The University of California (UC) has had an open access agreement with the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) since August 2021. The agreement allows corresponding authors at all UC campuses and the Lawrence Berkeley and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories to publish immediate open access in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) for a reduced cost and with no separate article page charges. 

Researchers and students at all UC campuses will also be able to access all PNAS content, dating back to 1915, free of charge.

  • Benefits to authors: As a result of the agreement between UC and NAS, UC corresponding authors will have the opportunity to publish immediate open access with:
    • An article processing charge (APC) of $3,225 per article under the agreement, which is $2,000 below the standard APC for immediate open access publishing in PNAS.
    • A choice of two Creative Commons licenses: a CC BY license will appear as the UC-recommended license choice, with the option to change to another CC license (CC BY NC ND). 
    • Authors may opt out of immediate open access and choose to pay the fees instead. In this case, the article will be available only to PNAS subscribers until six months after publication.

This agreement supports UC’s mission as a public university and advances the global shift toward sustainable open access publishing by making open access more affordable for UC authors. As with UC’s other transformative open access agreements, the UC libraries are providing funding to help cover open access publishing fees for UC authors who publish in PNAS.

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Agreement Basics

The agreement continues through December 31, 2026. It covers articles where the corresponding author chooses to publish immediate open access in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). It covers all 10 UC campuses as well as the Lawrence Berkeley and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories.

How does the agreement work?

The agreement enables authors across the UC system to publish with immediate open access in PNAS for a reduced cost, as a result of subsidy from the UC libraries. The UC agreement with NAS also provides reading access to PNAS for all UC campuses and Lawrence Berkeley and Livermore National Laboratories.   

When publishing open access, the total negotiated cost to authors will be $3,225 per article, which represents savings of more than $2,000 compared with PNAS’s typical combined article processing charge (APC) for immediate open access publishing.

Impact for Authors

Am I affected by this agreement?

Yes, if you are (1) a UC affiliate (faculty, lecturer, staff, graduate student) at one of UC’s campuses, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, or the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, (2) you are the article’s corresponding author, and (3) you choose to publish your article as immediate open access in PNAS. 

If you want to publish your article open access in PNAS, UC has negotiated an agreement that will make it more cost effective for you to do so. If you want to publish in PNAS but do not want your article to be immediately available as open access, you can still publish your article and pay PNAS’ standard APC.

Only corresponding authors are covered by the publishing aspects of this agreement, and will make the determination about electing open access. 

All UC faculty, lecturers, staff, and students will continue to have reading access to all of PNAS.

Who is considered a corresponding author?

For PNAS, a single corresponding author is responsible for providing all necessary manuscript information and interactions with the editorial office throughout submission and peer review (see PNAS Editorial and Journal Policies.) 

  • After acceptance, multiple corresponding authors, who are responsible for checking the accuracy of the proof contents and who will act as points of contact for queries about the published article, are permissible; these authors should be indicated on the title page.

Which articles and types of publications are covered by this agreement?

All regular research articles in PNAS are covered by this agreement, if the corresponding author elects open access. The flat rate will also cover the publication of supplemental information (SI). There is no separate charge for articles that have associated SI files.

The agreement will apply to articles accepted beginning August 1, 2021.

Brief Report articles are not affected because the fee is $2,200, which includes Open Access and a CC BY license with publication.

Article Payment Process

If I choose to publish open access, how do payments work?

The way the process works for authors who wish to publish open access with financial support from UC libraries:

  • At the submission stage, PNAS will instruct submitting authors to review available open access publishing agreements and will specify how to obtain the discounted APC.
  • At the time of acceptance, the corresponding author will have the option to publish open access under the UC agreement, with the Creative Commons license of their choice.
  • After acceptance, PNAS will notify the corresponding author by email to confirm that the the reduced APC will be applied to the article.
  • After publication, PNAS will send the invoice for the reduced APC to the corresponding author.

What makes this agreement unique?

This agreement is designed to advance open access to UC research. As with UC’s other transformative open access agreements, the UC libraries’ existing journals budget is being repurposed to make it more affordable for authors to publish open access.   

The agreement was structured to manage UC’s costs while enabling open access publication, and authors are encouraged to elect open access without concern for any added burden on UC or UC libraries’ finances.  

What if I don't want to publish open access? Can I still publish in PNAS?

  • Yes. Where and how you publish is your decision. The agreement with NAS does not mandate immediate open access publishing, nor does it dictate your journal selection. Rather, it makes the open access publishing option for PNAS more affordable, predictable, and the workflow simpler.
  • Authors who opt out of the agreement will be charged PNAS’ standard publication charges, with the article available only to PNAS subscribers until six months after publication.


What if I have questions or need help?

Last updated June 10, 2024.