Open access agreement for the University of California

Information for authors

If you are a corresponding author affiliated with the University of California (UC), you may be entitled to publish open access (OA) in our journals with funding support from the UC libraries. 

Starting January 1, 2021, UC corresponding authors1 will be able to publish their articles OA in Springer Nature's portfolio of journals with funding support from the UC libraries. The agreement includes over 2,200 hybrid journals2 and 500 fully OA journals across the Springer Nature's portfolio. 

From August 1, 2022, this also includes Nature, Nature Communications, Scientific Reports and the Nature Research journals. This is an extension that will see UC authors publishing in Nature titles also benefiting from the agreement.

1Acting as main contact for Springer Nature correspondence after editorial acceptance.

2Subscription journals that offer OA at the article level, allowing authors to make individual articles free for anyone to read, share and re-use. 

Read our new case study: Three US organizations reflect on their transition to open access >>

Find out more about your eligibility

Publishing OA in Springer, Palgrave & BMC hybrid and fully OA journals

The UC libraries will cover at least the first US$1,000 of each article processing charge (APC) for all UC corresponding authors who publish OA in hybrid and fully OA journals from Springer, Palgrave & BMC.

If there is any remaining balance due on the APC, Springer Nature will ask UC authors if they have research funding available to cover the balance. If an author does not have research funds available to cover the remainder of the APC, the UC libraries will pay the entire APC on the author’s behalf, ensuring that lack of research funds does not present a barrier for UC authors who wish to publish openly in these journals. The UC libraries encourage authors to take advantage of the agreement and publish OA. Even if the entire APC is paid by the UC libraries, it is not an unexpected cost.

Download the infographic to learn more.

Journal list

Check the list of journals that are included in this agreement.

Eligible journals
(XLSX, 532.39 KB)

Publishing OA in Nature Portfolio journals

The UC libraries will pay the first US$1,000 of each APC for all UC corresponding authors. This agreement covers OA publications in Nature, Nature Communications, Scientific Reports and original Nature Research journals across the life, physical, clinical and social sciences.

Journal list

Check the list of journals that are included in this agreement.

Eligible journals
(XLSX, 17.47 KB)


Who is considered the corresponding author?

The corresponding author is defined as the person who handles the manuscript and correspondence during the publication process – from manuscript correction and proof reading, to handling the revisions and re-submission of revised manuscripts, up to the acceptance of the manuscripts. The corresponding author acts as the main contact for Springer Nature correspondence after editorial acceptance.

The corresponding author has the authority to act on behalf of all co-authors in all matters pertaining to publication of the manuscript, including supplementary material. They are also responsible for obtaining such agreements and for informing the co-authors of the manuscript’s status throughout the submission, review and publication processes.

In addition, the corresponding author of the article who is affiliated to an eligible institution shall complete the author identification process and act as the point of contact for any enquiries after the paper is published.

How can I identify myself as eligible?

If you can say ‘yes’ to these statements, your article is eligible for publication under the open access agreement for UC.

  • I am the corresponding author.
  • I am affiliated with an eligible institution and can identify myself with at least one of the methods of recognition shown in the image below.
  • My article matches one of these types: Original Paper, Review Paper, Brief Communication and Continuing Education. Note: When publishing in a Nature Portfolio journal, Original Paper is the only applicable article type.

CDL author identification

Upon acceptance of your article, you'll also be prompted to provide your primary institutional affiliation.

How do I know if my article has been approved?

The approval manager at your institution will approve your article's eligibility based on your institutional affiliation, article type and journal name. Once your article is approved by your institution, you will be notified by email and your article will proceed to publication.

How is payment made for my article?

The UC libraries will cover the first US$1,000 of each APC for eligible articles. The authors are responsible for covering the remainder due on each APC through alternative funds, such as the author’s research funds. For Springer, Palgrave & BMC journals, the UC libraries may be able to provide additional funds if the author does not have funds to cover the remaining APC. This option however, is not available for the Nature journals. This agreement was built deliberately to manage the OA costs, and the UC libraries encourage authors to take advantage of the OA option.

How can I find funding for the APC balance not covered by this agreement?

The UC libraries will cover the first US$1,000 of each APC for eligible articles. Authors are able to use other funding sources for the balance not covered by the UC libraries. Visit our open access funding page to check whether your institution or research funder makes OA funding available. If you are publishing in a Springer, Palgrave or BMC journal, you may request further support from the UC libraries to cover the remaining balance if you do not have access to further funding.

Why has this agreement been reached?

Through this agreement, UC has repurposed former subscription spending to invest in open access publication and increase its researchers’ reading access to Springer Nature reading journals at the same time. As noted in UC’s press release announcing the agreement, “Open access publishing, which makes research freely available to anyone, anywhere in the world, fulfills UC’s mission by transmitting knowledge more broadly and facilitating new discoveries that build on the University’s research and scholarly work.”

Who can I contact for more information? 

Please email us at if you need further assistance.

Alternatively, visit the UC website about the agreement or contact your campus library.

What if I'm not covered by the agreement?

There are still plenty of ways to find funding for your APC. Visit our open access funding page to check whether your institution or research funder makes OA funding available.

How is the author identification process different for the new agreement?

The UC agreement submission workflow can be summarized in 5 steps:

  1. Article accepted: Article is accepted for publication in a hybrid or fully OA journal. As the corresponding author, you will receive an email invitation to complete the publication process for your article.
  2. Article identification: You can identify yourself as eligible by 1 of the 3 data elements (See FAQ: How can I identify myself as eligible?)
  3. Publishing OA: For articles that have been identified as eligible to be covered by the agreement, you will be presented with confirmation that you can publish OA with your fees covered.
  4. License: You will be asked to agree to an OA creative commons license (CC BY for the majority of the Springer Nature journals) on behalf of all co-authors.
  5. Publication: We ask all institutions to approve articles within 3 days to ensure rapid publication for our authors. Once approved, your article is published immediately OA.

If you have previously submitted under the BMC/ SpringerOpen membership, please note that author identification occurs on acceptance of your article, rather than during submission. This means that if you have submitted your article under the membership but publication happens from January 2021, you will need to re-confirm your institutional affiliation at acceptance.

What happens with BMC and SpringerOpen memberships?

The UC agreement with Springer Nature now replaces the BMC and SpringerOpen memberships for the following institutions, with at least the first US$1,000 of each APC covered by the UC libraries. Any articles published from January 2021 will be identified as part of the new agreement with Springer Nature (even if previously submitted under a BMC or SpringerOpen institutional membership). 

  • University of California, Irvine 
  • University of California, Santa Cruz 
  • University of California, Los Angeles 
  • University of California, San Francisco 
  • University of California, Santa Barbara
  • University of California, Riverside
  • University of California, Merced
  • University of California, Berkeley 
  • University of California, San Diego
  • University of California, Davis

Authors affiliated with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory continue to benefit from BMC and SpringerOpen membership with a 15% discount on BMC/ SpringerOpen APCs. Click here to learn more.

Ready to publish?

  • BMC
  • nature research
  • Palgrave
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