UC open access publishing agreements
The University of California now has transformative open access publishing agreements with a broad range of publishers, including the world’s two largest commercial journal publishers and several society, not-for-profit and native open access publishers.
To learn more about UC’s agreements, visit the Publisher Open Access Agreements and Discounts page.
The UC mission
The University of California is a major creator and consumer of scholarly publications. As a state university system with a strong public service mission and a large research institution with worldwide influence, UC can play an important role in helping to reimagine models of scholarly publishing to make them more affordable, equitable, and open.
Different communities of UC’s faculty, staff, and librarians are working on a number of approaches to advocate for change in scholarly communication. Recent notable efforts include:
The university has been negotiating for open access and affordable subscription costs with journal publishers as contracts with those publishers come up for renewal.
- Read the UC and Elsevier page for information on the negotiations and agreement with Elsevier.
- The UC Libraries Journal Negotiations FAQs provide insight into UC’s negotiating goals and likely impact on the university community.
- The Alternative Access to Articles guide provides information on ways to access articles that the library does not subscribe to.
Systemwide UC committees laid the groundwork for negotiations with public statements explaining the context, rationale, and principles driving these efforts, and continue to express support.
- The UC Academic Senate University Committee On Library And Scholarly Communication (UCOLASC) endorsed and distributed The Declaration of Rights and Principles to Transform Scholarly Communication, a list of 18 principles to guide journal license negotiations with commercial publishers.
- The UC Systemwide Library And Scholarly Information Advisory Committee (SLASIAC) issued Championing Change in Journal Negotiations: a Call to Action. It was endorsed by the UC Academic Senate University Committee On Library And Scholarly Communication (UCOLASC) and the UC Council of University Librarians (CoUL).
- The Academic Senate’s UCOLASC also unanimously endorsed the convening of a publisher negotiation task force by the UC Council of University Librarians, and the task force’s priorities for negotiations.
- The Council of Vice Chancellors (COVC) sent a letter expressing support for the Elsevier negotiations to the Chairs of CoUL and UCOLASC. The UC Systemwide Library And Scholarly Information Advisory Committee (SLASIAC) also sent a letter in support of the negotiations to Provost Michael Brown.
- The Academic Senate has issued statements in support of UC’s negotiating position with Elsevier.
- Academic Senate Chair Robert May has briefed the UC Regents on the negotiations in his remarks to the Regents during multiple meetings of the Regents.
- On July 17, 2019, Acting Provost and Vice Provost Susan Carlson, University Librarian and Chief Digital Scholarship Officer Jeffrey MacKie-Mason, and Associate Vice Provost and Executive Director Günter Waibel briefed the UC Board of Regents’ Academic and Student Affairs Committee on open access and academic journal contracts.
Pathways to open access
In March 2018, the UC Libraries shared a toolkit that will be used to help guide decision-making in redirecting library funds to support open access (OA). In order to make informed and data-driven decisions about which endeavors to pursue at scale, the UC Libraries analyzed the various approaches to or models for achieving open access and the actionable strategies that exist to implement each approach.
This analysis, compiled in the Pathways to OA documents, was endorsed by the UC Council of University Librarians (CoUL) in February 2018. Pathways to OA will now assist campus libraries and the California Digital Library with individual and, where appropriate, collective decision-making about which open access strategies, possible next steps, or experiments to pursue in order to achieve large-scale transition to open access.
More UC support for open access
The University of California is supporting the transition to a more open and sustainable scholarly communication through additional initiatives and work with publishers, including:
- UC has negotiated publishing discounts for authors who pay article processing charges (APCs) to make their publications open access.
- A number of UC campuses have signed on to OA2020. OA2020 is an international effort to convert the existing corpus of scholarly journals from subscription-based (paywall) access to open access. The OA2020 movement intends to accomplish this through institutions converting resources currently spent on journal subscriptions into funds that support sustainable open access business models. OA2020 is not dependent upon a particular open access business model, but rather the reapportioning of funds from subscriptions to open access publishing — resulting in journal literature that is readable and shareable by all.