The Public Library of Science (PLOS) and the University of California (UC) today announced a two-year agreement that will make it easier and more affordable for UC researchers to publish in the nonprofit open access publisher’s suite of journals. By bringing together PLOS, one of the world’s leading native open access publishers, and UC, which accounts for nearly 10 percent of all U.S. publishing output, the pilot breaks new ground in the global movement to advance open access publishing and empower more authors to share their research with the world.

“Scientific research is increasingly an international endeavor, often at its best when it crosses conceptual, disciplinary, and technological boundaries,” said Keith Yamamoto, Vice Chancellor for Science Policy and Strategy and Professor of Cellular Molecular Pharmacology at UC San Francisco, and a member of the PLOS Board of Directors. “Building that global continuum of discovery demands open, efficient, and rapid distribution of information. This agreement shows that key institutional stakeholders — universities and publishers — can work cooperatively to develop sustainable models that serve science, scientists, and trainees.”

Under the agreement, which the partners are working to implement this spring, the UC Libraries will automatically pay the first $1,000 of the article processing charge (APC) for all UC authors who choose to publish in a PLOS journal. Authors who do not have research funds available can request full funding of the article processing charge from the libraries, ensuring that lack of research funds does not present a barrier for UC authors who wish to publish in PLOS journals.

The pilot will illustrate that an institutional participation model that leverages multiple funding sources, rather than only grant funds, can enable a sustainable and inclusive path to full open access.

“This agreement is the result of open and fully collaborative discussions,” said Alison Mudditt, CEO of PLOS. “Open access publishers and libraries are natural allies, and we’re thrilled our first agreement is with UC, given their reputation for strong action supporting open access in the market. Open access is evolving. We have a duty to meet those changing needs with solutions that ensure the future of open access is accessible for all.”

Most institutional agreements have so far focused on subscription publishers that are transitioning to open access. PLOS and UC believe that institutional agreements of this kind can and should include native open access publishers since they are already aligned with current and emerging OA policies and mandates. This pilot builds upon UC’s commitment to a level playing field that supports all authors and all publishers in alignment with the university’s guidelines for evaluating transformative agreements.

“UC and PLOS have a long and close relationship as leaders in open access publishing — and this pilot builds on that partnership,” said Ivy Anderson, associate executive director of UC’s California Digital Library and co-chair of the team overseeing UC’s publisher negotiations. “We want to make it easier and more affordable for researchers to choose open access journals like PLOS when deciding where to submit their work for publication. We intend to continue to partner with a variety of publishers so that together we can help lead the transition to full open access.”