Welcome to Convos on the Common, a Commonplace Podcast. This conversation is extra special since it’s the first one we’re recording in front of a live, albeit virtual, audience, so thank you all for coming. We’re really excited to have our panel here to talk about negotiating deals between library consortia and big publishers. In particular, we’ll be talking about the recent deal between NERL, the NorthEast Research Libraries, and the publisher Sage. Without further ado, let’s jump into the conversation!
Sarah Gulliford (SG): We can start with everyone introducing themselves and describing the experience and interests you bring to our convo: let’s do alphabetical by first name so we’ll start with you Brett, then Erik, then Lanette.
Brett Goldfine (BG): Thanks for having us. My name is Brett Goldfine. I'm the Director of Library Sales for North America for Sage. And I've been with Sage for about 15 years, various different capacities. But obviously the most recent was working in the library sales division, and did a lot of work with negotiating some of our journal renewals, and with a lot of our consortium like NERL, and also as part of a few of our first transformative deals as well in North America. Love the crew here and looking forward to chatting a bit about how successful I think our negotiation went.
Lanette Garza (LG): Yeah, thank you, Erik. And I'm so delighted to be here with Brett and with Erik and to speak on this. I am the Director of Licensing and Acquisitions at the Center for Research Libraries. I've been there for about a year and a half now. And as part of my work, I'm responsible for leading and supporting the NERL program and its collective action mission. And when I started there working with the Sage negotiation team, it was a fabulous opportunity, and a fabulous way to start off my work there. Part of my work has been working in higher education—I've had 10 years of experience in higher education—and this was a way of just continuing that work and advocating for e-resource collections. And so I'm happy to speak on how this negotiation went.
SG: Maybe someone or all of you could share a bit about what the deal between NERL and Sage was or how your role at Stanford played into that, the elements of the deals, and sort of some of the details. I know from a brief conversation with Erik a few weeks ago, that sounds like there's also some unique DEI components.
LG: So the deal was actually in place from 2019, at least when I came in, and it was primarily a journal package deal. When the negotiation team from NERL came in, we were going to negotiate a new deal. Currently, what the deal looks like, there are now about 65+ institutions. These are NERL members, there are core members are 30+ core members and also affiliate members that can sign on. What this negotiation team negotiated was that this can be now a mix of all access titles. They went from a previous fixed package deal to all access package. They were also negotiating a one or three year multi-year deal, which was very important to those members on the team. And I also want to just real quickly mention and this was a group of about five to six members. We had a chair of the team Virginia Martin (Duke); Anne Rauh (Syracuse); Erik was on this call; Holly Zerbe (UPenn); Maureen Morris (Cornell). These are all volunteer members from NERL who negotiated on the behalf of NERL, and then working with sage. And I'll pass it over to Erik to talk a little bit more about it.
EL: I think that's a really great way to frame it, because it still surprises me that we walked into that negotiation planning to do a renewal of some sort, and then ended up being something entirely new. And I think that that's probably one of the driving forces here for us to talk about is that I think we often go in to these negotiations with so much expectation and never really hitting the mark. The way that we approach this was a way that just allowed a lot of the important voices from all the affiliate members to come up through, and actually come through into the negotiations.
First of all, I didn't realize that we had so many people signing on to that agreement. And there's a huge challenge and working as a consortia, I worked for scalp for a number of years. In the Southern California Electronic Licensing Consortium, where you have to be the challenge has been the voice for so many. And it how do you even prioritize so many interests, so many different holdings, so many different requirements and licenses? What I think was really helpful, that specific to NERL, and maybe you can say, you know how long this has been a rubric for you there. But we worked with Preferred Deal Elements, we call them PDE. This was the first time I had ever had any kind of structure to an agreement where we talked specifically about fees, terms, open access, opt in authorized authorized users and author rights. I think that was really, really important in terms of structuring how you approach the negotiation, the license, and really what we want to get accomplished, the team did a really great job of prioritizing and communicating that to Sage. It's kind of remarkable for me having worked for a publisher, or worked for Springer before they were merged with Nature, that they were able to be flexible and be nimble in their response and being able to offer some things that we were asking for. I think that was really kind of the the sort of shock of it all that we were able to move quickly through some of these options. Brett, do you have anything to share around that or what it was like on the other side? Because I didn't really speak to you or your team that much.
BG: I think I was part of probably two Sage and NERL negotiations prior to this one. And it was always kind of like staying status quo, like it was just normal renewal, we talked about annual increases this and that maybe some people would upgrade, maybe some people wouldn't. This time felt different from the very start. It had to do a lot to do with your PDEs and the fact that we were kind of face to face with not only one group, but the entire committee. And by face to face, it was still virtual, but we actually, were able to chat with a few of the member libraries. And the PDE gave us a blueprint as to how we could find a path forward.
To your point, Erik, about being flexible and nimble, it's a part of being an independent publisher that allows us to be a little bit more flexible, and really think about the long term and kind of strategic partnership. It was very clear from your PDE that actually a lot of our values and missions really align. So it made complete sense for us to try and address as many of those as we could and get creative together. And I think that was the beauty of it. I think so many times you go into these thinking they just need to be a normal renewal. Let's get get it done with because we have a few of them to go through. But no, actually you can work together to actually find a collaborative approach to build something that really kind of faces where we're all headed rather than just kind of being where we all been for so long. So it was it was really kind of enjoyable for us to have kind of an open dialogue and create something different.
SG: Yeah, that's really interesting. You mentioned that you were a part of NERL deals before. So I'm curious how that conversation pivoted? Like how did the PDE play a role in this deal this time when you were all going in for renewing the contract?
BG: Sure, I think, again, it was usually it was mostly focused on just the annual increases, and kind of containing the cost. And I think, by actually being able to have a conversation with a few folks within the committee, we were able to incorporate things like equity. Also, the fact is that we're not a traditional publisher in the sense that we have a lot of learning resources that we're really investing in, outside of journals, and I think NERL recognized that, and that we partner with so many other member libraries, outside of just journals. A way to incorporate that into the deal to benefit a lot of their members with some of that content that isn't just journals, and isn't just part of the deal normally, so it was really creative. Again, the PDE gave us an opportunity on the back end to go through line by line and see what we could address. And if we couldn't address it, I think the important part was, we made sure that we were able to address it in a way of continuing the dialogue into the future. So for instance, the Open Access component, we all kind of agreed after a few back and forth that we weren't going to get a transformative deal done for the entire consortia within a year, but let's keep the door open in 2023, and commit to talking about it, and perhaps, something for the future.
SG: You mentioned that it was like a three and multi year deal, does that kind of speak to that just sort of like ongoing process, and negotiation, or I guess, collaboration?
LG: I think well, the the multi year deal speaks to what our members can actually opt into in terms of if you want to be able to just have this as one year or three years. So that's just a set year of the increases. But I want to speak a little bit to the PDEs. And that was an effort on our members back in 2021, when they issued NERL demands a better deal. And they, as a consortia wanted to ensure that when they work with publishers and vendors, that we're talking about more than just licenses based on fees.
When we're talking to publishers, as Brett mentioned, we're not just talking about the bottom line price, we're talking about ensuring five core values of transparency, sustainability, equity, reproducibility, and flexibility. Beyond that, as Erik mentioned, we're looking at as a team around these preferred deal elements. Right off the gate when the team met, they were looking at if we get this license from Sage, how do we break down these five core values? And that's how those conversations emerged. Specifically for this team, they said, “There is nothing in this license that speaks specifically to DEI,” or maybe it did, but how can we even reimagine something even more? And when we spoke to Sage, they were extremely receptive. They were extremely collaborative. And that's how I think we were able to then say, let's have conversations around this.
EL: This is exactly the point of looking and reading the license that we get from vendors and looking and reading it closely. And this is going to be like the hill I die on. Because it's so important that there'll be more than one person that understands and is sort of scoring to figure out is what we're looking for actually represented in the license. So we each took a different element and tried to find where it may be represented in the license. We saw that there was some with OA or there was some with the term things around confidentiality or privacy, how the fees were modeled.
It was really interesting to see where some things were in the license. And we, we pulled things out specifically, and we talked about them. And we [asked], Is this enough? And were things [that] weren't in there? Like a clear commitment to the DEI? NERL and each party has their own independent policies, but where is it represented in the license? Where is it as a reminder for us to work together? And is that important to even put them in a license? And we all thought, are we asking you to publisher too much? We're already asking for all these other things. And my approach, and it wasn't the team leader, but it was just trying to get everybody on board. Well, we're already asking for X and Y, well not Z. And it was a question of well, what would we even put in, we've never even seen it in there. Yet, it's still a preferred deal element for NERL this is really important. So we crafted a couple of sentences and talk to Sage about it, and we were surprised that they have their own policy that's on their own website was really great. And Brett directed us right to it. And I said, can we can we bring it into the license?
We just make sure that the people that are negotiating, are aware that this is important that they should be talking about this. And it actually worked. And I think it's a really good example of trying to bring in those ideas that we often can't put our fingers on or can't really talk about what is equity? What is transparency? Right, and this I feel kind of humanizes the, the license? That it's a better representation of the conversations that were going on.
BG: To chime in on that, too, I think that the beauty of collaboration, I guess it's it opens up our eyes to new opportunities to hold ourselves accountable. Like Erik said, we have a pledge and it's one thing to have that but I think putting in a license just adds another layer of accountability. It is a commitment that he has, both internally and externally. To be able to put in a license and again, you know, have that layer of holding ourselves accountable, I think just takes it to another level. It's actually something that we now because of this, and because of what Erik suggested we incorporated into all of our licenses now. So we put that forth, because, again, this is the fabric of kind of who Sage is, and it's a commitment we have. There's no reason why we shouldn't say that from the from the very start. So thank you, Erik, for for starting that trend for us.
SG: Brett, do you mean that not now that you've had this deal go through with NERL, with all the deals going forward, you're adding this DEI component? Is that what you mean?
BG: Yes, I've worked with our licensing team to make sure we have those couple sentences regarding our commitment to DEI and in all our licenses that are going on.
SG: Yeah, that's awesome. I guess maybe, to maybe to clarify that, like what in particular, are those few lines that make DEI really clear in that agreement?
EL: I'll read it real quick. We call the “non discrimination, diversity, equity and inclusion” is the heading that says Sage and licensee mutually agree to work together and take steps to support, promote and achieve equity, diversity and inclusion in practice non discrimination when conducting business for the benefit of the greater global research and scholarly publishing community. Very simple, it's very broad.
I think it could. I think getting any more specific would be not necessary here. But I do think it's the start of getting a foot into a license where these practices are extremely important. If they do exist, then we shouldn't be talking about that as well. How we conduct ourselves and who we do business with is a direct representation of what we want to be included here. It's not just about price, it's making sure that negotiations go well, it's making sure we have an equitable balance of negotiating power. It shouldn't be a terrible experience. This is literally a bunch of people trying to get a good deal for both parties. And it can be done amicably and equitably and equally. Now working on another negotiating team with another publisher, I'm looking to include this as well.
SG: Yeah, it sounds like you've got a legal precedents for it, but sorry, what were you gonna say, Lanette?
LG: Yeah, no. And I just want to say how meaningful and impactful this statement was to include this, as I said, not a lot of licenses have this. It speaks directly to NERL’s core value of equity. And then just also to say, I mean, what a challenge it is to include this as well, right? Because we have this as a PDE, a commitment to DEI. But, I mean, we continually talk about this as as NERL as members like, what does this mean? Like, what else do we want from publishers to have equity to have DEI? What does that mean? And so this is a continued conversation. I know that we, as NERL, we have working group now supplier diversity working group. And so we're continually talking about this, but I think this was so impactful to just have this first step. And to have this with Sage was really was really meaningful.
SG: I know the deal is fairly new, but I guess I'm curious as to how that statement has applied to some of the actions that you've taken since the deal.
BG: Yeah, I was I was actually gonna say, you know, I think in terms of equity, I think that was a big component of this negotiation. And so we, I think that was loud and clear in the PDEs. And when you're working with a consortia, such as NERL, you're working with a wide variety of institutions. So some of the top research institutions, down to liberal arts colleges, and so it's a self defined equity in situations like that. But I think we were able to kind of find a way to work with NERL by upgrading everybody in the same package, and getting everybody the same annual increases, and I think it was just kind of a few moving parts. But that was important to us, because it was important to build that equity. There was kind of no reason why it shouldn't be that way. I think it speaks to, to NERL and their ability to represent every institution from all the way at the top to all the way at the bottom, no matter what the size. So I think that was a really big component that we put into action.
EL: I'll jump on that too, because going into this coming from a specific institution, it really is difficult to get 65 people's perception of what is equitable. I think that's part of why they're coming to NERL, because we may have the optics and the perspective, and may be part of more conversations to sort of tie it all together, and then present that thread and say, “Here, this is not only one institution, but this is a common goal for everybody here.”
Moving away from the multiple fixed collections was a huge deal. For a lot of institutions. I don't think I could speak too much to the history of the original agreement. But over time, we tend to patch things to licenses in terms of language and sort of build collections. Some people can afford it, and some people aren't able to and so then they're subscribing to individual titles, in addition to these collections, and they're paying two different people, for content from the same publisher. It's challenging from the library staff perspective, and I think that this is sort of it really leveled the playing field. I think it was a goal to put a stronger foundation, even language for the agreement. So then we can then take stock in the statement that we have a transition. Commitment to transitioning to an open access model. Everybody is moving up in sort of a rising tide at the same level. That to me was like a huge equitable win that I wasn't really expecting.
SG: [Stepping back a little], I'm kind of curious as to what Preferred Deal Elements you have. Like, what values and components that you look for an open access, but in terms of like equity and moving towards open access models, what does that what does that kind of mean for for the license?
LG: Yeah, there's there's a few components. And we're even still discussing that we also have a current working group, for example, what does it mean, to have preferred elements for a read and publish agreement versus a different type of OA model. So we want to make sure that we have those values set in place. If we're flipping journals to open, we want to make sure 60% of the authors are NERL authors, or gold, or green, or hybrid. So there are certain standards that we have in those preferred deal elements that we work through the license for those OA components.
I think to Erik's point about having like 60 institution in line when it comes to open access, it's really difficult. And I think that is why when we were working through this agreement, or this negotiation, we just said, “Okay, oftentimes, when we're looking at a negotiation, there was just no way we could do that in a few months.” So that was another surprise to me that I hadn't thought of, but it worked out really well was to put into this agreement, that we're going to work in good faith with Sage over the next year to add this OA component. And we're doing that now we're working with Sage. To put this in place. And so far, I can see that the the negotiations are going really well to add in a read and publish component. But it just there was just not enough time to do a renewal and then add on an OA component as well.
BG: I think that's not to say too that we didn't kick around a few ideas. And I think that one, that's for sure. What can we possibly do this quick? When you're negotiating for 65 Plus institutions, that makes it a little bit more complex. But we did take a stab at a few different ideas, and I think that was kind of the nice part was we were all trying to get creative and see there is no one size fits all. Especially with transformative deals and OA components and and consortia. You know, it's we all know, it's evolving pretty much on a monthly basis. And so at least I think it was positive that we were all committed to carrying the dialogue forward. Knowing that we all had kind of a shared goal, whatever that end result might be.
SG: I feel like it's almost good to have that stepwise transition. Because I feel like it'd be very tough to have like a really big shift in how research libraries are accessing content and how publishers are giving access to content. If there's like a huge up-haul within a year, that might be pretty confusing. So it almost sounds good that there's like a stepwise movement towards a a goal.
LG: Yeah, to be very frank, I hadn't thought of it in that perspective. But it almost takes years to transition or to think about a really good way to transition to OA. When you're in the midst of doing a renewal, and you're just thinking about how are we going to get prices right for a consortia to tack that on, as I said before, is really difficult. So we're really doing this with another publisher at the moment where we're like, let's just get the renewal right for now. Because renewal is up, we're down to the wire, and then that's considered doing the OA next year. There's no reason why we can't just continue talking about this with this publisher.
EL: That's a great point, Lynette because oftentimes I find that while I'd like to start early as possible with these publishers to look at renewal agreements. I think we've gotten comfortable with, we won't look at it again until next September. I think there's a trend here to continue working through the new year, and even into the spring to not drop conversations, but to continue the conversations because it does take time. If we stopped and then talked again, after the summer that follows, we’ll still be in the same position. So what I'm trying to also push is for these conversations, to continue and have more touchpoints with our affiliate members, but also with the publisher to figure out what's going on and at the institutional level, because there's so much interest on campus or within an institution around their own policies to get them to align. It does take time, and I think it's a real I think it's a real astute observation that Lynette is driving with NERL and supporting that, instead of saying, “we have to have this done, and have a publisher push us into an environment where we're not entirely comfortable.” So I think that is, you know, that's part of these elements of being transparent. There's no reason why we can't say honestly, where we are at any point.
BG: But I think that also speaks to the, I guess the a huge component of any winning negotiation for anybody is commitment from both sides. And it could have been really easy for us to kick the can and say, let's just do a one year renewal and we'll work on a transformative deal. But I think we had a sense was commitment from NERL in Sage for the long term by willingness to actually sign a three year license for institutions. And then we said we can amend that license, once we work out a transformative component. And so to me, that's, that's a win for both parties is there's commitment from both sides. We're here for the long haul, and we were in no rush to push NERL and their member institutions into anything. It was just open dialogue, and that commitment to say, hey, we'll work towards this together. But let's make sure we lock ourselves in for full three years. That was to us a sign of just partnership.
LG: Yeah, that's a really great point, Brett.
SG: What do those ongoing conversations look like throughout the year? Maybe it's too soon to say, since we're only in October, and you made it sound like you signed this deal in September. So maybe there's not like an experienced plan of or an experience of what these conversations are about, but what's the the plan of keeping that communication line open throughout the year? And it also sounds like everyone at NERL is volunteer. So maybe is there an additional challenge to have the time to do all that work?
LG: So we definitely have, we have kept the communication open. It's been it's been really great. The nice thing about it was those same members that were on the team, the renewal team, for the most part they kept on. So we still have Virginia, we have Anne. And then we have some new members, which is great too. They they're keeping on with with individuals talking about what they would like to see in an OA agreement. And I think they're looking more at a read and publish agreement. And we've started off the same way we've kept a timeline. The great thing again, about Sage is they're very receptive, and just answering questions.
EL: That is a huge key in moving things along. It requires both parties to recognize that everyone's running up against potential deadline, whether it's renewable or people's time to get things done before like the rush of the end of a fiscal close or the end of the calendar year. That makes it it is a huge that's a huge commitment to both on both sides that to make this happen. I can't express that any more than you just can't go, you can't move. You can't move quickly, unless you have people that are responding intelligently or critically thinking about the things that you're asking them to. And that works on both sides. I feel like the NERL side because I know it better, meets regularly and they find time in their schedules. It depends on on the negotiation at the time, you know. So I feel like the I feel like the Sage agreement worked really well, because we did have somebody or a team on the other side that was actually looking to get this done. And sometimes you wonder whether or not people are even interested in working with you because of just pure communication.
BG: When either side is having to chase or wait for a response, it's goes back to the commitment and kind of you start to wonder how committed are they? And how committed are they to their member libraries, because there are some consortia that we've worked with you maybe don't communicate quite as well. But you know, Lynette, it's funny, I look back to an old email where I think you had sent a deadline for last year, I think we actually stuck to it pretty well. Sometimes you create those deadlines, schedules and something gets pushed. But I remember we [would] tend to follow up right away and within a week or two, we kind of have another back and forth through email. So it never really took a pause, always kind of kept the momentum going. And the communication aspect was was absolutely critical to that. So spot on, Erik.
LG: Yeah, I will mention that. We also have a meeting at Charleston and NERL Annual Meeting at Charleston. And so we'll be doing that again this year, and hopefully meeting with the Sage team in person.
BG: And I will be there this year, so I won't be having a baby at the same time. So congrats. Yes.
SG: It sounds like all of you will be at the Charleston conference, so that's, that's exciting. As like a wrap up question: what what advice would you have for others wanting to make like a similar type of deal either to other types, other consortia or to other publishers who are working with other consortiums or libraries?
I guess part of it is, it sounds like what made this so successful was having those Preferred Deal Elements really locked into place to kind of bring to the table, and then as well having a really strong communication team to have this negotiations, but if there's any other advice, that that's worth sharing, or surprises that came out of this?
BG: I do think the Preferred Deal Elements were extremely helpful from our perspective, because it gave us a blueprint.
I think to Erik's point, you never know until you ask. So it can't hurt to ask, though the worst thing someone can say is no. Hopefully you can have a discussion about that. But I do think having something like that, beyond just asking for a percentage increase was really, really helpful. From a publisher perspective, and from kind of a non traditional publisher perspective, understanding the full landscape of the content that we provide, I think that was a huge part of our discussion with NERL was it wasn't just about your renewal, it was about some of our learning resources and involving that in the discussion as well. Opening up the discussion to a much bigger landscape than just the the piece at hand is a good way to go about it. It doesn't all have to be about the thing that we always do every three years and are used to doing and just doing it again, I think it can be a much larger discussion and understanding that we are in this for the long haul. This is about partnership and this is about moving forward together and building that path collaboratively. So I would certainly recommend it. Anyone who's who's in these types of negotiations that think about it that way.
EL: Brett, that's great. And it makes me think of is, is knowing from the publisher, what's important to you? So I think a lot of the conversations are about trying to bring together 65 institutions. Some of the stuff that is confusing is understanding where the publisher is coming from, and what your goals are, if either specific products or specific years things that you're running up against, that are important to you will also help us sort of understand, and also set expectations.
I think the way that we were able to work with different multi products and the years, and we can be flexible here, but [acknowledged that] this is going to be really tough. That really helps. My advice would be to be direct as a negotiating team, but also to be transparent, and to ask for a draft license early. I think it's okay to be looking at a draft license while you're negotiating the business terms, so that you have those two things moving at the same time, some publishers won't give you a draft license until you agree to the business terms. And that could take a very long time, which leaves a very short window to talk about licensing, and it just condenses the relationship and the pressure on both parties. So even if it's not the exact draft license, having something in front that you can look at ahead of time, and evaluate. I think for future negotiating teams, I think it's really important. Yeah, and to just understand all the terms and the license, so ask as many questions.
BG: Just to respond real quickly. One thing you said, I think that's really important. And I think we are all, we have a shared mission. Whether it's a consortia representing libraries, or the individual institutions themselves, we're all here to foster an environment for better research for engaging students for kind of building a better society in the future. And so if we don't lose sight of that, and can be direct with one another to move towards that shared future, I think it does just offer up an opportunity for much better conversation and dialogue. And there's no reason to not have that direct conversation. We're all colleagues, we're all professionals. We all have a shared mission.
LG: Yeah, 100% agree with you both. And just reiterating this transparency. If you want the publisher to be transparent, we need to be transparent in our conversations as well. So just being upfront and honest about where this needs to go, if bottom line is the fee that we're working with, and that's what we need to tell the publisher, if there's something else that's more meaningful that we're working with, that our members need, just be upfront with the priorities that's needed for that particular negotiation. That's what needs to happen in those conversations. I think getting operationally and—getting deeper into the weeds of things—making sure you have efficient timelines, if there's data that you need asking for those things up front, and ensuring that you have operations efficiently working and speaking to the publishers as as early as possible.
SG: Yeah, that's all great. Yeah. Thank you. Thank you all for this. We'll definitely be keeping an eye on the conversations and collaborations that are they you're working towards, to have more like equitable deals for all. So I think now we can open it up to everybody. We had a few people drop off, but I do want to open it up for everyone to have questions…
LG: One thing I'll mention too, internally, we would talk about how watching Erik and Virginia—Virginia was the co chair on the on the negotiation team. It was like watching a masterclass in license review. They were just so fantastic in reviewing the actual license. So that was extremely helpful as well. So just, again, operationally, having individuals that are really good with license review on that team is extremely important and helpful as well.
EL: No, it's great. Because there you have more than one person looking at it. And I truly believe that a license should be able to be read by a layperson, it should be clear, and where there is not, where there's multiple interpretations, it was really instructive for us to say, Wow, this is not a good section, how can we make it more clear? A lot of it is just small fine tuning or addition of words, or even a sentence that says, For the avoidance of doubt, this section is meant to cover X. I don't think there should be a real problem with adjusting language like that. So that when we do go back to it as to be instructive as to what is covered or how we should act, or who's whose responsibility is this. It's very clear. I think that was that was really, it was a great experience for me, because I don't often have a lot of people debating and looking at some of this language. That was a huge plus for working on this team. I think it's probably something that our constituent member libraries at NERL look for as well. That's part of the that's part of the service of being part of NERL, one of the many things but you have so many people reading that, I think it's a really good idea.
SG: If there's if there's no no other questions or comments, y'all just thank you all for your time here and really appreciate hearing about this with you.
EL:Yeah, Sarah, this is really nice. Thank you for putting this together.
Brett Goldfine is currently the Director of Library Sales for North America at Sage Publishing. He has been with Sage for 15 years in various capacities, beginning his career within the Commercial Sales team at Sage and then moving to the Library team in 2017. Up until 2023, the journals renewal component of Sage’s Library Sales team sat under Brett, in which he worked extensively with individual institutions as well as consortia (like NERL) to negotiate journal package renewals. In addition, Brett led the negotiations for several of the first Transformative Deals completed by Sage in North America. While Brett is still involved with many of these conversations, he has devoted a bit more of his time in 2023 to strategic initiatives focused around the continuously growing suite of Learning Resources created by Sage over the last decade. He lives in Reston, Virginia with his wife, one-year old daughter, their dog, and soon to arrive baby boy coming in January of 2024.
Erik Limpitlaw knows the ins and outs of digital licensing, compliance, and keeping online materials secure for the long term. He earned his law degree from Syracuse University and completed his undergrad at Binghamton University. Erik's work experience in licensing is packed with big names like Bloomberg, Thomson Reuters, and Springer/Nature. At Bloomberg, he wasn't just crunching data; he was also an active member of their LGBTQIA+ group and a board member of OpenFinanceNYC, a major network for LGBTQIA+ finance professionals in New York. Erik’s primary focus at Stanford University Libraries as the Digital Collections Licensing Librarian is to make sure digital content licenses align with university policies and offer the best price. Erik advises top library staff on whether a deal is good or risky. He also collaborates with other Stanford libraries to make sure everyone's on the same page with digital resources. So, if you've got questions about licensing in the academic world, Erik's your go-to expert.
Lanette Garza is the Director of Licensing and Acquisitions at the Center for Research Libraries (CRL). As part of her broad leadership portfolio at CRL, Garza is responsible for leading and supporting the NERL program and its collective action mission. Lanette has spent her career in higher education, and has held previous appointments in a variety of contexts, including Palo Alto College and Trinity University, both in San Antonio, TX. Lanette is especially passionate about bringing a data-informed approach to foster an open knowledge ecosystem. At Trinity University, she developed the library’s first data center dashboard to inform negotiations and licensing decisions. Over the past year, Lanette’s leadership at CRL has brought this valued based and data-informed approach to negotiations with some of the largest academic publishers, including Sage, Wiley, and Oxford University Press. When Lanette isn’t discussing NERL core values or PDE’s, she’s spending time with her family (husband Mark and their two children, Noah and Alyna).