Prestigious Cell Press and The Lancet journals added to University of California’s open access publishing deal with Elsevier

UC Berkeley campus with Campanile and blue sky
The breakthrough open access deal between the UC system, including UC Berkeley, above, and Elsevier has expanded to include Cell Press and The Lancet journals. (Photo by Keegan Houser for UC Berkeley)

The University of California’s deal with Elsevier in 2021 was a breakthrough for authors wanting to share the fruits of their research for free with everyone in the world in most of the publishing giant’s journals.

Cell Press and The Lancet journals were notable, and esteemed, exceptions to the deal when it went into effect. But now, that’s changing.

Starting Sept. 1, UC authors will be able to publish open access in the full suite of titles published by Cell Press and The Lancet — which includes some of the most prestigious journals in their respective fields — with financial support from the UC libraries.

Cell Press publishes 50 scientific journals in the life, physical, earth, and health sciences, including its flagship journal, Cell. The Lancet is one of the world’s oldest and most well-respected medical journals. The inclusion of Cell Press and The Lancet titles adds to the 2,300 Elsevier journals that have been part of the deal since it started in 2021.

The deal allows UC authors to publish their work so it’s freely available to everyone, everywhere — regardless of whether the authors have research funds to pay for open access publishing.

All authors who choose to publish open access will receive a 10 percent discount on the open access fee (also known as an article processing charge, or APC), and the UC libraries will automatically pay the first $1,000 of that fee. For authors who do not have funds available to pay the rest, the libraries will cover the full cost of the APC on their behalf, ensuring that a lack of research funds doesn’t present a barrier for UC authors who want to publish open access.

The deal with Elsevier is an example of UC’s shared funding model in action. Under the agreement, UC libraries use funds previously devoted to subscription fees to cover authors’ open access publishing fees, making it easier and more affordable for authors to choose to publish open access. Even with the UC libraries’ support, the model relies upon authors who do have funds to pay their share of the APCs.

In fact, UC is able to provide financial support for publishing open access in subscription-based Cell Press and The Lancet journals because many UC authors publishing with Elsevier in the past year have contributed their research funds to pay part of the open access article publication fees, according to Ellen Finnie, director of shared collections at UC’s California Digital Library.

“This important step is a reflection of how UC’s shared funding model can work,” Finnie said.

When UC reached its landmark open access agreement with Elsevier in 2021, the full suite of journals published by Cell Press and The Lancet were not included. UC and Elsevier had agreed that these high-cost journals would be phased in at a later date, once certain financial terms of the agreement were met.

For more information, please see an overview and FAQ about the Elsevier open access agreement.