Springer Nature open access agreement and Elsevier update

June 16, 2020

Dear Campus Community,

In the midst of what have been difficult times, we are pleased to share some very good news. The University of California has reached a transformative open access agreement with Springer Nature, the world’s second-largest academic publisher.

Under the agreement, all articles with a UC corresponding author published in more than 2,700 of Springer Nature’s journals will be open access by default, with the UC Libraries paying 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 if they wish.

While broad-based open access publishing in the most well-known Nature subscription journals is not initially included, the deal commits Springer Nature and UC to a Nature open science pilot in 2021 and to the development of plans for a transformative agreement for all of the Nature journals to be implemented in 2022.

The deal also includes perpetual reading access to more than 1,000 journals in Springer Nature’s portfolio to which UC did not previously subscribe.

The open access publishing provisions will go into effect once the formal agreement has been signed and will run through 2023.

Elsevier update

UC’s negotiating team continues to communicate with Elsevier, although progress remains slow. In fact, just last week MIT ended its negotiations with the publisher. While we don’t yet know what form UC’s final resolution with Elsevier will take, the university remains committed to getting closure and finding a path forward in the coming months. In the meantime, many publishers, including Elsevier, have temporarily made coronavirus-related articles freely available. And the Library remains committed to providing access to the articles you need

Meanwhile, the feedback we received from faculty, students, and researchers earlier this year confirmed that — while researchers are feeling the impact of UC’s lack of an Elsevier contract, particularly in the health and life sciences — the majority both systemwide and here at Berkeley remain supportive of UC’s position.

Moving forward

The new Springer Nature agreement — the largest open access agreement in North America to date — is an exciting note on which to end the academic year. This year, UC has also implemented four other transformative 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 wit h other publishers are underway.

Together, these deals demonstrate the broad potential of UC’s approach to transform scholarly publishing in the United States into a sustainable, open access model, and to provide public access to the fruits of UC’s research.

If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the Library at scholarly-resources@lists.berkeley.edu.

Thank you,

Paul Alivisatos
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost

Jeff MacKie-Mason
University Librarian and Professor

Oliver O’Reilly
Chair, Academic Senate, Berkeley Division

C. D. Blanton
Chair, Academic Senate Library Committee

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