May 19, 2022

University of California Launches Toolkit For Negotiating Transformative Agreements With Scholarly Publishers

From the U. of California Office of Scholarly Communication by Gunter Waibel:

Following the 2018 release of the provostial Systemwide Library and Scholarly Information Advisory Committee’s Call to Action, the University of California (UC) Academic Senate and Libraries partnered to utilize publisher negotiations to address the issues of journal subscription affordability and open access (OA) transformation.

UC’s publisher negotiations have since been closely followed around the globe. In the United States, UC’s actions and stance, particularly with Elsevier, have prompted a national conversation about how research institutions can restructure their publisher contracts in the service of OA publishing. While UC has not yet secured a transformative agreement with Elsevier, the university has built a strong internal coalition around taking a principled stance for a sustainable OA business model. In April 2019, UC secured its first transformative agreement, with Cambridge University Press, and continues to have productive conversations with a variety of commercial, native-OA and society publishers.

In response to the growing demand for information, UC has launched a negotiation toolkit that aims to serve as a North American framework for creating transformative change in the scholarly publishing industry. In charting its course, UC was greatly enabled by the various global efforts, particularly in Europe, to leverage publisher negotiations to effect a transition towards OA. With this toolkit, UC hopes to similarly enable more institutions in the United States and Canada to reinvest subscription funds into open access by rethinking and restructuring publisher agreements.


UC is also pleased to announce the Open Access Tipping Point workshop, which is an invitational workshop co-sponsored by the UC Academic Senate and Libraries that will build upon the toolkit. Applications are now open; click here to find out more.

Direct to Full Text: Negotiating With Scholarly Journal Publishers: A Toolkit From the University of California ||| Direct to PDF Version (15 pages; PDF)

A North American Framework For Creating Transformative Change in the Scholarly Publishing Industry Based on Initial Insights From the University of California’s 2018-19 Negotiations with Elsevier;  Prepared by the UC Publisher Strategy and Negotiation Task Force.

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.