Milner Library is pleased to announce a three-year open access agreement with Cambridge University Press. The deal, known as a Read and Publish agreement, allows research published by Illinois State University corresponding authors to be made open access in Cambridge’s open access and hybrid journals, without having to pay an article processing charge (APC).  

“Illinois State is one of a growing number of US institutions to have signed a Read and Publish agreement with Cambridge University Press,” said scholarly communication librarian Anne Shelley. “This deal is a meaningful commitment to open access, and it’s exciting to see Milner Library leading in this way.” 

The innovative agreement also greatly expands full-text access to CUP journals for ISU faculty, staff, and students. Previous access of approximately 80 journals is now increased to include all 400 titles published through Cambridge Core.  

Increasing Open Access Opportunities 

The publish feature of the agreement allows ISU authors whose manuscript has been accepted by a Cambridge University Press journal to make their work available open access for free, without having to pay an article processing charge (APC). Normally, the average APC for a journal published by Cambridge University Press would be approximately $3,000 per article. 

As with any deal, there is some fine print to the open-access part of the agreement. Only corresponding authors at ISU are eligible for the APC waiver. Also, manuscripts must be accepted between January 2021 and December 2023 and it must be original research, so book reviews are not eligible. Works can only be made open access in Cambridge’s gold open access or hybrid journals, but fortunately, this includes about 90 percent of the journals they publish. When an author’s article is published in a Cambridge open access journal, they will be asked to assign a Creative Commons license to their work. As long as the above criteria is met, there is no limit to the number of Cambridge University Press published articles that can be made open access each year. 

Breaking Down Barriers 

In addition to the increased journal access and the covered APCs, Milner Library was also drawn to the variety of disciplines represented in CUP’s suite of journals, which includes subjects across the humanities, social sciences, science, technology, and medicine. Often the ability to pay APCs to make research open access is more available in the sciences because they have more available grant funding to pay those fees. This agreement provides more opportunities for humanities and social science scholars to make their research open access without having to seek funding to pay an APC. 

Associate Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies Craig C. McLauchlan agrees that this deal has many positives for ISU. “This agreement is a nice way to provide more ISU scholars the chance to both see more content more easily and to publish in ways that allow more readers to see their work,” he said. “Although some scholars may use external grants or take advantage of ISU’s Publication Support funding to defer some of the costs, APCs can still be a barrier to publishing in certain journals or choosing open access.” 

The Cambridge University Press Read and Publish agreement is one of many ways that Milner Library is fulfilling its commitment to scholarly communication and open access. “The more libraries that are offered and sign on to these types of agreements, the more research will be available open access for anyone to use,” said Shelley. “Just six months ago, there were only four US institutions who had a Read and Publish deal with CUP. Now over 100 colleges, universities, and state and regional consortia are on board.” 

Additional Information 

Additional information about eligible authors and publications is available here. For more information about ISU’s Cambridge University Press Read and Publish agreement, please contact Associate Dean for Information Assets Rachel Scott at