Access Points

UC reaches major open access publishing deal with Springer Nature

Making more of the university’s research freely and immediately available to individuals and researchers across the globe, the University of California has reached a transformative open access publishing agreement with Springer Nature.

The deal furthers the global push for open access to scientific research by bringing together UC, which accounts for nearly 10% of all U.S. publishing output, and the world’s second-largest academic publisher in Springer.

UC Santa Barbara has been a key player within the UC in the open access movement.

The new agreement is the largest of its kind in North America to date, and the first for Springer Nature in the U.S., signaling greater global momentum and support for open access. Open access publishing fulfills UC’s mission by transmitting knowledge more broadly and facilitating new discoveries that build on the University’s research and scholarly work.

“This is an exciting time for achieving what universities are always meant to do: share our research freely to all who wish to access the work,” said Kum-Kum Bhavnani, a professor of sociology at UC Santa Barbara and chair of UC’s faculty Academic Senate. “The UC negotiating team stayed strong and knew, that because they were arguing for publishers to do the right thing, they were supported by UC faculty, as well as faculty at other universities in the U.S. and around the world. Open access has implications for so much that goes on within universities — this is a real sea change for academic work.”

As leaders in accelerating the pace of scientific discovery, UC and Springer Nature aim to get research into the hands of scholars and the public to help solve the world’s most pressing problems, including those in the critically important fields of medicine and health care.

The recently achieved deal demonstrates that UC’s model for transforming the scholarly publishing landscape is a reasonable, sustainable approach that can be piloted with publishers of all sizes, including the largest among them.

“This landmark agreement shows how it’s possible for publishers to partner with UC to create a financially sustainable path for the transition to open access publishing,” said Kristin Antelman, UC Santa Barbara librarian. “As the fifth such transformative deal, and by far largest, that UC has negotiated in the past year, we are well-positioned for continued success in the year to come.”  

Under the four-year agreement, all UC research published in more than 2,700 of Springer Nature’s journals will be open access. In addition, the deal commits Springer Nature and UC to launching an open science pilot project in 2021 and to developing a transformative path for the prestigious Nature journals, to be fully operational by the third year of the agreement. The deal, which also provides UC students, faculty and researchers with access to over 1,000 journals to which UC did not previously subscribe, upholds the University’s goal to manage its costs for academic journal subscriptions responsibly.

The UC a year ago secured an open-access deal with Cambridge University Press, its first such agreement with a major publisher.

Also in 2019, UC Santa Barbara was among universities to sign on to OA2020, an international initiative to explore ways of advancing open access in partnership with scholars, libraries, publishers and funding agencies.

That move was a means of UCSB affirming its belief that research generated at a public institution should indeed be available to the public at no cost. Securing universal open access to UC research while containing the rapidly escalating costs associated with for-profit journals is a long-held goal of UCSB and the UC more broadly.

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