The University of California announced its first open access pilot with a major publisher, Cambridge University Press, today. Under the agreement, all UC campuses will have subscription access to Cambridge’s collection of over 400 journals, and open access will become the standard option for UC-authored articles published in the majority of Cambridge journals.
This is the same type of agreement that UC was seeking with Elsevier, and that it continues to pursue with other publishers. A key component of the deal — and what makes it a transformative departure from traditional subscriptions — is that the subscription “reading” fee will go down as UC’s open access publishing goes up, so the university will see no significant overall increase in cost. By contrast, cost was a primary reason the negotiations with Elsevier stalled. Elsevier insists that open access remain a separate, additional revenue stream from subscriptions, so UC would have ended up paying them significantly more than we already do, with no cap.
Publishing with Cambridge
During the three-year pilot, open access will become the default option for articles with a UC corresponding author in most Cambridge journals.
- How will it work? To make open access more affordable, UC has negotiated a 30% discount on all article publishing fees; in addition, the UC libraries will automatically pay a significant portion of the new, lower fee for every author who chooses the open access option. Authors who have access to grant funding will be asked to contribute the final portion of the publication fee from their grants if they are able to do so; for those without access to funding, the university will pay the full publication fee directly to Cambridge.
- Timing: UC and Cambridge need time to develop a new system that includes a mechanism for authors to take advantage of UC’s subsidized open access option, and a way for authors to opt out. We hope to begin testing some components before the end of 2019, but faculty are unlikely to see major changes in how they publish with Cambridge before 2020.
- Author choice: Authors who prefer to publish behind the paywall will be able to opt out and do so. Authors retain control of how and where they want to publish their research.
As we work with Cambridge over this summer and fall to define the new workflow, we will seek faculty input to ensure that the new open access publishing process will be as simple and user-friendly as possible.
There are also a few exceptions:
- 110 of the society journals that Cambridge publishes are not currently included in the new open access model, because Cambridge’s agreements with those societies do not permit open access publishing at this time. Both UC and Cambridge hope to make open access available in more of these journals in future. (UC will have full subscription reading access to those journals.)
- Book publishing with Cambridge is also not affected, as the new agreement only covers journals. However, book authors interested in publishing open access should check out the TOME Open Access Monograph Fund, a separate five-year pilot UC Davis is participating in, which can cover the costs associated with open access book publication up to $15,000. (Other book publishers that participate in TOME are listed here.)
The three-year agreement with Cambridge is designed as a pilot. As we design and implement this new open access publishing process, the library will stay in close communication with faculty so that we can continue to refine the model. What we learn will inform how we work with Cambridge and other publishers in the future.
If you have questions about the UC/Cambridge agreement or open access publishing in general, please contact the library at OAsupport@ucdavis.edu.