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Strategies for Effectively Engaging Stakeholders in Negotiations

Developing strategies around issues such as cancellation, licensing negotiations, and involving stakeholders effectively in library collections decisions are complex for every academic library. These discussions run in parallel to advancing agendas around scholarly communications, library publishing initiatives, user privacy, and open as an underlying strategy. Colleges and universities stand to gain enormous ground through creating strong negotiation, planning, and communication programs that center the library as domain experts and advocates. 

In support of those goals, the Campus Planning and Partnerships Working Group of the SPARC Negotiation Community of Practice offers this curated selection of sharable resources that libraries can use to help initiate and guide local conversations. There are a number of variables at work in each situation, but the most critical components for success are transparency and developing clear blueprints to navigate multiple, competing priorities. 

Toolkits and Roadmaps

Campus planning and partnerships require strategies and tactics to align actions, expertise, and time commitments with long term strategic outcomes. These resources offer broad overviews of how to develop roadmaps and goals for your local needs, as well as provide greater understanding of the scholarly communications system.  

OA2020: Creating a roadmap for actionHigh level overview of action and engagement strategies. 

Negotiating with scholarly journal publishers: A toolkit from the University of CaliforniaIncludes background, definitions, logistics and organization of roles and expertise in negotiations, and strategic goals. 

SPARC Landscape AnalysisBackground into the current state of scholarly communications and potential action steps. 

Bélanger, Annie; Cadena, Cara; Jeffryes, Jon; and Lee, Marcia, “Shifting liaison involvement in collections: a holistic approach to managing the collection lifecycle. A toolkit from Charleston Pre-Conference 2021.” (2021). https://scholarworks.gvsu.edu/library_presentations/98Discusses one approach to developing a strategic framework for sustainable collections. Includes value-mapping exercises and a communication plan template. 

Faculty Outreach 

Faculty-led initiatives are powerful ways to transform the energy in stakeholder discussions and communications into actionable support. Shared governance action engages the library’s champions at the student, faculty, and administrative levels. Resolutions like these create institutional precedents for collective action and set a foundation for future partnerships.   

FORCE11 Researcher Bill of Rights and Principles Working Group. (2021). Declaration of Researcher Rights in Negotiating the Future of Scholarly Communication. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.5013929

Institutional Governance Resolutions 

Texas A&M: A Resolution by the Faculty Senate in Support of the Formation of the Texas Library Coalition for United Action

SUNY University Faculty Senate Resolution: Support for SUNY Negotiations for a fair and reasonable contract with Elsevier

SUNY Stony Brook Library presentation to Stony Brook Faculty Senate

University of Montana: Faculty Senate Resolution to Support the Mansfield Library

Iowa State University: Faculty Senate resolution adopting the principles of Open Access of Research


Scholarly publishing does not function like any other industry. As a result, translating strategic needs to campus administration can be challenging to do concisely in a way that communicates both the complexity and urgency of these issues.   

Research Information Costs at University of Virginia 

University of North Texas Library presentation to Provost Cabinet

UC San Francisco presentation to Executive Council 

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Developing a Toolkit for Fostering Open Science Practices: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/26308.

A toolkit with a variety of uses for many different campus stakeholders, these proceedings cover alignment between practices, incentives, and values. 

Library Organizations 

Library consortia and professional organizations have increasingly committed to principles and practices supporting transparency in negotiations, and strategic investment in the open movement. These communications guide a reframing of library relationships with content providers.  

NERL Issues a Statement Demanding a Better Deal

ARL Board Affirms Transparency as Core Operating Principle of Licensing

Commitment to Open Principles & Practices – Orbis Cascade Alliance

Select SPARC Member Libraries Communications 

This selection of communications, policies, and initiatives on sustainable scholarship each include direct calls to action for multiple audiences. Each centers global issues in local contexts and provides opportunities for engagement from campus partners.

George Mason University Libraries: Sustainable Collections

UNC Chapel Hill Libraries: A strong library is critical

University of Delaware Library, Museums and Press to Cancel Elsevier Subscription Package

William & Mary Libraries: Journal Costs & Big Deals

University of Virginia Libraries: Take Action

James Madison University Libraries: “Sustainable Scholarship” response to rising journal costs

University of Rochester Libraries: Access to Course Textbooks (ACT) Commitment

Licence Agreement Policy Statements

Cornell University: Nondisclosure ClausesCornell Library notes the removal of nondisclosure agreements is part of risk management for both the library and the university, useful for the business case to adopt similar policies.  

University of North Carolina Chapel Hill: Non-Disclosure Agreements Statement | Sustainable ScholarshipDirectly ties the removal of non-disclosure agreements to institutional values. 

Declaration of Rights and Principles to Transform Scholarly CommunicationA shared list of goals for a more sustainable scholarly communications landscape, adaptable to local shared governance initiatives and library negotiation programs.  

MIT Framework for Publisher ContractsLike the Declaration of Rights and Principles, MIT Libraries offers an institution-endorsed, remixable framework of principles to create a negotiation program. 

Licensing Principles and Expectations for Vendors — UW LibrariesA clear presentation of how licensing directly interacts with the library’s goals and values.

Rauh, Anne E.; Cleary, Robert; Cooper, Natasha; Deibel, Kate; Page, Amanda; Warren, Scott; and Zuccaro, Jennifer, “Syracuse University Libraries Licensing Principles” (2019). https://surface.syr.edu/sul/189Includes model license clause language with explanations of their impact on contracts for each principle.

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