Learn more about UC’s open access agreement with Springer Nature, announced in June 2020, and what it means for UC authors who publish in Springer Nature journals.

Expand All | Collapse All

Agreement Basics

What are the basic terms of the publishing aspects of the agreement?

The UC’s agreement with Springer Nature is a three-year-plus agreement, through 2023, that increases both UC’s access to Springer Nature journals and support for the open access publication of UC research. This agreement provides: 

The agreement runs from late 2020 through 2023 and will be implemented in three phases. 

Phase I: to begin later in 2020 — Open access publishing at no cost to authors  

  • In phase I, to begin later in 2020, all articles by UC corresponding authors that are accepted for publication in Springer’s subscription-based journals will be published open access at no cost to the author.
  • This phase will begin once we formalize the workflow and contract details of this agreement,  expected in the fourth quarter of 2020.    

Phase II: to begin in 2021 —  Open access publishing, incorporating UC libraries financial support for open access publishing fees 

  • In January 2021, a full open access workflow will be in place, through which the UC libraries will pay at least the first $1,000 toward the open access fee (called an article processing charge or APC) for all subscription and full open access titles in the Springer portion of the Springer Nature portfolio.   
  • If there is any remaining balance due on the fee, the Springer Nature payment system will ask UC authors if they have research funding available to cover the balance
  • If an author does not have research funds available to cover the remainder of the article processing charge, the UC libraries will pay the entire APC on the author’s behalf, ensuring that lack of research funds does not present a barrier for UC authors who wish to publish open access in these journals. 

    Phase III starts in 2022 and involves the integration of Nature branded journals into the open access publishing part of the agreement.

    Reading access to all Springer and full OA journals, including journals to which UC did not previously subscribe will be available in all phases of the agreement. 

    More detail about these phases and their application across SpringerNature’s portfolio appear on the main page about the agreement.

  • Which Springer Nature journals are included in the publishing aspects of this agreement?

    In 2020, in the fourth quarter of the year (upon signing of the formal agreement) journals that are covered in the open access publishing agreement will include: 

    In 2021, these  journals will also be covered:

    See below regarding inclusion of the Nature journals.  

    What are the plans for the inclusion of Nature journals?

    Springer Nature has announced its commitment to creating an open access approach for its Nature-branded journals, but the business model is still under development. UC’s agreement stipulates that Springer Nature will work with UC to develop  a transformative open access agreement for these journals, to be available by the beginning of 2022. 

    While the Nature branded journals are not included in 2020, the agreement commits UC and Springer Nature to undertake a limited open science pilot during 2021; the details of the pilot will be worked out in the fourth quarter of 2020.

    Nature full-OA journals are also not included at the start of the agreement. UC  support for authors publishing in these journals will be integrated into the agreement as funding allows.

    For more information on what is included, see the coverage chart below.  

    I have a paper that was published with Springer earlier in 2020.  Will that be covered by the agreement?

    Unfortunately, we are unable to apply this agreement retroactively to papers accepted for publication earlier in 2020. Before articles can be included under the agreement, we must formalize the workflow and contract details. 

    I have just submitted (or am about to submit) a paper to a Springer journal. Will my paper be covered by the agreement?

    Articles in Springer subscription journals (including the Adis and Palgrave Macmillan titles, and academic journals on Nature.com) will be covered if they are accepted after we formalize the workflow and contract details of this agreement , which is expected to be in the fourth quarter of 2020. Articles accepted prior to that point will not be covered.

    We will announce the launch through this page, the landing page for the agreement, and a post to the Office of Scholarly Communication blog. Authors may also contact their campus library for more information.  

    I have just submitted (or am about to submit) a paper to a Nature journal, or one hosted on Nature.com. Will my paper be covered by the agreement?

    There are several categories of journals within the Nature group, and coverage under the agreement varies depending on the category:

    • Articles published in Nature branded research and review subscription titles (generally, those with titles starting with “Nature”) are not included in 2020. The agreement commits UC and Springer Nature to participating in a limited open science pilot for these journals during 2021, with a more comprehensive open access agreement to be implemented in 2022.
    • Articles that are accepted for publication in the academic journals hosted on Nature.com will be included once we formalize the workflow and contract details of this agreement, which is expected to be in the fourth quarter of 2020. Articles accepted prior to that point will not be covered.

    Articles published in full open-access Nature journals are not included in 2020 or 2021. They may be included later in the agreement, as funding allows.  

    Does the timing of submission, acceptance, or publication determine whether my article will be included in the agreement?

    The acceptance date is the critical date for an article to be included in the agreement.  Once we formalize the workflow and contract details  , UC affiliation will be determined upon acceptance and the article can be included in the agreement. 

    How can I determine whether a particular journal is covered under this agreement, and if so, beginning when?

    To confirm whether a given journal is (or will be) covered, please see the table below.

    Springer Nature title category/imprint Reading Access OA Publishing 2020
    (Phase I)
    OA Publishing 2021
    (Phase II)
    OA Publishing 2022
    (Phase III)
     
    SUBSCRIPTION / HYBRID JOURNALS
    Academic journals on nature.com
    Adis
    Palgrave Macmillan
    Springer
    Nature Research and Review journals Selective ✔* ✔*
     
    FULL OA JOURNALS
    BioMed Central
    Springer Open
    Nature full OA journals (Scientific Reports and Nature Communications) (✔)**
    Academic journals on nature.com (✔)**
     

    To check the status of a particular title, you can follow the steps detailed below. You will first need to know whether your journal is fully open access. To find out, locate the journal in one of the following lists:

    If your journal is in the Springer title list, look on the journal’s Home or About page (may be accessible by clicking on the title from the journal’s volumes/issues listing). If your journal uses language like “hybrid,” “subscription” or “open choice,” the journal is not fully open access. If the journal page includes “SpringerOpen” at the top, or the title starts with “BMC,” or there is language on the About page indicating it is an “open access journal,” it is a fully open access journal.

    • If your journal is a Springer non-open access journal, it is included in the agreement from the start of Phase I, approximately September 2020 (once we formalize the workflow and contract details of this agreement).

    • If your journal is a Springer fully open access journal, it is included with Phase II in January 2021. The exception is if the journal is found on the Adis Rapid+ Journals, or Adis Open Access Journals lists. In that case, this journal is not included in the agreement because the mechanism for implementing the agreement is not available at this time.

    If your journal is in the Nature title list, visit the journal’s website and check “About the Journal” or the “Journal Information” menu at the top of the page. The page may mention a choice or option for open access, but if it does not specifically indicate that the journal is entirely open access, then the journal is not fully open access.

    • If your journal is a Nature non-open access journal, inclusion depends on the type of Nature journal:

      • If the journal title starts with the word “Nature” (such as Nature, Nature Physics, Nature Reviews Genetics, or Nature Protocols), it is not included at the start of the agreement. There will be a limited open science pilot in 2021, with a more comprehensive open access agreement to be implemented in 2022.

      • If the journal title does not start with the word “Nature” (such as Oncogene, Molecular Psychiatry, or Modern Pathology), this journal is included from the start of Phase I, approximately September 2020.

    • If your journal is a Nature fully open access journal, it is not included at the start of the agreement. UC publishing support will be integrated into the agreement as funding allows.

    If you cannot determine whether a title is covered, please contact your campus library for assistance.

    Coming soon: Springer Nature is creating a webpage specific to UC’s agreement, which will include a complete title list. We expect this resource to be available soon and will link to it here.

    Why did UC enter into this agreement?

    This agreement has two goals: (1) to support UC’s mission as a public university and advance the global shift toward sustainable open access publishing by making UC-authored publications open to the world, and (2) control UC’s journal costs. UC faculty committees have set the libraries’ course for achieving these goals by urging us to work towards divesting from the subscription system and redirecting funds to invest in open access publication. Guiding faculty statements and messaging include:

    How will this model control costs and promote open access?

    Making open access publishing the default pathway for authors, and offering library support for article processing charges and financial support described above, will enable and encourage more authors — particularly those in disciplines without significant grant funding — to publish open access. 

    In addition, because the overall cost is capped — with UC’s “Reading Fee” (library payment for access to subscription content) decreasing as the publication related fees (library payments for open access publication) increase — the overall financial risk to UC authors and UC  is limited. The agreement includes mechanisms to control and reduce costs throughout the four years of the agreement. 

    The UC libraries reviewed a number of funding strategies (set forth in the Pathways to OA toolkit) that could help transition academic journals from subscription-based to open. One such strategy is to enter into a transformative agreement, in which institutions and publishers shift the publishing model “from one based on toll access (subscription) to one in which publishers are remunerated a fair price for their open access publishing services” (ESAC definition). That model is exactly what UC and Springer Nature have embarked upon. 

    Impact for Authors

    Am I included in this agreement?

    Yes, if you are (1) a UC affiliate (faculty, lecturer, staff, graduate student), AND 2) you are the article’s corresponding author, AND(3) you choose to publish your article open access in Springer’s subscription-based journals, including Springer, Adis, and Palgrave Macmillan titles, or one of their academic journals on nature.com.  (See above for information on Nature branded journals. )

    When you choose to publish your article open access in these Springer Nature journals, UC has negotiated a deal that makes it more cost effective for you to do so. If you want to publish in Springer Nature journals but do not want your article to be open access, you can still publish your article as paywalled content (available only to those with a paid subscription to the journal). 

    In addition, all UC faculty, lecturers, staff, and students have access to read an additional 1,000 Springer Nature journals under this agreement.

    Who is considered a corresponding author?

    The corresponding author is defined by Springer Nature as the person who handles the manuscript and correspondence during the publication process – from manuscript correction and proof reading, to handling the revisions and re-submission of revised manuscripts, up to the acceptance of the manuscripts. The corresponding author acts as the main contact for Springer Nature correspondence after editorial acceptance.

    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. They are also responsible for obtaining such agreements and for informing the co-authors of the manuscript’s status throughout the submission, review and publication processes.

    In addition, the corresponding author of the article who is affiliated with an eligible institution completes the author identification process and acts as the point of contact for any inquiries after the paper is published.

    Why am I being asked to use grant money?

    The UC libraries are committed to paying a substantial share of the article processing charge for all UC authors, including a full payment for authors who do not have grant funds available. However, the libraries’ budget alone cannot cover the full cost of open access publishing for every UC author while also continuing to pay for subscription access where needed.

    In general, publication costs can be charged to federal grants in the U.S. By contributing grant funds, particularly from federal agencies, UC authors demonstrate their commitment to making their publicly-funded research accessible to the public. Such payment is compliant with federal public access policies (although other routes to compliance, such as open access repository deposit, are also available to authors). Additionally, participating in this way ensures the pool of available funds for UC authors who do not have grant funding will be available to support their open access publishing.

    When will cost-sharing between the UC libraries and authors who publish open access begin?

    This cost-sharing model, in which the UC libraries pay a portion of the article processing charge and authors with grant funds available are asked to contribute the remaining portion, will begin in January 2021. 

    The libraries will pay the full cost of open access publishing for all UC authors publishing with Springer Nature during the agreement’s launch phase in late 2020, and continue to do so for authors who do not have grant funds or for authors whose grant funds are insufficient to cover their portion of the article processing charge.

    What if I don't have grant money but I want to publish open access with Springer Nature?

    You can still publish your article open access. If you do not have grant money, or your grant funds are insufficient to cover the remainder of the article processing charge beyond the libraries’ standard contribution, the UC libraries will pay your full article processing charge.

    What types of publications are covered by this agreement?

    All research articles and review articles are covered by this agreement, including the following article types:

    • Original Papers (reporting on original research) 
    • Review Papers (interpreting previously published results) 
    • Brief Communications (short articles submitted for rapid publication) 
    • Continuing Education  (articles that form an integral part of further education)

    Other article types (e.g., editorial material, book reviews) generally do not offer the option to pay a fee for open access, and therefore are not covered.

    How will the journal notify me of what to do, and how much I am being asked to pay?

    The author workflow is still being developed with Springer Nature, but there will be no payment requested from authors  until 2021.

    We anticipate that starting from approximately September through December 2020, upon acceptance of your manuscript, you will be asked to confirm that you want your article to be published open access at no cost to you.  If you wish, you may still opt out and publish your article on a subscription (pay-to-read) basis.

    As of January 1, 2021, upon acceptance of your manuscript, the UC libraries will automatically make a contribution of $1,000 towards the open access fee for your article. If there is any remaining balance due on the fee (beyond the $1,000), the Springer Nature system will ask if you have research funding available to cover the balance and, if not, the UC libraries will pay the rest of the open access fee as well. You will still have the option to decline the open access option and publish your article  on a subscription (pay-to-read) basis if you so choose.

    We will provide more details once the workflow is in place. 

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

    Yes. Where and how you publish is your decision. The agreement with Springer Nature does not mandate open access publishing nor does it dictate your journal selection. Rather, it makes open access publishing a more affordable option for most Springer Nature journals, and you can opt out. 

    What if I have questions or need help?

    Payment Workflow

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

    Basic information on the payment process is included in the Article Payment section of the main page for the Springer Nature agreement. 

    More detail will be provided here once the workflows have been established.

    Last updated October 21, 2020.
    Share