University of California announces agreements with IEEE and Nature, reaching open access milestone

Campanile peeks through campus trees
The University of California system, including UC Berkeley, has entered an open access agreement with IEEE and has extended its 2020 agreement with Springer Nature, adding the prestigious Nature journals to the deal. (Photo by Keegan Houser/UC Berkeley)

Editor’s note (Oct. 4, 2023): The University of California will end the open access publishing portion of its agreement with IEEE effective Jan. 1, 2024, due to low author participation. Funding for page charges will also end at that time. Reading access to IEEE publications will continue without interruption; only UC’s funding support for publishing with IEEE is ending.

Today, the University of California is announcing two open access publishing agreements, marking a significant milestone for the university system.

The first agreement supports open access publishing with IEEE, the world’s largest technical professional society, and among the largest publishers of UC research. The other is an extension of UC’s 2020 agreement with Springer Nature, adding funding support for publishing in the prestigious Nature journals. Previously, only titles in the Springer portfolio were eligible.

UC now has open access agreements with all five of the top publishers of UC-authored articles.

To date, UC has struck open access deals with 15 publishers, making it easier and more affordable for researchers across the university system to publish open access. Open access publishing, which makes UC research freely available to the public, is central to UC’s mission as a public university.

About the agreement with IEEE

The four-year agreement with IEEE, now in effect, allows UC authors to publish open access in all IEEE journals, regardless of whether they have research funds available to pay for open access publishing.

Authors who have research funds available for open access publishing will pay their own article processing charge, or APC. For authors who do not have the funds to pay the APC, the UC libraries will cover the full cost, ensuring that lack of research funds does not present a barrier for UC authors who wish to publish open access in IEEE journals.

The IEEE open access publishing agreement applies to articles accepted for publication from July 15, 2022, through Dec. 31, 2025.

The deal also provides UC scholars with reading access to over 5 million documents from the IEEE Xplore Digital Library, including scientific journals, proceedings, and standards.

For details, see the IEEE agreement FAQ on the UC Office of Scholarly Communication website.

About the agreement with Nature

Starting Aug. 1, 2022, the UC libraries will automatically pay the first $1,000 of the APC for UC authors who choose to publish open access in the Nature portfolio of journals, including Nature, the Nature research journals, Nature Communications, and Scientific Reports.

The remaining amount due on each APC for publishing in these journals must be covered by the authors themselves, using research funds. Authors without research funds to pay the remainder of the APC may publish their articles on a subscription basis.

While the Nature journals are not eligible for full coverage of the APC, UC authors publishing open access in Springer Nature’s other journals (including those in the Adis, Biomed Central, Palgrave Macmillan, Springer, and SpringerOpen portfolios, and hybrid academic journals on will continue to receive the UC libraries’ automatic $1,000 contribution, as well as the option for full coverage of the APC if they lack research funds for publication.

Springer Nature: Building on success

The expanded deal between UC and Springer Nature fulfills a commitment by the university system and the publisher to work toward a comprehensive open access publishing agreement that includes Nature, and builds on the success of the first two years of the agreement for the Springer journals.

Since the deal began in summer 2020, the number of UC-authored open access articles published in Springer Nature journals has tripled. UC researchers published more than 1,300 open access articles in Springer Nature journals in 2021, up from 400 in 2020.

All parts of the Springer Nature agreement, including UC’s reading access to all currently licensed Springer Nature journals, will continue through Dec. 31, 2024.

For details, see the Springer Nature agreement FAQ on the UC Office of Scholarly Communication website.