The University of California has entered into a three-year transformative open access agreement with SAGE Publishing, effective from January 1, 2022 to December 31, 2024. The agreement includes open access publishing of an unlimited number of articles by corresponding authors at all ten UC campuses and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and provides researchers throughout the UC system with expanded reading access to the full portfolio of SAGE journals.

The goal of the agreement is to support UC’s mission as a public university and advance the global shift toward sustainable open access publishing by making more UC-authored research articles open to the world, while containing the university’s journal-related expenditures. Consistent with UC’s other transformative agreements, the UC libraries are redirecting subscription funds to help cover open access publishing fees for UC authors who publish in SAGE journals.

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Agreement Basics

What are the basic terms of the agreement?

The agreement runs from January 1, 2022 to December 31, 2024 and covers open access publishing and reading access to SAGE’s hybrid and fully open access journals. It includes all ten UC campuses and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

How does the agreement work?

For UC corresponding authors who publish open access in a SAGE journal, the UC libraries will automatically pay the first $1,000 of the open access fee, or article processing charge (APC). In addition, UC corresponding authors receive a 20% discount on APCs when publishing in SAGE hybrid journals and 15% in SAGE fully open access journals. Authors who do not have research funds to pay the remainder of the APC (after the discount and $1000 subvention) can request full funding of the APC from the UC libraries, ensuring that lack of research funds does not present a barrier for UC authors who wish to publish open access with SAGE. For details, see below under “Article Payment Process.”

UC has shifted its investment from paying to read SAGE journals to paying based on UC authors publishing in SAGE journals. Based on careful modeling of UC publication rates, baseline fees have been established, with these amounts paid in bulk by UC. The exact amounts paid will be determined by UC corresponding author choices to publish open access, and how many authors pay the discounted APC using their research funds.  

Cost controls have been put in place so that the total owed by UC in any year of the agreement is bounded, and APC rates will remain the same throughout the term of the agreement.

Impact for Authors

Am I affected by this agreement?

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

If you want to publish your article open access, UC has negotiated a deal that will make it more cost effective for you to do so. If you want to publish in a SAGE journal but do not want to publish open access, you can still publish your article as paywalled (pay-to-read or subscription only) content. 

The agreement also provides reading access to the full portfolio of SAGE journals for all UC-affiliated faculty, lecturers, staff, students and clinicians.

Only corresponding authors are covered by the publishing aspects of this agreement.

Who is considered a corresponding author?

SAGE considers the corresponding author to be the person listed as the contact person during the submission/production/publication process, and who is identified as “Author for correspondence” on the final published article.

In general, the corresponding author is the person who oversees the manuscript and correspondence during the publication process – from manuscript corrections and proofreading, to handling the revisions and re-submission of revised manuscripts up to the acceptance of the manuscripts. The corresponding author has the authority to act on behalf of all co-authors in all matters pertaining to publication of the manuscript including supplementary material. The corresponding author acts as the point of contact for any inquiries after the paper is published.

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

All articles in SAGE journals are covered by this agreement, excluding articles published in a small number of society journals. (See specific titles under “Which SAGE journals are included in this agreement?”)

The agreement will apply to articles accepted from January 1, 2022, through December 31, 2024. 

For articles accepted after January 1, 2022 but before the launch of this workflow in SAGE’s article submission system on June 10, 2022, SAGE will reach out to authors to ask them retrospectively about this choice, and the steps will follow as laid out below under “Article Payment Process.” Authors publishing in SAGE hybrid journals whose articles have already been accepted for publication will be given the option by SAGE to make their articles OA. Authors who already selected OA (either in a SAGE hybrid journal or by publishing in a SAGE OA journal) and were invoiced for an APC, but have not yet paid, will be eligible to publish OA under the agreement. Invoices already paid are considered closed by SAGE and cannot be refunded.

Which SAGE journals are included in this agreement?

All SAGE journals are included in this agreement, with the exception of the following society titles:

  • AERA Open
  • Socius
  • Global Spine Journal
  • Advances in Methods and Practices in Psychological Science
  • The Traumaxilla
  • Annals of Neurosciences
  • Craniomaxillofacial Research & Innovation
  • JRSM Open

SAGE has indicated that conversations with its society partners about including these journals in the agreement in the future are ongoing.

Article Payment Process

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

If you are a UC corresponding author and you select the open access option in SAGE’s article submission system after your article has been accepted, you will receive an automatic discount (20% for hybrid journals; 15% for OA journals) on the APC, with the first $1000 of the discounted APC paid for by the UC libraries. You will then be asked whether or not you have research funds to pay any remaining APC amount.

  • If you have the research funds to pay the remainder of the APC, select “I have researching funding to pay the remaining APC.” 
    • You will then be asked to enter billing details, after which SAGE will send you an invoice for the APC remainder.
  • If you do NOT have research funds to pay the remainder of the APC, select “I do not have the research funds to pay the remaining APC. I would like to receive funding from the UC libraries.” 
    • You do not need to contact your campus’s library to make the funding request. Your request will be reviewed within one business day and if approved, your charge will be paid in full by the libraries. You will be contacted if your request is denied for any reason.
    • You will also be asked to identify the reason that full funding is needed, choosing from a menu of options (e.g., the research is not grant-funded and you have no other sources of funding available; the grant budget did not include money for publishing; etc.)
    • You will not be sent an invoice for the APC remainder. 

What if I don't have a grant or other research funds?

If you don’t have research funds and you want to publish open access, the UC libraries will pay your full article processing charge. See above under “if I choose to publish open access, how do payments work?”

What if I don't want to publish open access? Can I still publish with SAGE?

Yes. While the UC Academic Senate strongly strongly recommends choosing the open access option, where and how you publish is your decision. The agreement with SAGE makes the open access publishing option for SAGE journals more affordable, but it does not mandate open access publishing, nor does it dictate your journal selection. As with UC’s other open access agreements, you can opt out.


What if I have questions or need help?