A new open-access publishing agreement between the University of California and the world’s second-largest academic publisher, Springer Nature, will make more scientific research by UCLA authors freely and immediately available to individuals around the world. Under the agreement, all articles with a UC author published in more than 2,700 of the global publisher’s journals will be open access by default.

The four-year deal also provides students, faculty and researchers with reading access and perpetual rights to more than 1,000 journals to which the university did not previously subscribe. Under the agreement, UC users will retain the right to access journal articles published during the span of the agreement.

“This agreement is a step in UCLA Library’s quest to develop equitable models for open access,” said Virginia Steel, university librarian. “By expanding access to research, libraries make possible new discoveries, which contribute to accelerating the pace of scientific research around the world.”

These types of agreements between institutions and publishers have transformed the business model underlying scholarly journal publishing, moving from one based on toll access (subscription) to one in which publishers are remunerated a fair price for their open access publishing services.

Under the agreement, UC Libraries will pay a portion of the open access fee on behalf of all authors. Authors without available research funds for the remainder of the publishing fee can request that the library cover the entire amount. Authors may also choose to opt out of open-access publishing.

While broad-based, open-access publishing in the most well-known Nature journals is not initially included, the deal commits Springer Nature and UC to collaborating on an open science pilot in 2021 and developing plans for an agreement for all of the Nature journals to be implemented in the third year of the agreement.

Over the course of the 2019-20 year, UC has also implemented four other open-access agreements, with a diverse range of publishers — Cambridge University Press, society publisher ACM, and native open access publishers JMIR and PLoS — and conversations with other publishers are underway.

The open-access publishing provisions for the Springer deal will go into effect once the formal agreement has been signed. More details are available on the UC’s Office of Scholarly Communication website.

For general information, UCLA faculty and scholars should reach out to Alison Scott, associate university librarian.