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Publish: Transformative Open Access Agreements

Transformative Open Access Agreements

computer keyboard with return key replaced by key that has the word access and an open lock


The Caltech Library has several transformative open access (OA) agreements with institutions that shift the scholarly publication process from a subscription service to an open access model. These agreements allow Caltech authors to make all articles and conference papers in the corresponding publications open access immediately at no cost to the author. See below for details on the specific agreements. 

American Chemical Society

Press Release

WASHINGTON, May 17, 2022 — Three California consortia, representing nearly 60 academic and research institutions, and the Publications Division of the American Chemical Society (ACS) today announced the first-ever California-wide transformative open access agreement. It is also ACS’ first “read and publish” agreement in the U.S. composed of multiple consortia. Through a partnership with the 10-campus University of California (UC) system, the 23-campus California State University (CSU) system, and 25 subscribing institutions represented by the Statewide California Electronic Library Consortium (SCELC), readers and researchers at dozens of California research institutions will be able to benefit from full access to subscription content while receiving support for open access publication in ACS’ portfolio of more than 75 premier chemistry journals.

“This unique partnership across three consortia demonstrates that with open dialogue and determination, we can replace previously unsolvable challenges with mutual benefits that create greater value for our institutions and the broader scholarly community,” says Teri Gallaway, Ph.D., SCELC’s executive director. “SCELC is pleased to support this first-of-its-kind initiative to leverage the power of successful U.S. library consortia toward shared goals: to make more of California's research and scholarship available to the world, and to promote greater access to information resources at an affordable and sustainable cost.”

The agreement lasts through 2025 and is a collaboration between institutions with a variety of needs. It exemplifies how a multiparty deal can satisfy the needs of diverse organizations via a transformative agreement. The arrangement is unique, in that it engages funder support for open access in alignment with the partnership between the institutes and publisher. As the scholarly publishing industry transitions toward an open access future, innovations like this partnership will be crucial to ensuring that all educational institutions and their researchers can participate in the full benefits of open access publication.

“The CSU libraries are proud to join in this path-breaking partnership with the UC libraries and SCELC,” says Emily Bonney, dean of the CSU Fullerton Library and chair of the CSU Council of Library Deans. “We believe that collaborating with our colleagues across the state is the key to maintaining and improving a robust scholarly communication system for the citizens of California. We want our students and faculty to have access to the wealth of scholarly research not only while they are enrolled in school but throughout their lives.”

ACS is the fourth-largest publisher of scholarly journal articles by researchers in the UC system, which includes 10 campuses and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Making it easier and more affordable for those researchers to publish open access brings a potential for expanded visibility to their important scientific discoveries. Because the institutions involved collectively publish more than 11% of the nation's scholarly journal articles and deliver instruction to more than 1 million California students, the impact of this agreement will be felt widely across the chemistry community.

“Free and open access to academic research is critical to the acceleration of new discoveries,” says Jeffrey MacKie-Mason, Ph.D., university librarian and professor at UC Berkeley and co-chair of UC’s negotiation team. “This unique partnership will give Californians and people around the world unprecedented access to the knowledge created by our institutions as we seek to solve some of the world's most pressing environmental, health and scientific problems.”

A read and publish agreement is a way for institutions to maintain access to scholarly content available only through subscription, while supporting the transition to open access publishing by their affiliated researchers. Institutions are, in effect, redirecting their expenditures on subscriptions to cover the open access article publication charges. Through this partnership, hundreds of researchers at 58 institutions will be supported as they publish open access at a discounted rate in any ACS journal.

“ACS is very excited about this new agreement, as it takes the workflows behind read and publish deals to the next level,” says Sybille Geisenheyner, director of open science strategy and licensing at ACS. “As we embark upon this partnership, we invite funders to engage in this collaboration to support this transformation.”

“At ACS, we are committed to expanding our partnerships and innovating new ways to advance open access publication in chemistry,” says James Milne, Ph.D., president, ACS Publications Division. “I am confident that institutions around the world will see this collaboration as a prime example of creative thinking supporting the advancement of open science, for the benefit of chemistry and the world.”


About the Agreement

Note: ACS does not conduct research, but publishes and publicizes peer-reviewed scientific studies.

About UC’s transformative open access agreements: Transformative open access agreements support the University of California’s mission as a public university and advance the global shift toward sustainable open access publishing by making more UC-authored research articles open to the world, while maintaining journal affordability. UC seeks to partner with publishers of all types, sizes and disciplines to jointly advance a worldwide transition to open access across the entire landscape of scholarly journal publishing. For more on these aims and principles, see UC’s Call to Action for Negotiating Journal Agreements at UC, the UC faculty Academic Senate’s Declaration of Rights and Principles to Transform Scholarly Communication and UC’s priorities for publisher negotiations.

The California State University (CSU) is the largest four-year regional, public university system in the United States with 23 campuses enrolling 477,000 students and employing 56,000 faculty and staff. The Chancellor’s Office coordinates approximately 80 annual library e-resource contracts for over 325 library e-resource products, with a $30 million budget for the 23 CSU libraries who serve their students, faculty, and the public with their diverse research needs. 

The Statewide California Electronic Library Consortium (SCELC) was established in 1986 to develop resource-sharing among the libraries of private academic institutions in Southern California. SCELC has grown to include libraries across California and 38 other states and is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt corporation. Among the top five North American consortia in terms of licensing volume, SCELC represents 112 Member institutions, over 200 Affiliate institutions, an aggregate student population of approximately 500,000, more than $200 million in library budgets, and holdings comprising more than 21 million volumes. SCELC libraries can license nearly 2,500 electronic resources from more than 100 vendors.

Text based on American Chemical Society press release and website.

American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB)

More information coming soon.

Annual Reviews S20

Subscribe to Open (S2O) is a business model that uses subscription payments to convert gated access journals to full open access (OA).

Under S2O, institutional customers continue to subscribe to the journals that their patrons value. If support is sufficient, new volumes are published OA under a Creative Commons license; if support is insufficient, the paywall is retained. Thus, S2O is a subscription model, not a voluntary donation approach. It offers a partnership for rapid and equitable conversion to OA for readers and authors in all disciplines.

S2O provides Diamond OA, meaning that the article is immediately available with no access barrier and no author fee.

S2O is endorsed by OA2020 and by cOAlition S.

S2O is inclusive; it is applicable to all readers and authors, in all disciplines, in all countries.

Text based on Annual Reviews Subscribe to Open website.

Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)

Press Release

In March 2020, the California Institute of Technology committed to ACM OPEN, a transformative open access publishing agreement with the ACM (Association for Computing Machinery), alongside several other partner institutions (Carnegie Mellon University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of California system, and Iowa State University, among others). The agreement, which runs for three years beginning January 1, 2020, covers open access publication in all of ACM’s journals, conference proceedings, and magazines for all Caltech corresponding authors (as well as authors from any of the other participating institutions), along with subscription access to the ACM's Digital Library, excluding ACM Books. 

Through participation in this transformative agreement, the universities are transitioning their annual library subscription fees for ACM to open access publishing fees. In doing so, they have expanded the universe of readers and the scholarly impact of their authors by making their ACM-published articles open immediately upon publication.

  • Agreement Basics
  • Caltech Payment for Open Access
  • Resources

Agreement Basics

This agreement enables Caltech corresponding authors to make all articles and conference papers in the ACM Digital Library open access immediately at no cost to the author. Instead, Caltech is paying ACM a single fee to cover both article publication costs and subscription access. Authors who elect open access may select a Creative Commons license for article sharing and reuse. In addition, all Caltech corresponding authors can choose to retain copyright in their articles regardless of open access status.

Caltech faculty, staff, and students also continue to receive unlimited and unrestricted access to all content (open access and subscription) in the ACM Digital Library.

Caltech Payment for Open Access

Through this agreement, no article-level payments are necessary to make articles from Caltech corresponding authors open access in the ACM Digital Library; instead the Caltech Library is paying a single fee to cover both subscription access to the ACM Digital Library and open access publication costs. Until the mechanics of the agreement are in place, Caltech authors whose articles are accepted by ACM and who want to publish open access may request this option from ACM, and may be contacted directly by ACM for this purpose. There should be no charge to Caltech authors, so, if you do receive an email with an invoice, simply reply to the email and reference the Caltech/ACM open access arrangement. ACM will recognize email addresses of corresponding authors as being Caltech affiliates.  Use of other email addresses by a Caltech corresponding author will require additional work to secure the Open Access benefits of the ACM OPEN agreement.


Text based on University of California Office of Scholarly Communications ACM OPEN website.

Astronomy & Astrophysics

Press Release

Paris, France, 4 April 2022: Following the announcement made in October 2021 that Astronomy & Astrophysics (A&A) would move to the Subscribe-to-Open (S2O) open access model in 2022, the A&A board of directors and EDP Sciences are pleased to announce that A&A has now received the required level of support and will be published open access in 2022 under the terms of this transformative model.

“For more than 50 years, A&A has been publishing pioneering, peer reviewed scientific content,” said Professor André Moitinho de Almeida, Chairperson of the A&A Board of Directors. “Above all, we are a community journal, and as we move into the age of open science, we are committed to a sustainable transition to open access through the innovative approach offered by S2O.”

“We are delighted by the support the community has shown enabling A&A to convert to full open access this year,” added Dr. Thierry Forveille, Editor-in-Chief of A&A. “We therefore celebrate the opening of our content through Subscribe-to-Open which will maximise effective and open communications for the astronomical and astrophysical communities.”

From 4th of April 2022, newly accepted A&A articles will publish under a CC-BY 4.0 license allowing authors to retain the copyright and others to share and adapt the content. A Creative Commons license also enables authors to be fully compliant with the open access requirements of their institution or funding organisation(s). With the release of other articles under embargo, all content will be freely available for everyone to access and read.

“We thank all our library partners and institutions whose support has made this transition possible,” said Dr. Agnès Henri, Managing Director, EDP Sciences. “However, the journey doesn’t end here; as the community comes to understand and favour S2O, we hope that annual renewals will become easier thereby ensuring A&A and other S2O journals continue to publish open access in the years to come.”


About Astronomy & Astrophysics

Astronomy & Astrophysics (A&A) is a peer-reviewed community journal that publishes original research in astronomy and astrophysics. The journal is an international consortium governed by a Board of Directors who set the policies for A&A including general guidelines for publishing, the selection of the Editors, the various financial aspects, as well as membership of new countries.

The Editors are astronomers that are independent of any government or administrative body associated with the journal. A&A promotes diversity and equity in science and embraces open, inclusive, and fair practices that reflect the culture and values of the worldwide community of astronomers. Educational initiatives sponsored by A&A and EDP Sciences, such as the Science Writing for Young Astronomers (SWYA) workshops, educate and develop early career astronomers.


About EDP Sciences

EDP Sciences was established in 1920 by a prestigious academic community of French learned societies seeking to inspire, innovate and inform others by sharing their knowledge. Members of this community included eminent scientists like Marie Curie, Paul Langevin and Louis de Broglie. Today, EDP Sciences publishes high-quality scientific journals, conferences proceeding, books and magazines in a broad range of scientific, technical, and medical disciplines. Since November 2019, EDP Sciences is owned by Science Press which is itself majority-owned by the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). CAS is a prestigious learned society and the world’s largest research organisation. EDP Sciences has always been, and continues to be, the publishing partner of scientific communities throughout the world. As well as A&A, EDP is successfully publishing their Mathematics portfolio in open access through the S2O model.


About A&A’s Subscribe-to-Open Model

Subscribe-to-Open (S2O) is an alternative subscription model which enables libraries to use their budgets to support open access publishing. Existing subscription workflows and channels are used, and the financial structure of the journal does not change in any other way.

Under the S2O model, existing subscriber institutions are asked to subscribe as usual and as long as the expected subscription income is received, then the journal is published in open access. In this way, institutions secure access for their members, support journals for the common good of the academic community and demonstrate their commitment to equitable open access.

From the 4th of April 2022, A&A articles will be freely available for anyone to access and read. This will be reviewed every year, depending on the level of subscription renewals.

See the A&A S2O FAQs for more details.

Text based on Astronomy & Astrophysics press release.

Company of Biologists

Caltech authors can publish Open Access articles and reports free of charge in the journals Development, Journal of Cell Science, and Journal of Experimental Biology. The Caltech author must be the corresponding author and must select “Open Access” during submission and include a Caltech email address and affiliation.

European Mathematical Society (EMS)

Press Release

The Press has successfully flipped 17 journals to open access for 2022 with its Subscribe To Open programme.

EMS Press, the publishing house of the European Mathematical Society, today announces that it has again achieved complete success with its Subscribe To Open (S2O) programme. The collection, containing 17 journals – expanded from 10 in 2021 – will become fully open access for 2022. The additional 7 titles include the recently joined Annales de l'Institut Henri Poincaré C and the newly-launched Memoirs of the European Mathematical Society - a first in the S2O space. The expansion to 17 titles makes the Press one of the largest S2O publishers in the world, further establishing the Press’s position as a pioneer in fair and sustainable open access.

The following journals have successfully met the Press’s criteria for sustainable publication and will be made open access via its S2O programme:

  • Annales de l'Institut Henri Poincaré C
  • Annales de l'Institut Henri Poincaré D
  • Commentarii Mathematici Helvetici
  • Elemente der Mathematik
  • EMS Surveys in Mathematical Sciences
  • Groups, Geometry, and Dynamics
  • Interfaces and Free Boundaries
  • Journal of Combinatorial Algebra
  • Journal of the European Mathematical Society
  • Journal of Fractal Geometry
  • Journal of Noncommutative Geometry
  • Journal of Spectral Theory
  • Mathematical Statistics and Learning
  • Memoirs of the European Mathematical Society
  • Portugaliae Mathematica
  • Quantum Topology
  • Revista Matemática Iberoamericana

CEO André Gaul said “I’m pleased our subscribers have embraced the S2O model we offer, and see the value in supporting fair and sustainable alternatives to APC-based open access. A second year with an expanded OA collection is a ringing endorsement of what we’re doing here.”

The Press was able to achieve such strong results thanks in part to its innovative “solidarity model”, distributing shared revenues to support titles with lower incomes, thus allowing them to achieve their sustainability thresholds. The team will then work to make these titles independently successful in future years.

Further details of the methodology used to assess journals for open access status will be published in due course. The Press will announce 2023’s S2O titles later this year and encourages libraries, consortia, funders and other national groups to get in touch if they would like to hear more about how they can proactively support the S2O initiative.

About EMS Press

EMS Press is the publishing house of the European Mathematical Society, the not-for-profit organization dedicated to the promotion and development of mathematics in Europe. We have a digital and print portfolio of 25 peer-reviewed journals and a growing catalogue of over 200 books. Our editorial mission is to publish high-quality research for both the European and global mathematics community. We focus on technology-driven solutions for academic publishing, and are committed to delivering fair and sustainable open access.

Text based on EMS Press Release.


Press Release

We are delighted to announce that the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) has formed an open access publishing agreement with Frontiers.

The Caltech Library supports its researchers in making their research more widely available. As part of this support, the Caltech Library has entered an institutional agreement with Frontiers. Under the terms of this agreement, Caltech-affiliated corresponding authors will benefit from a 15% discount on article-processing charges (APCs) when publishing in any of Frontiers’ open access journals, irrespective of what fund covers the APC.

This discount is applied to the net APC, i.e. the APC, which would otherwise be payable after deduction of any other discounts that may apply.

If a Caltech-affiliated corresponding author submits their manuscript with a Caltech institutional email address, the discount will be automatically applied. If submission is done with another email domain, but Caltech is indicated as the affiliation, Frontiers will verify eligibility for the discount with the Caltech Library.

This agreement will further encourage Caltech authors to publish open access, increasing uptake of open access for fellow researchers and the public at large to the results of mostly publicly funded research, while reducing costs.

For information on whether your article is eligible under this agreement, please email

For information on Frontiers’ institutional agreements, please visit their institutional membership page.

Text based on the Frontiers press release.


Institutional Open Access Program (IOAP)

MDPI is dedicated to providing free access to the latest research. To cover the costs of publishing open access, authors are billed for article processing charges (APCs) for accepted papers. Some institutions may find that associated authors regularly publish in MDPI journals, and that administering the increasing number of APCs can be time consuming. Our open access program aims to support institutions through the following means:


We offer simplification of administrative processes in order to reduce the overheads associated with APCs.

  • Invoices can be bundled and paid in bulk or issued on the same day each month.
  • In place of invoicing individual authors, we offer central payment, where invoices are all sent to a single university address.

Opting in and out of the scheme is also straightforward.

  • There is no cost and no complex contract with hidden terms and conditions.
  • Participating institutions can cancel at any time.
  • Sign-up is also simple, just fill in the online form.

Access and Transparency

  • All institutional participants receive free access to Susy, our online submission system. It provides a wide range of meta-data on articles under processing, as well as articles published from associated authors since 2010.
  • Data from Susy, including information on invoices, can be exported to Excel with a single click.
  • Institutions can choose to be notified about new submissions, and receive alerts when a paper is accepted or published. Notifications can be enabled or disabled directly from Susy.
  • Susy provides information on the status of published and submitted articles, including author names, the APC for each paper, actual invoiced amounts, dates of submission and publication, and much more.

APC Discounts

  • Authors affiliated with participating universities receive a discount on the APC for any paper published in an MDPI journal. Note that only one discount through an IOAP scheme is permitted per paper, and that the discount can be combined with other available discounts (e.g., reviewer vouchers or discounts offered by the Editorial Office).
  • Researchers can also benefit from a 10% discount on the Book Processing Charges for MDPI Books.
  • A list of current APC charges is available at

Institutional Repository Deposits

  • Receive automated deposits of papers from affiliated authors to the institutional repository.
  • Deposits are made in a standard format using the SWORD 1.3 protocol.

Matching Paper and IOAP Participants

When a paper is submitted, it is automatically matched to an IOAP participant based on the email address. Authors are asked to confirm the choice, or select an institution if none was found. MDPI staff verify each selection as part of the initial screening of submitted papers.

For further information, see MDPI's FAQ.

Text based on the MDPI IOAP website.

MIT Press

This agreement provides OA access to all MIT Press scholarly monographs and edited editions, approximately 90 titles/year. Participating libraries also receive term access to backlist (~2300 titles) when they join. It is important to note that the backlist is access only (no perpetual rights).

MSP Journals

Subscribe to Open

Our five most-established journals are switching to S2O.

We are excited to have found an open-access model that is equitable and makes sense for mathematics. Starting with 2023, we are adopting the Subscribe to Open model for these journals:

Geometry & Topology,
Algebraic & Geometric Topology,
Algebra & Number Theory,
Analysis & PDE, and
Pacific Journal of Mathematics.

Each year, if enough subscribers continue to support the journal, that year’s articles will be published open access — free to read by everyone and with no author charges.

What Is Subscribe to Open?

Subscribe to Open (S2O) is a pragmatic and ethical approach for converting subscription journals to open access (OA; free and immediate online access to research articles), one year at a time and without relying on either author charges (APCs) or exclusively on altruism.

S2O relies on the support of the community, and uses the libraries’ existing processes for acquiring subscriptions. Libraries are invited to commit to subscribe or renew their subscription before a deadline early in the calendar year. For articles to be published in 2023, this deadline is 15 February 2023.

If support is sufficient, then that year’s articles will be published open access under a Creative Commons license.

If support is insufficient, then the paywall is retained, as for a traditional subscription.

Further, late subscribers who had not committed to participate will now be charged a higher price.

The only way for an institution to be guaranteed uninterrupted access and the best price is to participate (and commit before the deadline). All paying subscribers will enjoy permanent access to that year’s articles, one-year access to the journal’s entire backlist, and access to usage statistics. S2O is a subscription model, not a voluntary donation. It funds a public good (open access to articles) by using each institution’s pursuit of its own interests.

The offer will be repeated every year, with the opening of each year’s content dependent on sufficient participation for that year.

We will expect almost full renewal of our subscriptions. If even a few current subscribers do not renew, it is likely that we will not be able to make that year open access.

S2O is considered a transformative agreement, satisfies most funders’ open-access requirements, and has been endorsed by a number of open-access organizations, including cOAlition S.

Text based on the MSP Subscribe to Open webpage.