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Open Negotiation Education for Academic Libraries (ONEAL)

This guide provides information for the ONEAL project.

Learning Objectives

Learners will be able to: 

  1. Analyze their library's position within negotiations.
  2. Apply best practices in principled negotiation when planning and conducting complex negotiations with library vendors.
  3. Optimize available options during negotiations by forming strategies to be used during negotiation and building coalitions of support.
  4. Evaluate license clauses to understand their potential impact on the library and its user communities
  5. Identify clauses that are in or out of alignment with the library's interests and be able to explain why to vendors and other stakeholders.
  6. Explain license clauses (including alternatives to standard vendor language) that protect and advance library interests.
  7. Describe current issues facing academic libraries and how they relate to negotiating with third party vendors to provide guidance and leadership within their organizations.

Outline of the Curriculum

FOUNDATIONS MODULE - Available April 2024

Introduction to the Course

  • Overview of the course
  • Historical context
  • Resource talks: academic library workers discuss their favorite negotiation resource
  • Glossary

Contracts & Licensing

  • Introduction
  • Anatomy of a license
  • Overview of contract terms

Introductions to Negotiations

  • Asking for what you need
  • It's a business relationship!
  • Principled negotiations
  • The structure of negotiations

Negotiation Planning Part 1 - Negotiation Strategy

  • Introduction to negotiation planning
    • Importance of planning
    • Negotiation vocabulary (BATNA, ZOPA, Concessions, Reservation Price)
  • Negotiation strategies
    • Best practices in negotiation planning including
    • Framing, anchors, first mover advantage, planning concessions
    • Preparing for no
    • Negotiating via email, phone, virtual meeting
    • Managing unacceptable behavior
    • Best practices
    • Improving your BATNA over time
    • Strategies for when you have little power

Negotiation Planning Part 2 - Internal Analysis

  • Determining interests
  • What is price sensitivity, why is it important, and how can you determine it?
  • Useful analysis, tools, and resources
  • Understanding your power position in the negotiation

Negotiation Panning Part 3 - Researching Vendors

  • Doing an external review: finding vendor financial information, competitive product information, and available pricing
  • Finding vendor financial information
  • Understanding vendor financial information

Issues: Accessibility

  • Assessing the accessibility of a resource
  • Finding vendor accessibility documentation
  • Negotiating for accessibility in the licensing


Strategies Module - In development

Setting Priorities

  • Values-driven strategies
  • Managing when you can't negotiate every deal
  • Value creation in the deal
  • Morale concerns


  • Solo vs team efforts
  • Engaging with other librarians, administrators, institutional faculty, students, procurement, and general counsel
  • Leveraging relationships (E.g., consortia)
  • Power mapping

Managing Vendor Relationships

  • Facilitating good relationships with vendors
  • Informing vendors of academic library and institutional context
  • Managing behavior

Contracts & Licensing Strategy

  • Developing preferred terms or deal breakers for licensed content
  • Reading for asymmetry in terms
    • Financial exigency
    • Resource sharing
    • Indemnification
    • Author rights 
  • Iteration and documenting process
    • Goal setting
    • Version control
  • Checklists and Appendixes
    • Preparation matrix
    • Starting license checklists
    • Examples of campus governance resolutions


Issues Module - In development

Accessibility - Available April 2024 (Publishing with Foundations Module)

  • Assessing the accessibility of a resource
  • Finding vendor accessibility documentation
  • Negotiating for accessibility in the licensing

  In development

Text Data Mining (TDM)

Privacy & Surveillance



Acquisitions Models

  • Traditional access models
  • Point-of-need models
  • Evidence-based acquisitions
  • Open access
  • Transformative agreements
  • Subscribe to open


Curriculum Design Considerations

  • The best delivery method of learning content (video, text, etc.)
  • Existing resources that can be integrated into the curriculum
  • Active learning assignments that participants can prepare, gather, and refer to when planning and executing future negotiations with library vendors.
  • Application within our field through interviews, panel discussions, case studies, etc.
  • Formative assessment that provides feedback to learners and designers on understanding.

Key Deliverables

Asynchronous Learning Modules

Asynchronous Learning Modules will be centered around three primary learning components designed to teach negotiations concepts and strategy, basics in licensing, and dive more deeply into issues affecting academic libraries. The exact content included will be influenced by  community discussion forums, which will guide the curriculum planning process and ensure that these modules are centered on the academic library experience. The project team will collaborate with identified experts in creating the content of these modules which include best practices in planning and executing negotiations, negotiating vendor licensing agreements, and current issues affecting academic libraries during negotiations for resources.

Synchronous Teaching Support

With the assistance of expert content creators, the project team will develop a set of synchronous teaching materials that can be used in concert with the asynchronous learning modules to aid in the learning of the material from the three modules. This includes lesson plans, discussion guides, and in-class exercises. These materials will enable groups such as consortia, professional organizations, and individual libraries to facilitate learning and practice within their organizations.

Case Studies

ONEAL will develop a set of fictionalized case studies centered around negotiations within academic libraries based on the experiences of 25 interviewed academic librarians. Qualitative analysis will be used to identify key themes in order to draft scenarios that enable engagement with the material taught through the asynchronous (and optional synchronous) materials. Each case study will have three parts: 1) library point of view, 2) vendor point of view, and 3) teaching note. These case studies will allow learners to practice preparing for and executing negotiations by working with a partner. (Note this preparation and practice could happen between two individuals or two small groups.) The library and vendor point of view are written with differing information to replicate the missing information that must be uncovered mid-negotiation when seeking agreement. The teaching note can be used by a group facilitator or by a pair of individual learners after the negotiation. It will provide discussion/reflection questions and will summarize key themes within the case study facilitating a debrief of the experience.