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The University of California has reached a landmark deal with the world’s second largest academic publisher, Springer Nature, that could get more journal articles out in front of paywalls — and set a precedent for how scientific research is paid for, published, and shared.

The four-year agreement, announced on Tuesday, ramps up pressure on the world’s largest scholarly publisher, Elsevier, to concede to the demands of a growing number of academic institutions over payments for so-called open access research, which is freely available to the public. After the UC system last year walked away from negotiations with Elsevier, a cascade of academic institutions — the SUNY system in New York, the University of North Carolina, and most recently, MIT — have ended their own negotiations with Elsevier or significantly scaled back on new contracts with the publisher.

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