UC and Cambridge University Press agree to open access publishing deal

The University of California and Cambridge University Press have entered into a transformative agreement that will advance the global shift toward an open access future for research.

The agreement is designed to maintain UC’s access to Cambridge’s journals, while also supporting open access publishing for UC authors. The partnership is UC’s first open access agreement with a major publisher, and Cambridge’s first such deal in the Americas.

“This agreement reflects the strong belief among UC faculty that our research should be available not just to the scientific community, but also to the world at large,” said Dennis Ventry, UC Davis professor of law and vice chair of the Academic Senate University Committee on Library and Scholarly Communication, the UC’s faculty committee for topics related to scholarly publishing.

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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:

Journal negotiations

The university has been negotiating for open access and affordable subscription costs with journal publishers as contracts with those publishers come up for renewal.

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.

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.

The release of the Pathways to OA documents was followed by a blog post discussing next steps and a two-day working forum at UC Berkeley attended by 125 participants from around North America.

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.