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How we negotiate with publishers

The University of Warwick’s relationship with publishers

Traditionally University’s had two very separate relationships with publishers. One, managed by the Library, allowed access to a publishers content to support the University’s Research, Teaching and Learning. The other relationship was between our Researchers as authors, publishing the results of their work in journals and long form publications. With the growth of open access and the requirements by funders that publicly funded research results should be available publicly, these relationships have blurred.

Representatives of the UK Universities' sector, alongside Jisc, have long been negotiating deals with academic publishers that allow UK researchers to publish their work open access in a way that is more cost-efficient and straight-forward. These deals aim to reduce institutional spend with academic publishers, whilst increasing the amount of UK research that is published open access.

Below is a summary of, updates on, current and past negotiations with academic publishers around open access publishing.


Ensuring open access to research publication is a key priority for UK universities and research funders. In recent years, this priority has begun to be mandated immediately on publication by research funders via cOAlition S, an international consortium of research funders. UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is part of cOAlition S and is therefore committed to cOAlition S' principles for achieving full and immediate access to publicly funded research. These principles are known as Plan S. The UKRI's open access policy reflects Plan S, illustrating and contributing toward a shift in the UK publishing landscape to immediate open access publication.

Most major research funders mandate that grant-holders provide open access to the outputs of their research: authors are required to make their publications openly available to academic and non-academic audiences.

The University of Warwick supports this aim as our Research Strategy states:

The central pillar of academic research excellence remains publication in high quality journals, or publication of monographs with leading publishers. In a climate where Open Access and Open Research Data are increasingly standard, we will support the academy via the provision of the necessary Library services, funding and support, to ensure our researchers embrace the Open Research agenda.

An alternative model

Publishers and research institutions are developing a range of new business models to find sustainable approaches to open access publishing. The University of Warwick has taken advantage of these ‘transitional’ or ‘read and publish’ agreements where it provides good value for money on both the read and publish sides of the deal.

This allows us to support the wide dissemination of research in a more sustainable way, as these agreements often restrain the costs of the individual elements, as well as allowing more researchers to publish open access at no additional charge to them. These agreements also make the process simpler for our authors. Transitional agreements are supported by cOAlition S funders: they help to transform scholarly publishing to meet the Plan S goal of achieving full and immediate open access to peer-reviewed scholarly publications from research funded by public and private grants.

University of Warwick Advisory Group

To co-ordinate the University of Warwick's contribution to this process, the Library is working with representatives across all disciplines within the University's academic community via the Open Research Group and a newly formed advisory group that will specifically support our response to negotiations with publishers.

Negotiations with Springer Nature Group 2022

UK institutions are in negotiation with Springer Nature to secure a sustainable read & publish agreement for the Nature, Nature research journals and Palgrave journals.

The key points

  • UK Universities are engaged in negotiations to reach a deal that will enable us to not only read these journals, but also publish with open access at no additional cost
  • The negotiations concern Nature, Nature research journals and Palgrave journals. They also include a renewal of the existing transitional open access (OA) agreement for over 2,000 other Springer journals
  • Reaching a transitional agreement is particularly important to make it easier for our authors to comply with UKRI and other funders' policies. The aim is to reach an affordable read and publish deal
  • In the meantime, Cambridge authors can still publish in Nature, Nature research journals and Palgrave journals, taking alternative steps to ensure their work complies with funder requirements

The Sector must be prepared to walk away from any deal that does not meet our requirements. This situation would lead to a loss of access to Springer Nature content.

What is a 'transitional agreement

The aim of these negotiations with Springer Nature is to achieve a 'transitional agreement' on a read and publish model, in which Springer Nature will receive payment for providing access to their journal portfolio and payment for publishing, bundled into a single contract. This will enable corresponding authors at the University of Warwick to publish reviews and primary research articles open access in Nature, Nature research journals and Palgrave journals with no article processing charge (APC), as this fee will be met centrally.

This outcome will need to be sustainable and affordable for the whole UK Universities sector. It will enable the University of Warwick to support the wide dissemination of its research and scholarship - with the further benefit that the process of publishing open access in these journals will be simpler for Warwick authors.

Why is an OA agreement necessary

Open access is the best way to ensure that everyone around the world can read and apply your work. Many researchers and funders have been asking for all publications to be open to maximise their reach and impact. UKRI and other funders have specific policies requiring immediate open access for all articles they fund. 

To comply with most funders, your article can be made open access in the following ways:

  • through the payment of Article Processing Charges (APCs) to publish without a paywall in a journal that can be accessed openly by everyone, everywhere. If the journal is fully open access, or is hybrid and also part of a transitional agreement, it is often possible to request that your funder pays the APCs on your behalf
  • if the journal does not offer an open access option, or if it is a hybrid journal but there are no funds to cover APCs, you can still publish the manuscript simultaneously in a publicly-accessible repository such as the University of Warwick's repository, WRAP. Include a rights retention statement when you submit the manuscript to enable you to do this
  • Hybrid journals give authors the choice to pay an APC and make their article open access or publish for free but have the article behind a paywall. If you publish in a hybrid journal, it is possible that your funder will only pay for open access charges if that journal is part of a transitional agreement
  • Nature, Nature research journals and Palgrave journals are hybrid journals that have recently been give transformative journal status by Jisc. As such, they are eligible for APC payments from block grants, as long as other conditions are met
  • UK Universities are negotiating to reach an affordable, sustainable OA agreement with Springer Nature that will ensure both that authors can comply with their funder requirements AND be eligible for assistance with the payment of APCs

What to do if you want to publish in these journals now

If you want to submit to a hybrid journal and there are no funds to cover open access charges, you can include a rights retention statement when you submit your manuscript, which enables you to make an open access version of the article available on Apollo immediately at the time of publication. This will make the article compliant with UKRI and many other funders' policies, by enabling everyone to read it for free.

Alternatively, Springer Nature have committed to guarantee a compliant route to publication for UKRI-funded corresponding authors. To take advantage of this mechanism, authors need to contact Springer Nature’s author support team: OAfundingpolicy at springernature dot com.

Like to know more

Further updates on this situation will be added here and more information on the national negotiations at Jisc.

If you have any questions please contact us at openaccessfund at warwick dot ac dot uk.