Open Access: five principles for negotiations with publishers

LIBER publishes guidelines for libraries and consortia.

LIBER is Europe’s leading association of research libraries.  Its Five Principles are based on the experiences of its members over the last two years and are designed to support the shift from a reader-pays model (subscription licensing) to an author-pays model based on Article Processing Charges (APC).

The five principles

Licensing and Open Access go Hand-in-Hand - the world of subscription deals and APC-deals are closely linked. Nobody should pay for subscriptions and pay APCs at the same time (‘double dipping’). Increased spending on APCs should result in proportionately lower spending on subscription fees. 

No Open Access, No Price Increase - there is enough money in the system already. Libraries have paid annual price increases of up to 8% for years, supposedly to allow publishers to innovate. A key feature of innovation for the research community is that research outputs are freely available. If an agreement with publishers on OA cannot be reached, future price increases should not be accepted. 

Transparency for Licensing Deals: No Non-Disclosure - the practices of libraries should fully reflect their commitment to Open Access. Licensing agreements should therefore be openly available. Society will not accept confidential agreements paid for with public money in the form of non-disclosure agreements, as recent developments in Finland and The Netherlands have shown. 

Keep Access Sustainable - to avoid putting more money in the system, and to strengthen OA, some libraries have given up their rights to perpetual access in license agreement. Perpetual access is, however, critical in a quickly-changing publishing environment. Libraries must secure sustainable access to content. 

Usage Reports Should Include Open Access - although APC-buyouts are becoming more common, reporting about OA is still rare. Just as libraries receive reports about downloads and usage in the subscription world, they should also receive reports on OA publications. It is normal to receive insight into what we pay for. 

You can read more about LIBER and the five principles here