Open Access and Transformative Agreements

Library Consortia are increasingly entering into Transformative Agreements, otherwise known as Read and Publish, Publish and Read, or Offsetting agreements. These agreements incorporate both the access to paywalled content and paid publication for authors affiliated with the involved institutions under an Open Access model.

There are a large number of resources available on this topic, what follows are some that most relevant to the consortium market:

ESAC Resources

ESAC (Efficiency and Standards for Article Charges) provides information about the Open Access market, particularly surrounding Transformative Agreements. It is supported by a large number of library consortia, particularly in Europe. It also registers Transformative Agreements and provides access to them here, and provides sample terms for agreements, and a template agreement.

ESAC documents national open access policies that have been developed in different countries and provides detailed information about each.

LIBER Open Access: Five Principles for Negotiations with Publishers

Of interest will be the LIBER statement of Five Principles for Negotiations with Publishers which is made available to aid libraries and consortia in negotiating Transformative Agreements.

UC Toolkit

The University of California has created a toolkit for librarians on negotiating Open Access and Transformative Agreements with publishers. It includes the following items for libraries and consortia:

  • An introductory guide to the UC model transformative agreement
  • Arriving at your shared goals for the negotiation
  • Negotiation strategy
  • Communications planning and execution
  • The role of data analytics
  • Alternative access planning

A PDF version is available for download.

JISC Collections Requirements for Transformative Agreements

JISC Collections has established a set of requirements which lay out the UK position on Open Access and Transformative Agreements. It provides a high level of detail and specifics on the nature of transformation required by the UK.

Society Publishers and Consortia Toolkit

UKRI, ALPSP and Wellcome Trust have commissioned consultants, Information Power, to develop a toolkit for society publishers and library consortia to negotiate Transformative Agreements.


Model Licences

Ringgold provides an old suite of model licenses (2009) for use in the public domain, developed for many different types of licensees:

JISC Model Licences

JISC is a UK public body providing expertise on information and technology for education and research institutions. It posts its journals, databases and archives Model Licences on its website, which other consortia may use as a basis for their own licenses.


The Center for Research Libraries, a consortium of more than 250 libraries in the United States, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong and India, hosts the LIBLICENSE project . It is a discussion forum about issues that arise in the acquisition of electronic content. CRL provides a model licence agreement for e-resources, with a particular focus on the university library community. It was revised and updated in November 2014 to include best practices of library professionals and guidance by legal and publishing professionals, two versions downloadable from:

LIBLICENSE Additional Model Licenses

CRL has gathered on its LIBLICENSE site a small collection of licences used by North American consortia:


Library Statements and Principles

The following links contain information and documents created by library groups to aid consortia in negotiation, licensing and other activities. Although some of the following documents are dated, they represent background guidelines from which to understand the nature and operation of library consortia.

IFLA Key Issues for E-Resource Collection Development

IFLA (The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions) is the leading international body representing the interests of library and information services, with 1500 members in 150 countries. In August 2012, it published a guide for the acquisition of electronic resources: Key Issues for E-Resource Collection Development. Chapter 3 (Licensing considerations for e-resources) provides information on the issues of:

  • Access
  • Use of electronic information resources
  • Vendor support and technical consideration
  • Flexibility and enhancement
  • Legal issues
International Coalition of Library Consortia (ICOLC) Documents

The International Coalition of Library Consortia (ICOLC) first met informally as the Consortium of Consortia (COC) in 1996. The Coalition continues to be an informal, self-organized group comprising (as of February 2020) approximately 200 library consortia from around the world. The group serves all library types, facilitating discussion among consortia on issues of common interest such as new content resources, and vendor pricing policies. Over the last twenty years ICOLC has issued several statements on licensing issues. They are available at


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