After talks with Elsevier stalled, the University of California has been working to advance open access. Here’s how.

With the semester underway, you might be curious about the status of the University of California’s negotiations with Elsevier, which stalled last year.

Since then, there has been progress with other publishers, as UC — with strong leadership from Berkeley — works to advance open access to its research.

Here’s what you need to know about UC’s latest open access efforts.

UC and Elsevier 

After negotiations stalled, UC and Elsevier have been in informal conversations and hope to continue them. UC and Elsevier plan to hold a meeting to explore reopening negotiations early this semester.

Over the past year, Elsevier has signed other transformative open access agreements, and we hope this suggests the publisher is ready to discuss deals that align with UC’s goals.

In the meantime, learn more about how the Library can help you find the Elsevier articles you need.


Share your views

Members of UC’s academic community are encouraged to participate in a short three-minute poll to gauge the impact of the loss of immediate access to current Elsevier articles via ScienceDirect.


Wiley and Springer Nature

UC is in negotiations with Wiley and Springer Nature to renew contracts that expired on Dec. 31. 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 previous contracts, while negotiations are underway. 

New agreements

UC has announced new publisher agreements, with the goal of supporting UC researchers who choose to publish their work open access:

  • UC was one of four major research institutions to enter 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 funding is not a barrier for UC authors who want to publish in JMIR journals.
  • Like the deal with JMIR, UC’s agreement with the Public Library of Science (PLOS), one of the world’s leading native open access publishers, has the UC Libraries automatically paying the first $1,000 of the fee to publish in a PLOS journal. Authors with no research funds available can request full funding from the libraries.

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 manuscripts for publication with Cambridge, they will be prompted to consider making their articles open access. The open access fee will be discounted by 30 percent, 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 let the UC Libraries stretch their funds and help as many authors as possible. As with UC’s agreement with JMIR, if authors do not have research funds available to pay the remainder of the open access publishing fee, they can request that the libraries pay their portion. Learn more about the agreement and what it means for you.

More to come

Conversations with other publishers are also in the pipeline, and we will let you know 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 email

Editor’s note: This article was updated Feb. 19, 2020, to include the agreement with the Public Library of Science.