CRKN’s Licensing Principles define our vision for transforming scholarly communications and ensure our approach to licensing and negotiations is aligned with our mission and vision.
Originally developed in 2009 as the First Principles, the Licensing Principles were revised in 2020 as part of our 2019-2024 Strategic Plan and the strategic goal to Transform Scholarly Communication.
CRKN’s Licensing Principles include two connected parts. The first part contains the principles of CRKN’s licensing program, which define the ways our members work together to share costs, identify priorities, and increase access to content. These principles are as follows:
- We believe that research outputs are a common good and must be made available for the research community, students and faculty, and the public at large. Democratizing access to knowledge is at the core of what we do.
- We are committed to a robust, sustainable, scholarly communication system that is at the heart of teaching, learning, and research activities, for the advancement of science, scholarship, bibliodiversity, and society in general.
- Collaboration through CRKN empowers Canadian universities and presents a strong, unified, front to publishers for improved license terms and conditions and increased access to knowledge. While the ways in which we do business may change, our collective approach to overcoming challenges will not.
- We recognize the value publishers bring to the scholarly communication system while also unequivocally rejecting the unsustainable oligopoly currently benefiting a minority in the research ecosystem.
- We are committed to working collaboratively, at the national and international level, to actively transform the scholarly and scientific communication system toward open scholarship, open science, and open access.
The second part contains the principles for negotiations, which indicates our expectations from our vendors and publishing partners. Vendors are asked to review these principles in advance of any negotiation with CRKN, and we endeavour to prioritize licenses that are aligned with these principles. The principles are as follows:
- Sustainable Scholarly Communications: Through our negotiations with publishers we actively contribute to transforming the scholarly communication system towards sustainable open access. We believe in substantially lowering subscription costs and increasing open access. We seek agreements in which payments for open access publication reduces the subscription fees in Canada and globally.
- Equity of Access: Everyone should be empowered and enabled to access scientific and scholarly publications regardless of geographic location. We are committed to authors understanding and retaining their rights. CRKN will prioritize agreements that openly adopt technological means for adapting to evolving accessibility standards and content use, production, and dissemination for research purposes. We believe that open access content should be made available immediately and that cost and geographic location should never be a barrier to access.
- Open Access Scholarship: Sustainable paths to open access must be prioritized. CRKN will endeavor to partner with vendors that:
- Make immediate, barrier-free open access available for CRKN members’ authors’ works;
- Provide requested open access publishing data in a timely manner;
- Are willing to transition from subscription to fully open access and recognize that transformative agreements are temporary transitional means to achieve open access;
- Contain costs and offer fair sustainable pricing ensuring that shifting to open access does not add cost;
- Keep the administrative burden to transition to open access to a minimum.
We are committed to supporting sustainable agreements that emerge from a diverse scholarly publishing landscape that allows for Canadian not-for-profit publishers to compete and thrive.
- Transparency: We must eliminate non-disclosure agreements and transparently demonstrate the breakdown of fees for participating CRKN members. Global transparency enables equal access to information, fosters trust, and leads to fair negotiations required for fair agreements. We will not agree to non-disclosure clauses, nor can we accept agreements that do not illustrate how fees are established.
CRKN thanks the licensing principles working group and Content Strategy Committee for their leadership in developing these updated principles and our members for their valued feedback and support in this endeavour.