Chefs de Cuisine: Perspectives from Publishing’s Top Table – Steven Inchcoombe – The Scholarly Kitchen

“As a leader in academic publishing, what most excites you right now?

I do think that making virtually all aspects of science open – its outcomes (i.e., articles and books), its data, its code, its techniques, etc. – has huge potential to improve trust in science and to accelerate its impact. Targeting this at finding solutions to UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has to be the most important and exciting opportunity we all face. This will require imagination and an ability to better combine people and technology than ever before….

What do you anticipate the major challenges will be for Springer Nature, and indeed the publishing industry, over the next five years?

I think the greatest challenge is for us to find a way to make the transition to Open Science, including open access (OA), sustainable and equitable for all. Beyond this core challenge, we need to make sure that the determined and adaptable criminals and state actors that want to use our networks, our products, and our content to make illicit gains or gain access to the personal and institutional data of our customers are not able to succeed. These damage our customers and our reputations, and we must work together to prevent this.

 What does open access / public access mean for your business?

We strongly believe in the benefits to the whole research process of immediate OA to the article version of record (VoR) which means Gold OA. Other forms, such as Public Access (PA), offer benefits mainly outside of the research system, but so far we haven’t found a way of making them financially sustainable. Of course, OA is a precursor to Open Science, which I think is the greatest prize, but OA by itself still enables many benefits such as getting more research out to more researchers faster, into the hands of policy makers and businesses, and the wider public….”

Open access publishing deal for low-, middle-income countries

“Academics based in 70 low- and middle-income countries, including those in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, will be able to have their primary research published Gold Open Access by Nature – at no cost – thus enabling their scientific work to be permanently and freely available online for anyone to read.

Academics in the regions that are set to benefit from the announcement have welcomed the development, but some have also raised questions about the longer-term impact on the development of the publishing industries in low- and medium-income countries and diversity in the industry.

Springer Nature announced earlier in January that financial support, via a dedicated fund, has been made available to support authors from 70 countries classified by the World Bank as low-income or lower-middle-income to help them have their research published open access in Nature and the Nature-branded journals….

These high article processing fees for Gold Open Access publishing systemically exclude the participation of scholars from developing countries, said Dr Edmond Sanganyado, assistant professor in environmental forensics at Northumbria University, United Kingdom, and a committee member of Global Young Academy….”

Let peer review be transparent | Communications Earth & Environment

“For all peer reviewed articles submitted from 23rd January 2023, we will publish the editor decision letters, reviewer reports and author responses, together with the published paper. Reviewers can choose to remain anonymous or reveal their identity….

At Communications Earth & Environment, we are convinced that opening up the scholarly discussions that precede publication of our articles will deepen understanding of the scientific process and help spark trust in science. We are enormously grateful for the time and effort our reviewers put into elaborating on the merits and shortcomings of papers with the aim to improve them. We are impressed by the detailed and positive letters our authors send back along with their revisions in response to the points raised by the reviewers. And we are proud to put care and thought into our editorial decisions and give constructive guidance to our authors by explaining our take on the reviewer comments….”

Nature announces support for authors from over 70 countries to publish open access: Authors from low-income and lower-middle income countries to be able to publish for free in Nature and the Nature research journals

From today, primary research from authors from over 70 countries classified by the World Bank as low-income (LIC) or lower-middle-income economies (LMICs) accepted for publication in either Nature or one of the Nature research journals (e.g. Nature Chemistry, Nature Sustainability) can now be published Gold open access at no cost. This move recognises that local funding is rarely available for publishing OA in specialist journals like Nature, whose characteristics such as in-house editorial teams and low acceptance rates make it difficult for authors from these countries who are less well-funded.  

Innovative Silicon Valley-based medical journal, Cureus, becomes part of Springer Nature as company expands its health division | Corporate Affairs Homepage | Springer Nature

The Cureus Journal of Medical Science has been acquired by Springer Nature. With its innovative business model, Cureus solves the challenge of open access (OA) publishing of peer-reviewed articles by medical professionals without access to research grant funds. 

Springer Nature completes acquisition of multi-disciplinary preprint platform Research Square Company | Library Technology

London, UK and New York, NY — December, 1 2022. RSC comprises American Journal Experts (AJE), which provides best-in-class AI-powered and professionally delivered author solutions, and Research Square, the world’s number one multi-disciplinary preprint platform.

After a long partnership and period of partial ownership, Springer Nature has increased its investment in Research Square Company (RSC) to take full ownership.

The acquisition reflects the shared ambition of the two companies to provide faster, better, quality-assured author solutions. This includes helping authors improve their manuscripts prior to submission and share their research both before and after publication.

It will strengthen Springer Nature’s ability to provide solutions designed to better meet the needs of all researchers and bring forward the open science revolution. For example:

AJE’s best-in-class digital editing tools and leading Research Impact Solutions help authors get published and increase awareness of their research post publication

Research Square’s multidisciplinary preprint platform allows every author to enjoy the benefits of sharing their research early


Springer Nature and The Lens partner to accelerate the use of science to advance solutions to global challenges | UKSG

Springer Nature and The Lens have announced a partnership that will give better insights into how academic research and data can accelerate innovative problem solving with economic and social outcomes. By better connecting science, investment and enterprise open data, the partnership aims to provide the insight needed by diverse stakeholders to coordinate their capabilities to deliver evidence-based action for climate change and other global challenges.

Through this partnership, The Lens’ open knowledge platform of hundreds of millions of patents and publications ( will be further linked with Springer Nature’s database of tens of millions of pieces of scholarly literature.



Pioneering OA agreement in Asia signed between Springer Nature and Japanese universities | Corporate Affairs Homepage

Springer Nature has agreed the largest Transformative Agreement in Japan with 10 institutions participating in an innovative pilot. This will see nearly 900 articles published OA in the coming year, marking a significant step forward to Open Science in the region.  


Extension of partnership with Code Ocean will help Springer Nature authors to better share their code and data | Corporate Affairs Homepage | Springer Nature

“Following a successful trial, Springer Nature is extending its partnership with Code Ocean to better integrate code deposition and peer review with the manuscript submission process. Authors from select Nature portfolio titles will now have the option to share their code and data using the code ocean platform when they submit to one of the participating journals, and receive expert support to do so.

Speaking on the partnership, Erika Pastrana, Editorial Director, Health and Applied Sciences, Springer Nature said: “Code is a key component of research and increasingly computational approaches are utilised or developed as part of a research project. At SN, we want to support authors openly sharing and publishing the key research objects that support the manuscript, such as code, data and protocols. The sharing of code and data improves reproducibility , reduces duplication of effort, supports better transparency and enables faster advancement of research . Moreover, we believe that the code (and other key research objects) should be peer reviewed alongside the manuscript. For this reason, we have looked to deploy suitable technological capabilities to support authors and reviewers to comply with our open science policies. …”

Elsevier absent from journal cost comparison | Times Higher Education (THE)

“Of the 2,070 titles whose information will become accessible under the JCS, although not directly to researchers, 1,000 belong to the US academic publishing giant Wiley, while another 219 journals owned by Hindawi, which was bought by Wiley last year, also appear on the list.

Several other fully open access publishers will also participate on the comparison site including Plos, the Open Library of Humanities, and F1000, while learned society presses and university publishers, including the Royal Society, Rockefeller University Press, and the International Union of Crystallography, are also part of the scheme.

Other notable participants include the prestigious life sciences publisher eLife, EMBO Press and the rapidly growing open access publisher, Frontiers.

However, the two of the world’s largest scholarly publishers – Elsevier and Springer Nature, whose most prestigious titles charge about £8,000 for APCs – are not part of the scheme….

Under the Plan S agreement, scholarly journals are obliged to become ‘transformative journals’ and gradually increase the proportion of non-paywalled content over a number of years. Those titles that do not make their papers free at the point of publication will drop out of the Plan S scheme, meaning authors cannot use funds provided by any of the 17 funding agencies and six foundations now signed up to Plan S. There are, however, no immediate consequences for a publisher who decides not to share their price and service data through the JCS.  …”

Springer negotiations: what’s our plan B?  – Unlocking Research

“The UK universities sector is negotiating a read & publish deal with publisher Springer Nature. Reaching a transitional agreement is particularly important to make it easier for our authors to publish their work open access, as well as continuing to read all of Springer Nature’s content. The deal needs to be affordable for our sector, which is already under financial strain.  

The Jisc negotiating team and the University of Cambridge are committed to finding a deal that works well for us, that is our plan A. But we are aware that some previous negotiations between universities and publishers could not find enough mutual ground (for example UCLA and German universities). If a contract can’t be signed, what would that mean for our researchers? …”

The Bookseller – News – Springer Nature revenues up as profit climbed 12% in 2021

“Springer Nature’s revenue grew 4.5% to €1.7bn (£1.5bn) in 2021 while adjusted operating profit climbed 12%, the company has revealed in its first ever annual progress report.

Revenue rose from €1.63bn (£1.4bn) in 2020, but was marginally down on 2019’s €1.72bn (£1.5bn). Adjusted operating profit increased to €443m (£387m) from €396m (£346m) the year before and €411m (£360m) in 2019, attributed to “strong revenue growth and careful cost management adopted in response to the economic uncertainties caused by the pandemic”. …”


Update, October 12, 2022: Read & Publish agreement with Springer Nature 2023-2025 | swissuniversities

After careful consideration of all options, swissuniversities has decided to consider Springer Nature’s offer for the Springer Compact / Nature Branded portfolios and the corresponding Read & Publish contract, but to reject the offer for the Gold Open Access portfolio.

This pragmatic approach – especially in view of the current geopolitical situation – guarantees stability for the institutions and the inclusion of a publishing component at Nature Branded takes Switzerland an important step further towards the vision formulated in the Open Access strategy. At Springer Compact, the transformation will continue by further increasing the article quota and shifting funds from the reading component at Springer Compact to the publishing component at Nature Branded. The offer for Gold Open Access, on the other hand, was rejected as it did not sufficiently meet the objectives set in the negotiating mandate.

The offers are now with the mandating institutions for signature. Information on the results of the negotiations will be made available as soon as the contracts are signed.



Old tricks in new wineskins | Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week

“It’s been a while since we checked in on our old friends Elsevier, Springer Nature and Wiley — collectively, the big legacy publishers who still dominate scholarly publishing. Like every publisher, they have realised which way the wind is blowing, and flipped their rhetoric to pro-open access — a far cry from the days when they were hiring PR “pit bulls” to smear open access.

These days, it’s clear that open access is winning. In fact, I’ll go further: open access has won and now we’re just mopping up the remaining pockets of resistance. We’ve had our D-Day. That doesn’t mean there isn’t still lots of work to get through before we arrive at our VE-Day, but it’s coming. And the legacy publishers, having recognised that the old journal-subscriptions gravy train is coasting to a halt, are keen to get big slices of the OA pie.

Does this change in strategy reflect a change of heart in these organization?

Reader, it does not.

Just in the last few days, these three stories have come up:

Elsevier has raised the price of access to its chemical database Reaxys from £13,500 per institution to £38,000: an increase of 181% in four years, or 29.5% per year cumulative. UK universities are quite rightly considering not renewing their subscription.
Springer has started demanding colour charges for online-only papers, as though “colour pixels cost more money” — this despite the Springer website saying that no such charges should be levied. Swansea University Library Research Support is quite rightly telling researchers to push back on these unacceptable charges — but they shouldn’t have to.
Most egregiously, Wiley suddenly removed 1,380 textbooks from one of its bundles, leaving at least one professor “to reorganize her entire syllabus to prevent her students from having to pay out of pocket for their required class textbook”. Others of course will quite understandably not bother, leaving students hundreds of dollars out of pocket….”

Temporary stop free of charge Open Access publishing Springer ’22 – Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

“The 2022 maximum for free of charge open access publishing in Springer Nature journals is expected to be reached early November.

Since 2015, corresponding authors affiliated with Dutch Universities, University Medical Centres and the KNAW institutes can publish Open Access in many Springer Nature journals without costs. The number of free open access articles under this consortium deal is limited to 2,080 per year. In 2022, this maximum number is expected to be reached in the beginning of November….”