Following Springer Nature’s successful transformative agreements (TAs) in Europe and North America, the company is pleased to announce its first TA in the Asia-Pacific region. The agreement with the Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL) will give members of the CAUL consortium the ability to publish their research open access (OA) in over 2000 journals, making it CAUL’s largest TA to date.
“Has anyone else noticed the conflict of advice that exists in the Springer Nature (SN) SharedIt initiative? On the face of it, it appears a good thing – actively encouraging authors to share their research – until you get into the weeds of what is permitted and required. [Added emphasis in quotations are all mine]
SN states that it
“wants researchers to share content easily”
and that it wishes
“to enable researchers to share articles of interest with collaborators and colleagues. We also wish to enable authors to share their research articles widely”
and proudly trumpets that using its SharedIt initiative
“links to view-only, full-text subscription research articles can be posted anywhere – including on social media platforms, author websites and in institutional repositories – so researchers can share research with colleagues and general audiences.”
For now, let’s skate over the fact that this initiative is ‘read only’. As a SN author at this point, you might think – great. Unfortunately, it is not that simple.
Those pesky Terms & Conditions
You have been sent the SharedIt link to your article and are excited because you’re told that you:
“Can post shareable links to view-only versions of [your] peer-reviewed research paper anywhere, including via social channels, institutional repositories and authors’ own websites as well as scholarly collaborative networks.”
It says ‘anywhere.’ Excellent. Then you read the SharedIt Terms & Conditions (Ts & Cs).
“We support a reasonable amount of sharing of content by authors, subscribers and authorised users (“Users”), for small-scale personal, non-commercial use provided that you maintain all copyright and other proprietary notices.
This is quite a difference: only a “reasonable amount of sharing” is supported. That is a long way from “anywhere”. It certainly doesn’t sound like the “wish to enable authors to share their research articles widely” SN started out with. ‘Small-scale’ is even more limiting. I would have expected researchers might want ‘mega-scale’, worldwide interest in and access to their hard-won work….”
“The final published version – known as version of record, or VOR – is not some artificial construct of publishers. We know from our recent research with 1,400 researchers, as well as an analysis of article usage, that it is overwhelmingly the VOR that researchers want to read and cite – and it is also the VOR of their own research that, as authors, they want others to read and cite. They find the VOR easier to read, more reliable, and more authoritative and credible because of the reassurance provided by peer review and the stamp of credibility provided by proof of publication in a recognised journal.
Researchers also highlighted the value added to the VOR through the publication process, compared with earlier article versions (the submitted manuscript or the accepted manuscript), including copy-editing and typesetting. Critically, VORs include figures and links to relevant open data, open code and open protocols. This facilitates open science for the whole research system – which is the main goal of making research articles OA in the first place.
Green OA typically revolves around posting the accepted manuscript, but the cost of creating these is, in essence, borne by library subscriptions given that they are created as part of the process of being published in paywalled journals. This is a problem in itself: OA should be about removing paywalls, not becoming dependent on them. Attempts to make accepted manuscripts more widely available do not reflect researchers’ needs and could set back the transition to full (gold) OA and the realisation of the benefits of open science.
Second, as good as transformative agreements are, they have their limits. The industry-standard contract stipulates that a paper’s eligibility for gold OA depends on whether the corresponding author’s institution is part of the agreement. But the UKRI OA policy applies to all co-authors it funds in whole or in part. This is significant. We estimate that between 30 and 40 per cent of papers that have at least one UK author do not have a UK corresponding author and therefore wouldn’t be covered by existing transformative agreements. Those co-authors risk of being left without a viable funded OA publishing route….”
The evolution of scholarly communications has accelerated in recent years, and 2020 for obvious reasons put even more pressure on the sector to evolve and adapt. By opening up access to research publications, by simplifying or customising the digital experience, or by improving the speed of publishing – the focus is firmly placed on the need for publishers to work more in partnership with each other, with institutions, funders, and new players in the market to develop solutions that meet the evolving needs of researchers and the wider community. Partnerships between different actors in the research process address challenges in practice and help advance open science, publishing, and the research system as a whole.
“The BDJ [British Dental Journal] has become what is termed a Transformative Journal (TJ)….
A TJ commits, among other things, to continuously increase the OA share each year and to ‘flip’ to full OA for primary research once a 75% threshold has been met, and to maximise take-up of the OA option by proactively promoting the benefits of OA to authors of primary research articles….
How soon the 75% OA content is reached is difficult to estimate. It is probably some years away, but the important aspect is the commitment to aim for this transformation while also continuing to develop the value of the journal both in print and online for all users.”
Comments from Springer Nature and the Publishers Association (and no other “experts”).
Watch this short video summarising three key findings from ‘Diversifying readership through open access: A usage analysis for OA books’. This white paper by Springer Nature and COARD is based on usage data for 3,934 books, including 281 open access books. The white paper presents the analysis of that data, exploring what effect if any, publishing OA has on the geographic usage of books. The findings will be of interest to researchers, authors, librarians and publishers alike. Download the full white paper: www.springernature.com/diversifyingreadership
“The DEAL agreements provide a framework to orient institutional investments around open dissemination of research, but budgeting for the open access publishing needs of researchers can be challenging for stakeholders. While previous library subscription fees are known, the entity of investments in open access publishing of articles (APCs) before the DEAL agreements is, in most cases, unknown, as publishing trends of authors were not previously tracked and payments were largely made outside of central oversight.
The DEAL Cost Modeling Tool is an interactive, Excel-based tool that addresses this challenge, giving every institution the means to calculate their total costs with the publishers Wiley and Springer Nature and assess the financial impact of the DEAL agreements on the immediate and long-term, in a variety of cost scenarios.”
“According to the agreement between Springer Nature and the VSNU (Association of Universities in the Netherlands), Dutch corresponding authors are allowed to publish up to 2,080 open access articles per year without additional article processing charges (APC).
We expect to reach the national annual quota of 2,080 publications in September/October 2021. This means that the deal will be suspended and UG/UMCG articles will no longer be eligible for the usual 100% discount on the open access fee. Depending on the outcome of the new round of negotiations with Springer Nature, Dutch corresponding authors may be able to use the new allocation of OA fee waivers as of 1 January 2022….
As per UG and UMCG regulations, closed access articles will be made open access via Pure, but only six months after publication and without an open license.
This is possible thanks to Article 25fa of the Dutch Copyright Act (also known as the Taverne amendment), which grants Dutch-affiliated researchers the right to make their short academic works open to the public for free after a short embargo period. Researchers don’t have to do anything themselves. The University of Groningen Library (UB) and the Central Medical Library (CMB) will take care of opening up all qualifying publications via Pure.”
“Springer Nature has signed its first sponsorship agreement for open access books with LYRASIS, a US non-profit membership association of libraries, archives, and museums, starting in 2021. The agreement is set to lead to the publication of new open access book titles. The collaboration will focus on climate change, equity, peace, and justice and will provide free access to research in critical areas that support the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Springer Nature is helping to advance the SDGs through a dedicated SDG publishing programme, bringing to light and disseminating important knowledge related to the world’s most pressing challenges. Since the SDGs were launched in 2015, Springer Nature has published more than 300,000 relevant articles and book chapters, which have been downloaded more than 750 million times. Springer Nature is also leading the way in open access book (OA) publishing, first piloting open access books in 2011. Its open access book portfolio now includes over 1,400 titles spanning all academic disciplines, with more than 170 million chapter downloads worldwide. As research shows that open access books are downloaded ten times more often and cited 2.4 times more, reaching 61% more countries compared to non-open access books, this new sponsoring partnership will foster the advancement of science as well as the visibility, dissemination and impact of research on these critical challenges.
The new open access book titles will be published under the Springer Nature imprints of Springer and Palgrave Macmillan under a CC BY 4.0 licence to give readers around the world free access to the books via Springer Nature’s content platform SpringerLink. …”
“Humanities book authors value the benefits that publishing open access can bring. Open access books are easy to find and share, allowing for authors to increase the real-world impact of their work.
Open access can support authors’ desires to increase interdisciplinary discussion and use of their work, and to reach a larger and broader audience outside of their normal networks to students, policymakers and the general public. Publishing an open access academic book can also help with career advancement.
On this page you can find interviews with some of our featured book authors talking about their experiences of publishing open access, as well as open access book highlights from our Humanities list (History, Literature, Culture and Media Studies, Religion and Philosophy). Open access funding can sometimes be challenging to find, so you can also find a list of some of the funders who have supported our featured books, and information on our free Funding Support Service….”
“If you want to publish your scholarly book open access, watch this video to find out how it works at Springer Nature. Learn about the 6 steps to getting more impact for your research including peer review, copyright and licencing, and dissemination. German and English subtitles are available. Want to learn more about the benefits of publishing an OA book? Watch our first video ‘Why publish an open access book?’ then head over to our website: www.springernature.com/oabooks. ”
“Since 2014, when Springer Nature pioneered its first transformative agreement (TA), the publisher has been leading the way enabling country level flips to open access (OA). Its latest national TA with Spain takes Springer Nature’s number of national TA’s to 14, 13 of which are in Europe. Through its TAs Springer Nature supports researchers from over 2,100 institutions, double that of any other publisher, in publishing OA.
This latest TA for Springer Nature, agreed with the Conference of Rectors of Spanish Universities (Crue Universidades Españolas) and the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), is a clear example of the publisher’s continued commitment to driving OA and enabling sustainable open science practices globally.
The agreement will enable the 58 affiliated Universities of Crue & CSIC, responsible for over 90% of scientific research production in Spain, to publish OA in Springer Nature’s portfolio of over 2,300 titles including the Adis titles. With their work freely and universally available from the point of publication, this agreement will further enable the world’s students, scholars and scientists to read, share, use and reuse Spanish-funded research on a global scale. Affiliated researchers from Crue & CSIC institutions will also have full access to all Springer and Adis subscription journal content. The agreement is expected to see over 2200 articles a year from researchers in Spain published OA, and will run for four years up to 31 December 2024….”
Abstract: The German DEAL agreements between German universities and research institutions on the one side and Springer Nature and Wiley on the other side facilitate easy open access publishing for researchers located in Germany. We use a dataset of all publications in chemistry from 2016 to 2020 and apply a difference-in-differences approach to estimate the impact on eligible scientists’ choice of publication outlet. We find that even in the short period following the conclusion of these DEAL agreements, publication patterns in the field of chemistry have changed, as eligible researchers have increased their publications in Wiley and Springer Nature journals at the cost of other journals. From that two related competition concerns emerge: First, academic libraries may be, at least in the long run, left with fewer funds and incentives to subscribe to non-DEAL journals published by smaller publishers or to fund open access publications in these journals. Secondly, eligible authors may prefer to publish in journals included in the DEAL agreements, thereby giving DEAL journals a competitive advantage over non-DEAL journals in attracting good papers. Given the two-sided market nature of the academic journal market, these effects may both further spur the concentration process in this market.
“Springer Nature and the University of California (UC) today launched a new initiative to gain greater understanding of researcher attitudes to and motivations towards open research practices (including open access articles, data, and code; transparent peer review; and preprints). As part of the partnership, participating UC authors will also have the option to trial Guided Open Access (GOA) for some flagship Nature titles….”