May 19, 2022

Springer Nature and University of California Announce Transformative Agreement, Largest Transformative OA Agreement in North America to Date

From the Announcement:

Springer Nature, the largest open access (OA) publisher, and the University of California (UC) have agreed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for a transformative agreement (TA). The agreement, which is the largest transformative open access agreement in North America to date, and the first for Springer Nature in the U.S., signals increasing global momentum and support for the open access movement.

The agreement will enable all UC researchers to publish OA in Springer Nature’s portfolio of over 2200 hybrid journals as well as in over 500 Springer Nature fully OA journals, including those in the BMC portfolio.  It also provides reading access to all journals in the Springer portfolio which represents over 1000 additional new titles, delivering benefits to librarians and researchers.

It is a significant first step in UC and Springer Nature’s OA partnership.  The MOU also commits both parties to the following important partnerships with the Nature Research portfolio:

  • Expanding support for the fully OA portfolio to include the Nature Research fully OA titles including Nature Communications and Scientific Reports in a next phase as funding allows.
  • Launching a joint pilot project with Nature Research to explore the impact and scope of open science content which will provide insight and learnings that can be exported elsewhere in the US, and beyond.
  • Developing a transformative path for the Nature Research subscription journals including Nature, to be fully operational in the third year of the agreement.
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Key elements of the MoU:

  • The final contract will run from 2020 to 2023.  During 2020, after signature of the contract and before the multi-payer mechanism is implemented, UC authors will be able to publish their articles with OA as the default option in Springer hybrid journals at no additional cost.
  • From 2021, all UC corresponding authors will be able to publish their articles with OA as the default within the Springer Nature Hybrid Portfolio as well as in the Fully OA BMC and SpringerOpen journals, with financial support from the UC libraries.
  • Springer Nature will offer a 15% discount on the list price article processing charges for OA publishing in BMC and SpringerOpen titles; the 2020 list price will be used in 2021, and price increases of article processing charges in subsequent years will not exceed 3.5% per journal title. For the hybrid portfolio, the list price for 2021 is set at the 2019 APC level with a 2% increase in the last year of the agreement (2023).
  • From 2021, the OA agreement will include the multi-payer model approach that will see UC cover the first US$1,000 of each APC for applicable titles. The remainder due on each APC will be covered either by the authors themselves (utilizing research funds available to them), or by UC when such funds are unavailable. Authors publishing in hybrid journals will be able to opt out of OA publishing if they so choose.
  • An open science pilot study for the Nature branded subscription journals will be jointly undertaken in 2021, to be accompanied by planning for a transformative agreement for Nature and the Nature-branded journals to be available at the beginning of 2022.  Nature Research fully OA journals will also be addressed in a later phase.
  • UC will have complimentary backfile access to issues of included journals during the contract period back to 1997.
  • Going forward, the agreement grants UC with permanent reading access to over 2,200 journals in the Springer, Palgrave, Adis and Macmillan portfolios.

Read the Complete Announcement

See Also: Additional Details via U. of California

Media Coverage

Huge Open-Access Journal Deal Inked by University Of California and Springer Nature (via Science)

Universities Step Up the Fight for Open-Access Research (via Wired)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.