The transformative power of publisher negotiations: new resources from the ESAC Initiative

In order to accelerate the transition of scholarly publishing to an open access paradigm, the global research community united in the Open Access 2020 Initiative pursues this transformation process by converting resources currently spent on journal subscriptions into funds to support sustainable OA business models.

As more and more library consortia and individual institutions are incorporating transformative agreements into their open access strategies, in alignment with the mission of the OA2020, many have expressed the urgent need for more information on the transformative mechanisms and practical aspects of these kinds of agreements. Now, the ESAC Initiative has come to the rescue with the re-launch of their website as an information-sharing hub with a number of extremely valuable crowd-sourced tools and resources related to these transitional license models (i.e. Offsetting, Read & Publish, etc.)

While ESAC was originally established to develop library-driven (and not publisher-driven) standards and workflows for the growing open access publishing market that is managed at the article level rather than journal or package level, ESAC has now expanded its focus to fill a significant gap in the open access landscape, offering a place for institutions to share best practice, lessons learned and recommendations related to transformative agreements to increase the understanding of their scope and power to effect large-scale and lasting change in scholarly publishing. Areas of focus for ESAC now include data gathering, analytics and visualization related to institutional publishing trends as a basis for negotiation strategy; license models, terms and publisher compliance; as well as open access publishing cost monitoring and control.

Some of the resources now online include:

OA Market Watch

ESAC is now aggregating data and relevant information on a number of the largest subscription publishers to help the community understand their current position in the scholarly publishing market and better assess their performance in transitioning from a subscription-based publishing model to open access.

Publisher Fact Sheets

For institutions and consortia who are just beginning to create a licensing strategy to accelerate the transition to open access and for those who are already negotiating transformative agreements, ESAC’s Publisher Fact Sheets provide a summary of the characteristics, performance and lessons learned from the agreements negotiated with some of the largest subscription publishers. The Publisher Fact Sheet relative to Springer Nature is now online!

ESAC Resources

The ESAC website has also been augmented with a section featuring resources relative to transformative agreements such as terms and workflow checklists, an online tool for sharing information and best practice, and, coming soon, recommendations from the ESAC Data Working Group on gathering and analyzing different kinds of publication data in order to formulate a negotiation strategy.

By sharing the knowledge gained as institutions take steps to remove their financial support of the paywall system, converting subscription budgets into funds to support open access publishing, our individual efforts will all be more successful and, collectively, more impactful. If you are negotiating transformative agreements and have data and information to share to make the ESAC tools more comprehensive and effective, please share them here. ESAC is coordinated by Kai Geschuhn of the Max Planck Digital Library on behalf of and in collaboration with the global academic and research library community. Please explore and, if you have any questions, would like more information, or want to get involved, please sign up for the ESAC listserv or contact Kai directly.

OA2020 is non-prescriptive in terms of approach and embracing of any number of strategies and models to liberate scholarly journals (and our money) from the paywall system; if you have knowledge to share around additional transformative models, we invite you to share these with the OA2020 community!