The headline for a much-shared Wired story on the University of California’s read-and-publish deal with Springer Nature:

Universities Step Up the Fight for Open-Access Research

“Today’s deal,” reads the subhed, “is a big milestone on the path to dismantling paywalls around academic journals.”

Here’s Inside Higher Ed‘s headline:

A Landmark Open-Access Agreement

The Times Higher Education:

Landmark US agreement is hailed as ‘significant milestone’ in shift to open access publishing in North America.

And Publisher’s Weekly:

University of California, Springer Nature Sign Groundbreaking Open Access Deal

The headline hyperbole is, on the one hand, weird: The UC deal, though large, is mostly conventional, of a piece with the deals made by European consortia since 2014.

The headlines, indeed, seem to be lazy press-release mimicry. The UC release:

UC reaches groundbreaking open access deal with leading global publisher

And Springer’s own:

Landmark Transformative Agreement reached between Springer Nature and University of California

There’s nothing groundbreaking about the deal, even for the U.S. The bigger issue is that the coverage is a gift-wrapped present for Springer Nature and the other publishing conglomerates. Read-and-publish deals are about preserving the current subscription gravy train—and they’re succeeding in crowning the thirty-seven percenters as the OA royalty. Deals like this, moreover, promise to worsen global publishing inequalities.

A better headline: “UC Capitulates to Commercial Read-and-Publish Deal.”