The UC system announced a deal with SAGE Publications, or SAGE, on Tuesday to make academic articles more accessible for both authors and readers.
According to Jeff MacKie-Mason, co-chair of the negotiations team, the deal reallocates the money used toward providing scholars at the 10 UC campuses and at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory with access to read SAGE-published work toward funding for scholars to publish articles open access.
“Much research has shown that publishing articles open access increases their impact, as more scientists, practitioners (including doctors and engineers, for example), and government employees are able to afford to read our research,” MacKie-Mason said in an email.
The deal will provide a discount of 15% to 20% on open-access publishing costs, MacKie-Mason said. He added the discount varies based on SAGE’s individual journals.
Additionally, according to Lucy Robinson, SAGE director of research, since Jan. 1, the UC libraries have been contributing $1000 towards the article processing charge for each article published through SAGE, with the remainder funded by the researcher’s own department. The deal will be effective until Dec. 31, 2024, she said.
If authors are unable to fund the remaining charge, they can request the library cover the entirety of the cost by submitting a request and providing a reason, Robinson noted.
“Along with allowing all UC-authored articles published by SAGE to be open access, the deal will let UC scholars continue to have unlimited reading access to the publications of other authors,” MacKie-Mason said in the email.
Negotiated by experts from the California Digital Library, a department within the UC Office of the President, the deal took more than 18 months to negotiate after a proposal was submitted in 2018, according to MacKie-Mason. He noted the deal was finalized in February 2022.
MacKie-Mason emphasized the deal is one of 13 open-access publishing agreements the university reached during the past three years. He added that together, the agreements benefit a total of 47% of UC-authored articles.
The open access will also be particularly valuable to citizens, practitioners and scholars from lower-income regions who do not have resources to pay for subscription access.
SAGE, which functions as an independent company, is the largest publisher of social sciences research for the university, according to Robinson. It is also the fifth-largest publisher of all UC-authored articles.
Robinson also said social sciences publishing typically receives less funding than medical and STEM publications, emphasizing that open-access publishing is made more difficult as a result.
“That speaks a little bit to some of the significance of the deal because it is something that we are always looking to expand with the reach of social science research,” Robinson said.