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Update and Poll on UC’s Negotiations with Elsevier and Other Publishers

As the quarter gets underway, we realize that many of you are curious about the status of the UC’s negotiations with Elsevier, which stalled last year. More on that below.

Meanwhile, there has been progress on several other fronts as UC works to advance open access to UC research in partnership with a diverse range of publishers.


After formal negotiations stalled in February 2019, UC and Elsevier have remained in informal conversations and are looking forward to continuing that dialogue. The parties are planning to hold a meeting to explore reopening negotiations within the first quarter of 2020.

Over the past year, Elsevier has signed other transformative agreements that include elements of cost containment and immediate open access, and we are hopeful this suggests the publisher is ready to discuss deals that align with UC’s goals.

Wiley and Springer Nature

UC is in cordial negotiations with Wiley and Springer Nature to renew contracts that expired on Dec. 31, 2019. In each case, UC and the publisher have a shared desire to reach a transformative agreement that combines UC’s subscription with open access publishing of UC research. Both publishers have extended UC’s access to their journals, under the terms of their prior contracts, while negotiations are underway.

New agreements: Association for Computing Machinery and Journal of Medical Internet Research

UC has announced two new publisher agreements, each with a different model to provide financial support for UC researchers who choose to publish their work open access.

  • UC was one of four major research institutions to enter into an open access publishing agreement with the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). Under the three-year agreement with this society publisher, the UC libraries will pay to retain access to ACM’s journals and other publications, and to ensure that UC researchers’ articles will be made openly available at the time of publication at no cost to the authors.
  • As part of a new two-year pilot with JMIR Publications — a native open access publisher of more than 30 digital health-related journals including its flagship Journal of Medical Internet Research — the UC Libraries will pay the first $1,000 of the open access publishing fee for all UC authors who choose to publish in a JMIR journal. Authors who do not have research funds available can request financial assistance from the libraries for the remainder of the costs, ensuring that lack of research funds does not present a barrier for UC authors who wish to publish in JMIR journals.

Each agreement expands UC’s portfolio of options for its authors who wish to make their research open access. As UC’s first such agreements with a society publisher and a native open access publisher, respectively, the two new pilots reflect the university’s commitment to finding ways to work with publishers of all types and sizes to advance open access to UC research.

Cambridge University Press: Agreement now fully implemented

After an initial kickoff phase in 2019, UC’s first transformative open access agreement, with Cambridge University Press, is now fully in effect. Starting this month, when UC corresponding authors submit their accepted manuscript for publication with Cambridge, they will be prompted to consider making their article open access. The open access fee will be discounted by 30%, and the UC Libraries’ $1,000 subsidy will be applied automatically. Authors who have research funding available will be asked to use those funds to pay any remaining amount, under a cost-sharing model designed to enable the UC Libraries to stretch their available funds and help as many authors as possible. As with UC’s agreement with JMIR, if an author does not have research funds available to pay the remainder of the open access publishing fee, they can request that the libraries pay their portion as well. Learn more about the agreement and what it means for you if you publish with Cambridge.

More to Come

Conversations with other publishers are also in the pipeline, and we will keep you apprised when there are major developments or new agreements to share.

If you have questions about any of these open access publishing agreements or negotiations, please don’t hesitate to contact the library at any time.


MacKenzie Smith, University Librarian and Vice Provost of Digital Scholarship

Dennis J. Ventry, Jr., Professor of Law and Chair, Academic Senate University Committee on Library and Scholarly Communication


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