Open access agreements with major publishing groups

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The UOC will have an APC bank with credits that can be used to publish articles in specific journals published by Elsevier, Wiley and Springer Nature.

The Conference of Rectors of Spanish Universities (CRUE) and the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) have negotiated improved subscription terms with four major publishing groups. These agreements, known internationally as transformative agreements, set a single price that covers both reading subscriptions to the content and publishing charges for open access articles in certain academic journals (the so-called article processing charge or APC).

The UOC, as a member of the Catalan University Service Consortium (CSUC), is a signatory to the agreements with Elsevier, Springer Nature and Wiley. The first two agreements will be in force until 2024 and the agreement with Wiley will be for 2021.

Apart from journals that require the payment of a publication fee (APC), in the academic publishing sector there are many scientific publishers that bear the costs of publishing open access articles so research teams do not have to pay for their publication. The UOC prefers this model, as stated in the current Open Knowledge Action Plan.

What do the new agreements mean?

  • The UOC community can continue to consult the journals to which the library subscribes, as at present. 
  • The UOC will have an APC bank with credits that can be used to publish articles in specific journals published by Elsevier, Wiley and Springer Nature. 

  • The agreements form part of a transition towards a model of open access publication by default, so everyone can read and share the results of research.

Who can publish in the affiliated journals?

There are still some issues to be settled prior to defining the guidelines that will be approved by the Research and Innovation Committee, chaired by Marta Aymerich, Vice President for Strategic Planning and Research. The committee's members include representatives of faculties and research centres and the administrative teams involved in supporting research at the UOC.

In 2021, the transition period, all researchers and doctoral students at the UOC who are corresponding authors of articles may opt to benefit from the credits.

The credits will be assigned in order of request, once the applicant's status is confirmed.

The first researchers to benefit from the agreements

Laia Canals, researcher and member of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, is one of the first to benefit at the UOC: "It was all very quick. The journal I wanted to publish in notified me that my institution had signed the agreement. The process was completed in just 24 hours, and the article was published in open access in four days," she said, concerning the publication of the article "Multimodality and translanguaging in negotiation of meaning" in Wiley's Foreign Language Annals.

Other beneficiaries of these agreements are Mireia Montaña, a member of the Faculty of Information and Communication Sciences and co-author of "Presence and strategic use of the Mediterranean diet in food marketing", published in the Elsevier's NFS Journal, and Cristina O’Callaghan, member of the Faculty of Health Sciences and co-author of "Blood lead levels in indigenous peoples living close to oil extraction areas in the Peruvian Amazon", published in issue 154 of Elsevier's Environment International.

How can I ask for a credit to cover an APC?

The procedure for accessing the APC bank is as follows:

  • Check which journals published by Elsevier, Wiley and Springer are included in the transformative agreement. 
  • Once an article is accepted for the peer review process of one of these publications, the journal will ask the UOC to approve a credit. 
  • The university will approve or turn down the request once it has confirmed that the requirements are fulfilled, and depending on the pool of credits available. 
  • The journal will notify the author of the decision. If refused, the researcher will be responsible for covering the APC (as has been the case to date), which is normally paid by their research group. This will not stop the article being published.

Further information

If you have any questions, contact the Library for Research (