California Universities Partner with Wiley on Landmark Open Access Agreement

The 10-campus University of California system and 48 private and public academic and research institutions represented by the Statewide California Electronic Library Consortium (SCELC) have reached a new open access agreement with Wiley, one of the world’s largest publishers. The three-year deal begins this month and will make more research eligible for open access publication than any partnership of its kind in California.

“Some of the most groundbreaking research in the world is done right here in California, driving advances in medicine, environmental sustainability and society. I am excited about this opportunity for more California scholars, from UC and beyond, to make their work freely available so that people around the globe can benefit from and build on their discoveries,” said Maria De Prano, professor of Art History at UC Merced and chair of the UC faculty Academic Senate’s systemwide committee on library and scholarly communication. “I appreciate the partnership of our colleagues at SCELC and Wiley for making open access to California research possible at this scale.”

This transformative agreement builds on existing partnerships over the past few years and will provide researchers and students with continued access to subscription content and funding support for open access publication in Wiley’s expansive journal portfolio.

“We’re very proud to continue our partnership with the University of California and SCELC, who are taking a revolutionary approach to advancing open access in the United States,” said Liz Ferguson, senior vice president, Wiley Research Publishing. “This new agreement will deliver even more benefits for scholars in California and will advance our shared aim of making scientific research more widely available.” 

The agreement redirects existing library subscription funds to enable authors at the participating institutions to publish articles open access at lower or no cost in more than 1,600 hybrid and gold open access Wiley journals. Authors with grant funds available pay a discounted open access publishing fee; the cost is covered in full for those who lack funding for publication.

“As a consortium, SCELC includes a diverse array of institutions with a range of research output. This agreement ensures access for our broad coalition of scholars while also helping smaller institutions manage costs,” said Lev Rickards, Assistant Dean for Collections and Scholarly Communication and Chair of SCELC’s Scholarly Communication Committee. “Wiley’s willingness to collaborate with us on cost savings says a lot about their commitment to the health of the scholarly communication system.”

The aim of this transformative agreement is to make it easier and more affordable for authors from SCELC and UC institutions to publish open access rather than behind a paywall, while also controlling the participating institutions’ journal expenditures. Like other transformative agreements at UC and SCELC, this deal aligns with the institutions’ missions and contributes to the global shift towards sustainable open access publishing by making more research and scholarship from California freely available to the world.

Commitment to Protecting Author Rights

The University of California’s 2023 agreement with Wiley broke new ground on another priority for UC faculty:  author rights. As part of these negotiations, Wiley will make a good faith effort to develop a new global license to publish agreement over the next six months. The goal, except for limited use cases, is for authors to retain unrestricted rights to their own work.

The agreement demonstrates how innovative, multi-institution partnerships can play a vital role in the open access movement by ensuring that researchers at academic institutions of all types can fully engage in the benefits of open access publishing.