Cambridge UP: No charge for Cornell authors to publish Open Access

Peter McCracken, Cornell University Library

Faculty seeking to publish Open Access articles in Cambridge University Press’s 400+ journals can now do so without charge, thanks to an agreement between Cambridge University Press and the North East Research Libraries consortium (NERL), of which Cornell University Library is a member. Through this agreement, Cornell authors can choose to have their articles made freely available to all readers, which can dramatically increase the visibility of these articles. The agreement covers all Cambridge journals that offer an Open Access publishing option, which includes about 80% of all Cambridge journals, in subjects across humanities, social sciences, science, technology, and medicine. 

Open Access publishing makes articles readable by anyone with an internet connection. In most cases, however, authors are required to pay “article processing charges,”or APCs, in place of the lost subscription revenue; these fees are typically in the $1,000 to $3,000 range, but can go much higher. (At the same time, some journals do not charge any fees to authors or publishers; the publication costs are supported by a society or other organization.) Many publishers are now offering “transformative agreements” which cover these APCs through a flat fee that the library or institution pays to the publisher, so that faculty need not pay any APCs themselves. NERL negotiated a transformative agreement with Cambridge University Press on behalf of its members, which makes this opportunity available to Cornell authors. Cornell University Library is actively assessing similar transformative agreements from many other publishers, as well.  

In the first four months of 2023, over 20 articles by Cornell authors have been made Open Access, and therefore accessible to all readers, through this program. These articles reflect the broad diversity of Cornell research, including: 

  • mechanics of removing water from the ear canal in Journal of Fluid Mechanics 
  • constraints on hiring during COVID-19 in Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis 
  • representation of legendary Chinese general Yue Fei (1103-1142) in Journal of Chinese History 
  • a method for increasing biodiversity among intensive agricultural crops in Weed Science 
  • development of language production in a bilingual speaker’s second language in Bilingualism: Language and Cognition 
  • investigation of a technique for direct haploidization of diploid cells to enhance in vitro fertilization in Zygote 
  • analysis of a UN General Assembly Resolution to establish a Permanent Forum for People of African Descent in International Legal Materials 
  • study of overlap among users in an infinite server queue in Probability in the Engineering and Informational Science 

In addition to the Cambridge University Press agreement, Weill Cornell Medicine has an agreement with medical publisher Karger Publishers, to cover APCs that would be due by Weill Cornell Medicine authors. The library is also pursuing other initiatives that support Open Access publishing, such as “Subscribe to Open,” a plan that makes specific resources available to all after a certain number of institutions have subscribed; an internal fund that underwrites APCs in fully OA journals; a retrospective agreement with Elsevier, the world’s largest scientific publisher, which is making articles written by NERL authors between 1986 and 2000 fully Open Access; and a grant program for publishing Open Access books with various university presses.

More information about these and other Open Access and Scholarly Publishing initiatives can be found at  

Additional news from across the university

Recent news from the Library