In each of the University of California’s agreements with scholarly journal publishers, the UC libraries strive to uphold the university’s core values and policies, including:
- Free and open access to UC research: Open access publishing supports UC’s public service mission by ensuring people across California and around the world can learn from and build on the university’s research and scholarly work.
- Responsible stewardship of state funds: As a public university system, UC is committed to containing the rapidly rising costs associated with scholarly journals and making the transition to open access financially sustainable.
- Protecting author rights: UC believes that authors should retain copyright in their work. They should be able to share and reuse their own research publications and data without permission from or payment to the publisher.
These guiding principles have been reinforced time and again by UC’s Academic Senate and administrative leaders. The following policies and public statements explain the context, rationale and principles that underpin all of the university’s publisher negotiations. (For a list of UC’s current agreements, visit the Open Access Publishing Agreements and Discounts page.)
Public Statements and Guiding Principles
- Our method for prioritizing publishers with which we seek to negotiate transformative open access agreements and guidelines for evaluating those agreements are informed by prior research and the principles laid out in the following statements from UC’s faculty and administrative leadership. We created a toolkit on negotiating with scholarly publishers to share our approach with other libraries.
- 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 faculty-driven priorities to guide UC’s journal license negotiations with commercial publishers, as well as a statement encouraging UC authors to choose open access when publishing their work.
- 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 Academic Senate’s UCOLASC and the UC Council of University Librarians (CoUL).
- Former UC President Janet Napolitano published this piece articulating how open access supports the university’s mission.
- All ten UC campuses have signed on to OA2020, an international effort to convert scholarly journals from subscription-based (paywall) access to open access. OA2020 is not dependent upon a particular open access business model, but rather institutions reapportioning funds from subscriptions to open access publishing — resulting in journal literature that is readable and shareable by all.
- In 2023, UC learned that academic publishers are attempting to subvert authors’ rights to control how their own work is used and shared. The university is united in its commitment to protecting author copyright, as expressed in strong statements from the Academic Senate Chair and UCOLASC, as well as UC’s President and Provost.
- Additional public statements, including UC’s response to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy’s guidance on open access and a deep-dive on UC’s philosophical approach to open access, are available in the Press Room along with announcements of UC’s open access publisher agreements and key coverage.
Historical Information Regarding UC’s Negotiations with Elsevier
From 2018 through 2020, the University of California engaged in negotiations with Elsevier, the world’s largest scholarly journal publisher, ultimately leading to a landmark transformative open access agreement announced in March 2021. Many of the foundational ideas honed during UC’s negotiations with Elsevier continue to inform the university’s priorities around open access, cost control, and author rights today.
- The archived UC and Elsevier page contains information on the negotiations with Elsevier. (For details about the current agreement, visit the Elsevier Transformative Open Access Agreement page.)
- The Alternative Access to Articles guide provided UC researchers with options for how to access articles during the period when UC did not have subscription access to Elsevier’s ScienceDirect platform.
- The Academic Senate’s UCOLASC unanimously endorsed the convening of a publisher negotiation task force by the UC Council of University Librarians (CoUL), as well as 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 UC’s Provost.
- The Academic Senate issued statements in support of UC’s negotiating position with Elsevier in February 2019 and July 2019.
- Academic Senate Chair Robert May briefed the UC Regents on the negotiations during multiple meetings:
- In July 2019, Acting Provost and Vice Provost Susan Carlson, UC Berkeley’s 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 in July 2019.
- UC Provost and Executive Vice President Michael T. Brown, UC Berkeley’s University Librarian and Chief Digital Scholarship Officer Jeffrey MacKie-Mason, Associate Vice Provost and Executive Director Günter Waibel, and Associate Executive Director & Director of Collection Development Ivy Anderson provided a second briefing to the Regents’ Academic and Student Affairs Committee on transformative open access and academic journal contracts in May 2021.