. We applaud the effort of Plan S to provide strong incentives to make research open access. We support an international effort to achieve this goal worldwide as soon as possible.

2. We fully recognize that the need for forceful and accountable policies by public funders in research, education, and libraries, to facilitate open access against various entrenched interests or the inertia of the status quo. We urge all in research, education, publishing, platforms, repositories, and libraries to engage diligently in transformative efforts abreast with time to meet the challenges.

3. We support the Final Conference Statement of the 14th Berlin Conference on Open Access with its commitments. We urge all the publishers to work with the global research community to effect complete and immediate open access according to the Statement.

4. We support the principles and roadmaps of OA2020 Initiative which aims to transform a majority of today’s scholarly journals from subscription to OA publishing, while continues to support new forms of OA publishing. We believe the transition process can be realized within the framework of currently available resources. We see no legitimate reasons for, and will object to, any attempts to increase spending from the original subscribing institutions in the transformation.

5. We support that authors retain copyrights of their publications in open access publishing through journals or open access platforms.

6. We support that open access publications are made under open licenses. We support the use of the CC-BY license as the preferred one but recommend that other CC licenses also be allowed as compliant to Plan S.

7. We recognize the strong need for compliant requirements, agreed by the research communities, for open access journals and platforms. We agree that infrastructural instruments like DOAJ and OpenDOAR can be utilized to help identifying and signaling compliance, but we urge that cOAlition S and other funders recognize and support other appropriate mechanisms for the purpose and require any such instruments are put under international oversight by the global research community to ensure their no-for-profit nature, inclusiveness, objectiveness, integrity, and efficiency.

8. We commend the recognition by Plan S that there exist different models of financing and paying for Open Access publication. We support an inclusive range of immediate open access publishing approaches. We support the transparency and monitoring of open access publication costs and fees.

9. We urge that cOAlition S and other funders, through Plan S or other means, provide financial support for no-fee OA journals. The wide range of support approaches tono-fee OA journals should be encouraged to enhance the diversity of open access publishing and competitiveness of publishing market, and to avoid the perverse effect of giving no-fee journals an incentive to start charging fees. While the support can start with general term statements, measures can be timely designed and tested to encourage quality, integrity, transparency and openness, and increasing host investment and other diverse and appropriate income.

10. We support that where article processing charges (APCs) apply, efforts are made to establish a fair and reasonable APC level, including equitable waiver policies, that reflects the costs involved in the quality assurance, editing, and publishing process and how that adds value to the publication. We hold it very important that any such effort should take into consideration of the diversity in the world to ensure applicability and affordability of any such measures across countries and disciplines.

11. We commend the support and requirements of Plan S for financing APCs for open access publication in subscription journals (“hybrid Open Access”) only under transformative agreements. These agreements should be temporary and transitional, with a shift to full open access within a very few years.

12. We understand the purposes and the benefits of using ORCIDs in journal publications. Considering different paces of adopting ORCID in different regions and disciplines, we recommend that it is implemented as a preferred condition, at least in the short beginning years. We recommend the same treatment for using DOI.

13. We support the Plan S recommendation that “all publications and also other research outputs deposited in open repositories.” We recommend that Plan S make full acknowledge and use of the full range of capabilities of open repositories to support open access, long-term preservation, research management, and re-use.

14. We encourage that Plan S takes the transformative green OA mechanism as one of venues to implement open access, as long as the embargo period of compliant green OA repositories should be reduced to zero in a short time.

15. We understand the purposes and the benefits of automatic ingest of publications, JATS XML format, Open API to allow others (including machines) to access, QA process to integrate full text with core abstract and indexing services. We support the efforts to work toward adapting to these or equivalent techniques for more efficient processing and better use of open access content. We call on publishers and libraries to strive for this. However, at the beginning, we recommend that these are implemented as preferred measures. Other means of ingest, different machine-readable publication formats, alternative Open APIs or even temporarily lacking of Open APIs, and other means of QA should be allowed as compliant. At the same time common best practice guidelines and infrastructural support should be developed with international consultation to make the best and easy use of these or other equivalent methods or techniques.

16. We recommend that Plan S add as a requirement that, either by national laws or regulations, or by grant contract requirements, that funded authors retain sufficient and non-exclusive rights to deposit their publications into open repositories.

17. We commend and support the intention of cOAlition S and other public funders to support mechanisms for establishing Open Access journals, platforms, and infrastructures where necessary in order to provide routes to open access publication in all disciplines. We encourage efforts by funders to increase the innovation and competitiveness of open access publishing and open access infrastructural instruments.

Go to website

Japan – JUSTICE (Japan Alliance of University Library Consortia for E-Resources) OA2020 Roadmap

Transformation from subscription model toward OA publishing model (PDF)

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

Jisc is supporting higher education with the transition to open access through the negotiation of a range of transitional (transformative) and OA agreements which enable UK research output to be published OA in accordance with UK funder policies.

These requirements apply to contracts negotiated in 2022 between institutions, consortia (including Jisc) and publishers for open access (OA) journal agreements and are targeted at transitioning hybrid titles to OA. The requirements may be updated in response to developments in higher education (HE), research and changes to funder policies.

Jisc will evaluate proposed agreements against these requirements and make the results of the evaluation available to the publisher. The evaluation will also make clear if a proposed agreement is compliant with current and prospective UK research funders’ policies.

Agreements that meet the requirements and are accepted by the UK sector will be registered in the ESAC Transformative Agreements Registry.

1. Agreements must reduce costs
Academic publishing is a shared endeavour between publishers, research funders, academic staff, and institutions. The UK punches above its weight both in terms of research quality and the benefits that publishers realise through peer review and editorial services and this must be reflected in publisher proposals.

A global transition to OA requires funders, publishers, and institutions to work in unison to implement agreements that offer the maximum benefit with the minimum burden on public finances, researchers and institutions.

The cost of agreements must reflect the current and future financial circumstances of institutions. Universities are already taking measures to reduce their costs and further increase efficiency through actions including recruitment freezes and tighter spending controls. University and research libraries ask their suppliers to similarly strive for efficiency to provide affordable options that reflect the financial context universities now operate under.

Many, if not all, institutions need to reprioritise investment and are unable to commit to agreements that lock in funds through TAs unless they provide full and immediate access to research and provide budgetary stability.

The agreement must:

  • Provide unlimited OA publishing to all research and review articles for all eligible authors with no caps on article numbers for an affordable and sustainable fee. For clarification, the total fee charged for both access to paywalled content and OA publishing must result in a reduction on existing subscription expenditure
  • Offer fair, affordable, and sustainable fees for access and publishing services
  • Commit to constraining costs for all elements of the agreement, including APCs
    • Fees should not reflect payments made for publishing services “in the wild” by individual researchers
    • The publisher should not charge the author or their institution any further publishing fees, including page charges
  • Recognise that institutions are diverse with differing research profiles. Publishing output can vary dramatically each year
  • Ensure that charges for paywalled content and collections reflect the volume of content made OA – reconciliation of the volume of content made OA should be undertaken each year and reflected in the price paid by all customers
  • Ensure that OA titles remain OA. Public funds and collective efforts have assisted the transformation of titles to OA. OA titles should not revert to paywall access under subscription models

Agreements that include APCs paid by individual researchers or arrangements with illusory or complicated discount mechanisms, such as the application of discount codes, add costs and inefficiencies to the system and must be avoided. Uncapped agreements that convert all output to OA are the most efficient and result in greater author satisfaction.

2. Agreements must be transitional and temporary
Publisher proposals must:

  • Demonstrate a commitment to an OA transition through the conversion of subscription expenditure to support immediate OA publication. Funders’ support for OA is both limited and temporary and publisher agreements must maximise existing subscription expenditure and not require additional commitment such as a requirement to pay to access additional titles
  • Provide a rapid increase in UK authored articles published OA – 100% of UK output as quickly as possible
  • Demonstrate their commitment to a full and global transition to OA. This includes changing their underlying financial accounting and pursuing agreements that convert their portfolio to other institutions, consortia or countries, particularly those with high levels of research output. As stated in ESAC’s guidelines for transformative agreements, “while individual transformative agreements have the potential to convert 100% of a given institution or consortium’s output to OA publishing, it is the sum of many agreements together that will induce the transition at scale.”
  • Show how the agreement breaks the link from legacy pricing models to support the implementation of clear, fair and transparent pricing models more suited to an OA environment
  • Provide permanent full-text access to all content. This is to secure future access and remove the need for publishers and institutions to maintain entitlement records relating to paywalled content

3. Agreements must permit compliance with funder mandates

The agreement must enable institutions and their authors to comply with funder mandates by:

  • Supporting OA via the green route by allowing the “Version of Record” first made publicly available (such as on the publisher’s website) or the Author’s Accepted Manuscript (AAM) to be openly available immediately in repositories in full alignment with funder policies, including the application of the required licence
    • If an article is not eligible under an agreement, authors must be able to make their AAM available with no embargo and under a licence that allows reuse by all, in perpetuity under CC-BY licensing terms
  • Allowing the author or the author’s institution to retain their copyright and the rights necessary to make a version of the article immediately available under a compliant open licence
    • This includes not inhibiting the use of the Rights Retention Strategy either by rejecting articles, rerouting articles to other journals or by presenting an author, (including co-authors) with terms that prevent them from making their AAM immediately OA in compliance with their funder policies
  • Implementing workflow processes that assign CC-BY as the first and default option and make clear to the author that the application of the licensing terms is a requirement of their funder
  • Joining Jisc’s Publications Router to provide the systematic transfer of metadata and deposit of full-text articles into repositories
  • Depositing articles into PubMed Central (PMC) and Europe PMC by the first publication of the version of record, in accordance with funder policies

4. Agreements must be transparent
It is in the public interest, not only that publicly funded research has the widest possible reach, but that the costs, progress, and details of the transition to OA are openly available.

This allows the sector to benchmark, improve processes, and better understand where investment or divestment is required. The goal is the implementation of fair, transparent, affordable and sustainable pricing for publishing services.

It will be a requirement of an agreement that the publisher enters into open and transparent conversations with the sector and Jisc on the transition of their portfolio, business models and underlying financial accounting. This will be monitored by the transitional agreements oversight group. Publishers should also adhere to at least one of the cOAlition S Price and Service Transparency Frameworks.

In advance of consultations with institutions, publisher proposals must provide article level metadata and provide the following as a minimum:

  • The number of articles published by each UK institution in all the publisher’s journals including, on an article basis, the DOI of the article, details of article processing charges and corresponding author information
  • All available information that identifies whether the research was funded by UK research funders and whether the applicable article processing charge was supported by UK research funder

On agreement completion details of the costs, pricing models and the agreement terms (contract) will be made publicly available on the Jisc website. The agreement will be logged in the ESAC registry.

Throughout the agreement, the publisher will be contractually obligated to provide the following data split by institution:

  • Total spend within and outside the agreement
  • The total number of OA articles published in each journal
  • The number and details of all OA articles published in fully OA and subscriptions journals included and outside the agreement by year
  • UK articles as a proportion of the global output
  • Article level data for all articles published by UK corresponding authors including information on funder and licence type
  • Details of which titles have “flipped to OA” that were previously paid for through subscriptions
  • In addition, and to support discussions with the Transitional Agreements Oversight Group, we seek the following:
    • Number of titles expected to flip in the current calendar year
    • Predicted growth in each journal portfolio, and
    • Publishers’ journal portfolio predictions

5. OA content must be discoverable, and agreements must support improvements in service and workflow for authors and administrators
An effective transition to OA is reliant on developments in technical infrastructure and the adoption of national and international standards which can deliver efficiencies for publishers, authors and institutions, and enhanced discovery and re-use.

The agreement must:

  • Evidence a commitment to improving the processes and workflows associated with managing OA to deliver greater efficiencies and discovery of OA material
  • Include the service and performance levels stipulated in the Jisc model licence, which reflect several of the ESAC recommendations and provide a compensation mechanism should the agreed levels not be me

The publisher shall be responsible for the identification of eligible authors and eligible articles from a given individual and institution as part of the submission and publication process.

The publisher shall build ORCID, Ringgold or other recognised identifiers into submission, production, and peer review workflows and expose author ORCIDs in published articles and AAMs via AI services, Crossref and other discovery services.

The publisher shall identify eligible authors through a combination of the following parameters:

  • Authors stating their affiliation(s) at article submission, including the use of RORs
  • IP ranges
  • Email domain(s)

The publisher undertakes to:

  • Register the article’s DOI with Crossref upon acceptance, and inform all co-authors
  • Identify funders of institutional research by populating funding metadata, including funding body and grant number, in Funding Data (on Crossref) and on the publisher’s site so institutions can report to funders and show compliance levels
  • Include clear licensing terms at article level to ensure institutional readers/users understand what they may do with a given article and that repository staff and related services can act upon the correct article licensing terms. Article level information is required for each version of the article and ideally by populating the LicenseRef metadata on Crossref as well as in a human-readable form

Read the full JISC requirements


IReL principles for Open Access publisher agreements from 2020

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.

A “read & publish” approach is favoured, aimed at compensating publishing houses for the articles published from Swiss universities plus a fee for access to the complete content in lieu of the classic subscriptions for accessing journals. The main idea is to transform publishing and establish a new business and price model geared towards the publications. The negotiation goals are based on the principles of LIBER:

  1. Licences and open access are closely linked: No institution should pay licence fees for access to the contents and additional article processing charges (APCs; “double-dipping”). The payment of APCs should lead to a proportional reduction of the licence fees. This is to be regulated in the new licence contracts.
  2. No open access, no price increase: Overall, the universities invest a lot of money in journal subscriptions, which are subject to annual price increases. On the academic publication market, however, the demand for open access publication models is on the increase. Providers must meet these needs. Therefore, price increases are no longer acceptable. Transparency of the licence contracts:
  3. The licence contracts are paid from public funds. Accordingly, their contents should also be open access. Socially, confidentiality clauses are no longer accepted.
  4. Guaranteeing long-term access to content that is already licensed: In order to prevent libraries from spending more money on licences and boost open access, some libraries have relinquished long-term access to licensed content in the past. However, this access is crucial in a rapidly developing market and must be guaranteed.
  5. Usage data should contain open access: Although APC payments are becoming increasingly important, the quality of the reports on publications and paid services is unsatisfactory. Alongside usage figures with accesses and downloads, libraries should also be able to access automated reports on open access publications at any time.
  6. Cost neutrality: Open access should not lead to higher costs in the medium and long term, even though additional costs may be incurred in the conversion phase.
  7. Minimising administrative burden: While switching to a new model, the necessary administrative burden for researchers and libraries should be kept to a minimum.

Read the full fact sheet on the negotiating strategy of swissuniversities

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:

  • From 2016 onward, license agreements with publishers should be concluded in a manner that the research publications of authors from Austria are automatically published Open Access.
  • All contracts from 2020 onward should include this clause.
  • Contracts and prices should be made public.
  • In their negotiations with publishers, the Austrian Academic Library Consortium (KEMÖ) should be supported by the executives of the research organisations.

Read the recommendations

Hungary – Principles for transitional Open Access agreements under the framework of Electronic Information Service National Programme

On its meeting on the 14th of December 2018, EISZ Programme Board, governing council of EISZ National Programme, representing the participating institutions and the financing authorities, made the following declaration:


The essence of transitional Open Access (OA) agreements is to contain journal subscription fees and article processing charges (APC) within a single contractual framework. For the benefit of the research community, as well as for the efficient use of public funds, these agreements facilitate a swift and full transition to Open Access in a sustainable, cost-neutral way.

Principles for transitional Open Access agreements

1. Transition to Open Access should constrain costs of the current subscription model. These agreements must ultimately lead to a purely publication-based OA model.
2. Corresponding authors affiliated at consortium member institutions must be able to publish Open Access articles without further delay and without any additional costs.
3. Articles must be published under CC-BY licence.
4. Workflows of transitional agreements should follow the Recommendations for article workflows and services for offsetting/open access transformation agreements by Efficiency and Standards in Article Charges (ESAC) initiative, with special respect to the registration article-level metadata in Crossref and the standardised identification of authors.
5. Agreements must be transparent and publicly available, following the Hungarian legislation.
6. Perpetual access to content published in subscription journals must be granted to the consortium member institutions.


The Programme Board mandates EISZ to sign national-level agreements for journal collections only in case the above principles are met and become apparent in the licences.

The Programme Board strongly supports the collaboration with the domestic and international communities to enable a rapid and efficient transition to Open Access.

Go to EISZ

Germany – Projekt DEAL

The goal of Projekt 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 Projekt 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 Organisations 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

EIFL principles for negotiating open access agreements with publishers

As a not-for-profit organization working with libraries in dozens of developing and transition economy countries in Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe and Latin America, EIFL (Electronic Information for Libraries) aims to advance and facilitate the sharing of scholarly content worldwide. Read their proposed basic principles for establishing negotiations of open access agreements with publishers here.


Statement on open and sustainable knowledge

South Africa

SANLiC’s Framework for Publisher Open Access (Transformational) Agreements