As of August 1, 2021, the University of California (UC) has a two-year open access agreement with the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). The agreement allows corresponding authors at all UC campuses and the Lawrence Berkeley and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories to publish 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. This is the first transformative agreement between PNAS and a U.S. research institution. 

  • Benefits to authors: As a result of the agreement between UC and NAS, UC corresponding authors will have the opportunity to publish open access for a single, reduced, all-inclusive cost, with:
    • A simpler, predictable cost in the form of a single, reduced fee, which does not vary based on length of article, with open access costs included.
      • The total cost for publishing open access is $3,000 per article under the agreement, which represents savings for the author compared with PNAS’s typical combined page charges and open access publishing fee. 
    • No separate page charges and a simpler workflow.
    • 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 open access and choose to pay page charges instead. In this case, the article will be available only to PNAS subscribers.

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 runs from August 1, 2021 to February 29, 2024 (renewal in process) and covers articles where the corresponding author elects open access publishing 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, with no separate article page charges, 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 $3,000 per article, which represents savings for the author compared with PNAS’s typical combined page charges and open access publishing fee (under PNAS’s traditional fee structure, costs vary by article length)

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 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 open access, you can still publish your article as paywalled (pay-to-read or subscription only.)   

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 from August 1, 2021, through February 29, 2024 (renewal in process). 

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:

Until 9/16 when the workflow is established: UC authors will see standard PNAS billing estimates. To ensure authors receive the UC reduced total fee of $3000 rather than the standard fee, PNAS will provide promotional codes that can be used as credits.  If authors use the promotional code, they will see a total fee of $3,000 on their final invoices.  

During this initial period, to ensure UC authors are included under the UC agreement, PNAS is sending notices to any affected authors to ask them to reach out before making the final invoice payment, so they can be issued a promotional code.  PNAS will also be checking every week to be sure no overpayments by UC authors occur.

What makes this agreement unique?

This agreement is designed to advance open access to UC research within the context of PNAS’ fee structure, which typically includes article page charges. 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 opt for 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 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. You can opt out. 
  • Authors who opt out of the agreement, electing subscription-based publishing, will be charged PNAS’ standard publication/page charges.


What if I have questions or need help?

Last updated February 1, 2024.