Negotiating Open Access Journal Agreements: An Academic Library Case Study


The COVID-19 pandemic has presented an opportunity for academic libraries to advance open access (OA) to scholarly articles. Awareness among faculty on the importance of OA has increased significantly during the pandemic, as colleges and universities struggle financially and seek sustainable access to high-quality scholarly journals. Consortia have played an important role in establishing negotiation principles on OA journal agreements. While the number of OA agreements is increasing, case studies involving individual libraries are still limited. This paper reviews existing literature on publisher negotiation principles related to OA journal negotiations and reflects on recent cases at an academic library in Pennsylvania, in order to identify best practices in OA journal negotiations. It provides recommendations on roles, relationships, and processes, as well as essential terms of OA journal agreements. This study’s findings are most relevant to large academic libraries that are interested in negotiating with scholarly journal publishers independently or through consortia.