Springer Nature

Agreement ID sn2020cdl
Agreement labeling Springer Nature transformative agreement
Has the agreement been disclosed and published? Yes
Agreement period 09/30/2020 – 12/31/2023
Consortia / Institution California Digital Library (University of California)
Country United States

Approximate range of annual corresponding author publications


How do the costs of the agreement relate to previous subscription-only agreements with the publisher?

Cost decrease
Comments on cost development Cost is slightly lower than our previous license fee from the previous year.

UC Libraries will have an overall cost reduction of at least 5% for the Springer portfolio in 2021. In addition, UC’s subscription fees for the Nature journals will be held flat in 2021. The agreement includes mechanisms to control and reduce costs throughout the four years of the agreement.


Transfomative agreements vary by their transformative mechanisms, meaning the way in which financing is shifted from the subscription side to open access publishing. What are the characteristics of this agreement to this regard?


Our access fees depend on the OA publication rate in these journals – could be as high as about 20%, but could be as low as $0.

How do entitlements for open access publishing correlate to the anticipated article output? Which mechanisms for risk sharing have been agreed in cases of exceeding or not reaching the number of OA publishing entitlements?

The agreement features two primary risk-control mechanisms:

The Reading Fee portion of the agreement is reduced or even eliminated entirely if OA publication volume is sufficiently high. There is also a minimum and maximum number of hybrid OA articles that will be billed to UC in each year of the agreement, regardless of how many articles are actually published OA in that year.


Are all journals relevant to your affiliated authors (in which you expect them to publish) eligible for OA publishing under the agreement?

Are fully open access journals covered by the agreement? Yes
OA LICENSE CC-BY preference, exceptions allowed
Original research articles
Review articles

What is the approximate share of access related costs of the overall agreement?

Comments on access costs Access costs can be reduced depending on OA publishing uptake (higher uptake generally means lower access costs), with the total cost reaching $0 above a predefined threshold.

Are all read relevant journals covered by the agreement?

WORKFLOW ASSESSMENT Too early to assess
Especially given the scale of UC publishing with Springer Nature, this agreement will have a significant impact on transitioning UC’s research to open access, and advancing open access in North America. The agreement also sets a precedent that could have impact, given that it is the first transformative agreement Springer Nature has established in the United States, and the largest transformative open access agreement in North America to date. The agreement provides for a strong transition to OA since through it, the UC libraries are redirecting funds previously devoted to subscription fees to supporting open access publishing, and supporting publishing in full open access journals as well.

The agreement promises to be sustainable for several reasons:
*UC authors will have an opportunity to use research grant funds towards open access publishing fees through the multi-payer workflow that is being implemented;
*UC’s subscription fees for the Nature journals will be held flat in 2021; and
*The agreement includes mechanisms to control and reduce costs throughout the three-plus years of the agreement.

Operationally, this agreement is positioned for efficiency, given that Springer Nature has already developed open access workflows, and given the mutual interest in developing some kind of mechanism to make available an automatic approval option for some articles covered under the agreement.

We are very pleased that Springer Nature has agreed to implement our multi-payer workflow model, a key element to promote sustainability in advancing open access for a research-intensive institution such as UC, and we look forward to assessing its impact over the course of the agreement.

A comment on inclusion of OA journals, adding here as there is no place for comments above: Full OA Nature journals are excluded initially but can be included at any point at UC’s discretion. All other full OA journals are included.

Request contact to the licensee contact [at] esac-initiative [dot] org