Montana State University (MSU) Library supports and advances teaching, learning, and research for Montana State University and the people of Montana by providing access to information and knowledge. This document serves to communicate our negotiating principles and practices in order to provide access to scholarship. 


Access to Information 

In support of our land grant mission, we are committed to providing the broadest possible access to our research output and to providing access to scholarly literature and research documentation forMontana’s higher education community. 

Business Models 

MSU Library values working with publishers who provide access to information at a reasonable cost. We understand that the publication of information costs money, and we respect the work of our colleagues in the publishing community. Therefore, the MSU library will prioritize supporting publishing practices that are financially sustainable, transparent, and who innovate foraccess.

Fair and Sustainable Pricing for Journal Access 

MSU Library believes that publishers should offer fair and sustainable pricing for journal access. Increases for access to journal packages each year outpace inflation and most libraries budgets; these increases are not sustainable. We value transparent journal pricing that reflects the actual costs of producing scholarship and prioritizes knowledge sharing.  

Advance Open and Equitable Access  

MSU Library encourages publishers to be proponents for the advancement of open and equitable access to information worldwide.  

Transparency of Contracts 

MSU Library values transparency and advocates for all publisher contracts to be openly available. We will provide transparency in our decision-making process, as requested.  

Agreements in Support of Open Access 

Open access to scholarly literature and research documentation increases the impact of research conducted at MSU, thus furthering the spread of new knowledge, not only for our students and affiliates, but for all those who value the pursuit of learning and innovation. We support publication in journals that allow for open access deposit where possible, thus, MSU Library is interested in negotiating contracts that support both read access and open access publishing. However, we would only move forward with such an agreement if it provides value-added services and aligns with our negotiating principle.While we support MSU authors making their work openly available, we recognize and promote academic freedom—any agreementsnegotiated by MSU Library would allow MSU authors to choose where and how to publish their work. 

Treasure State Academic Information & Library Services (TRAILS) 

MSU Library belongs to the Treasure State Academic Information & Library Services (TRAILS) consortium. In coordination with TRAILS, we support publisher contracts that provide affordable access to Montana's public, private, and tribal community colleges and universities. Our negotiations impact students state-wide: we will work to continue to guide access for the state, either through subscriptions or alternative access methods. 

Assessment Practices 

MSU Library is committed to building and sustaining an organizational culture of evidence-based decision-making, and we use this approach when considering acquiring new publisher packages or renewing existing ones. During the negotiation process for large journal packages, we will consider the following factors:   

Negotiation Processand Terms: 

  • Clear and consistent negotiating practices 
  • Perpetual or leased access   
  • Transparent business practices (clear APC charges, open contracts, clear journal pricing, etc.) 


  • Cost-per-usedata 
  • COUNTER usage reports1 
  • Interlibrary loan requests per publisher2 
  • Journal subjects and curricular alignment 
  • Subscription cost in relation to the current fiscal year’s materials budget3 
  • Use-per-campus data  

Scholarly Activity & Publishing Outputs: 

  • Article Processing Charges (APC) paid or requested in the previous years 
  • Number of our affiliate-authored publications per publisher  
  • Number of citations to journals in articles written by our researchers  

Alternative Access Planning 

MSU Library understands that if it were to terminate bundled access to journals, we would enable alternate routes of access for the MSU community. In making such a decision, we will consider all the results of our assessment data and conversations with stakeholders. Should journal access be lost in the course of negotiations, the library will identify channels that provide alternative access to desired content. These may include initiatives that provide access through openly licensed materials, document delivery, interlibrary loan, subscriptions to individual journals, and other strategies as they are identified. 

Additional Resources 


  1. https://www.projectcounter.org/
  2. Process that allows a library to borrow physical and electronic items from another library
  3. Money dedicated to purchasing library resources including online resources, print books, AV, newspapers, etc.


This document was developed by the MSU Library Licensing Task Force. For questions, please contact: