As the publishing arm of the University of California system, UC Press supports the UC libraries in their cancellation of the Elsevier “big deal” package. As small to medium-sized publishers of largely humanities and social sciences (HSS) journals, university presses (including UC Press) have had to compete for diminishing library resources to support our publishing programs. Due to the growing costs of these “big deal” packages, libraries cannot afford to subscribe to valuable journals from university presses with greater frequency. As a result, crucial HSS scholarship is difficult or impossible to access outside of R1 universities. (R1 is the classification for doctoral universities with “very high research activity” access).

UC Press is committed to being part of a thriving, diverse scholarly communications ecosystem, and we continue to support a mixture of open access and subscription models in the following ways:

  • By maintaining liberal “green OA” policies for authors
    • Disciplines without external research funding continue to be challenged in their transitions to “gold” open access models, due to the need for article processing charges to sustain journals that utilize an OA business model.  Liberal policies around self-archiving and deposit of final articles in institutional repositories allows for enhanced access to scholarship that would normally reside behind paywalls.
  • By building sustainable transitions to OA publishing in HSS disciplines through our own publishing programs
    • Our forthcoming journal Civic Sociology will have an article processing charge (APC) of just $500.
    • Our forthcoming journal Media and Environment will utilize a “platinum” OA model, in which an outside sponsor takes responsibility for the costs of publication of a fixed number of articles per year.
  •  By keeping subscription costs affordable
    • As a nonprofit publisher, UC Press strives to publish high-quality, peer-reviewed research with competitive pricing, thereby providing excellent value for librarians and faculty alike.
    • Through participation in Research4Life partnership, which allows for low or no-cost access to UC Press journals in the Global South.
  • By ensuring subscriptions to UC Press journals includes access to the original digital availability date of the journal
    • This accessibility is critical, due to the “long tail” nature of humanities scholarship in particular in which relevance is not strictly tied to currency.
  • By engaging with issues of OA at the systemwide level, through participation in the UC’s Office of Scholarly Communication as well as other systemwide bodies devoted to fostering sustainable transitions to OA.
  • Through the ongoing exploration of new, innovative journal publishing opportunities that are mutually beneficial to researchers, students, universities, institutions, and libraries.

UC Press will continue to maintain its commitment to offering high-quality, peer-reviewed journals through a program that strives to expand access and offer excellent value to subscribers.  We support the UC libraries and the faculty of the University of California in their attempts to restore diversity and balance to the scholarly communications landscape.

Erich van Rijn

Director of Journals and Open Access, University of California Press

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