Negotiation principles internationally

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 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:


Open Access 2020 – Expression of Interest


Open Access 2020FINAL 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 2022 Agreement 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:


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:


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.


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 followings are the discussed response to Plan S Guidance on Implementation:


Japan – JUSTICE OA2020 Roadmap

JUSTICE (Japan Alliance of University Library Consortia for E-Resource)

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.



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.


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:


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:


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