This is What Open Access Looks Like!

The University of California announced two new open access publishing agreements today. The first supports open access publishing with the technical professional organization IEEE, which is among the largest publishers of UC research. The other is an extension of UC’s 2020 agreement with Springer Nature that adds funding support for open access publishing in the prestigious Nature journals; previously only titles in the Springer portfolio were eligible.

UC has now secured more than a dozen open access agreements with various publishers, a notable milestone in the University’s effort to make it easier and more affordable for its authors 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, enables UC corresponding authors to publish open access in all IEEE journals, regardless of whether they have research funds available to pay for open access publishing or not.

Authors who have research funds available for open access publishing will pay their own open access fee (known as an article processing charge, or APC). For authors who do not have sufficient funds available to pay the APC, the UC libraries will cover the full cost on their behalf, ensuring that lack of research funds does not present a barrier for UC authors who wish to publish open access in IEEE journals. The agreement also covers overlength page charges for all UC authors regardless of how they choose to publish with IEEE.

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

The deal also provides UC scholars with reading access to over five 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.

Update as of October 4, 2023

UC will end the open access publishing portion of its agreement with IEEE effective January 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. Learn more

About the agreement with Nature

Beginning August 1, 2022, the UC libraries will automatically pay the first $1,000 of the article processing charge (APC) for UC corresponding 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 remainder due on each APC for publishing in these journals must be covered by the authors themselves, utilizing research funds available to them. 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 Adis, Biomed Central, Palgrave Macmillan, Springer, Springer Open, 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. Contact the UCSB Library Scholarly Communication Support Team at if you have questions about a specific journal that has accepted your article for publication.

Springer Nature: Building on success

The addition of the Nature titles fulfills a commitment from both UC and Springer Nature to work towards 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 it began in summer 2020, the agreement has resulted in a three-fold increase in UC open access articles published in Springer Nature journals. UC researchers published over 1,300 open access articles in Springer Nature journals in 2021, up from 400 in 2020. UC is now on track for an even greater number of open access articles to be published in 2022 and beyond.

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

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

To learn more about UC’s open access publishing agreements, visit the UC Office of Scholarly Communication website or contact the UCSB Library Scholarly Communication Support Team at