What Collaboration Means to Us: The SPARC Journal Negotiation Community of Practice

“Negotiations are a particularly challenging area for collaboration among libraries. Driven by the prevalence of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) and confidentiality clauses, the culture of information sharing outside of consortial arrangements is not a ready tendency by academic librarians, despite some notable exceptions1. The perception of potential antitrust concerns chilled discussions about negotiation strategy and tactics, and large publishers continue to exploit this asymmetrical information environment aggressively. Even before the current COVID crisis, many libraries reached a breaking point in the serials cost increases that their budgets could no longer bear. These challenges around effective collaboration drove the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) to work with our members and the wider library community over the past two years to develop a journal negotiation community of practice. Initially focused on supporting libraries exploring cancelling their Big Deals, the community of practice quickly expanded to include negotiations more broadly, reflecting the need to better align the remaining publisher contracts with library needs and values and to better support libraries in this work. The Journal Negotiation Community of Practice has become a platform for dialog, sharing data and best practices, and creative problem solving. SPARC’s role is focused on both community building and catalyzing discussions as well as disseminating resources produced by these discussions. We work to create a welcoming environment for librarians to share both their questions and their experiences and to provide support by building tools to share actionable, on-demand information about both negotiating subscription packages and walking away from these packages altogether….”