Springer Nature today announces a second Transformative Agreement (TA) to include its flagship title Nature. The agreement with the Bibsam Consortium in Sweden enables researchers affiliated with 10 initial institutions to publish their research articles accepted for publication in Nature and the Nature Research journals immediately open access (OA). This is at no cost to the individual researchers, as OA costs are covered by the consortium deal.
“In an attempt to change things, Nature Communications has since 2016 been encouraging authors to publish peer-review exchanges. In February 2020, and to the widespread approval of Twitter’s science community, Nature announced that it would offer a similar opportunity. Authors of new manuscript submissions can now have anonymous referee reports — and their own responses to these reports — published at the same time as their manuscript. Those who agree to act as reviewers know that both anonymous reports and anonymized exchanges with authors might be published. Referees can also choose to be named, should they desire.
A full year’s data are now in, and the results are encouraging. During 2021, nearly half (46%) of authors chose to publish their discussions with reviewers, although there is variation between disciplines (see ‘Peer review opens up’). Early data suggest more will do so in 2022. This is a promising trend. And we strongly encourage more researchers to take this opportunity to publish their exchanges. Last year, some 69% of Nature Communication’s published research articles were accompanied by anonymous peer-review reports together with author–reviewer exchanges, including manuscripts in life sciences (73% of published papers), chemistry (59%), physics (64%) and Earth sciences (77%)….
The benefits to research are huge. Opening up peer review promotes more transparency, and is valuable to researchers who study peer-review systems. It is also valuable to early-career researchers more broadly. Each set of reports is a real-life example, a guide to how to provide authors with constructive feedback in a collegial manner….”
“Nature Portfolio journals encourage posting of preprints of primary research manuscripts on preprint servers of the authors’ choice, authors’ or institutional websites, and open communications between researchers whether on community preprint servers or preprint commenting platforms….
Preprints may be posted at any time during the peer review process. Posting of preprints is not considered prior publication and will not jeopardize consideration at Nature Portfolio journals….
Springer Nature has partnered with Research Square (Springer Nature has a majority interest in Research Square) to provide In Review, a journal-integrated solution for preprint sharing, supporting authors across all the communities we serve to share their research early….
Authors may choose any license of their choice for the preprint including Creative Commons licenses. …
Preprints may be cited in the reference list of articles under consideration at Nature Portfolio journals….”
“The future of science is open and the publishing landscape is changing as a result. The transition from subscription to open access (OA) publishing is irreversible. The benefits of OA for authors are obvious: by making the final version of a research article — the version of record — free to read and discoverable for everyone, OA allows researchers’ work to reach a broader audience and to make a bigger impact.
Since January 2021, all authors of newly submitted manuscripts can benefit from these advantages, as they can now choose an OA publishing option when their work is accepted for publication in Nature Metabolism. OA publication is supported by payment of an article processing charge of €9500, which is typically paid by the authors’ institutions and funding bodies, or is covered by ‘transformative agreements’ (more on these below)….”
“Guided Open Access is a new publishing option offered at Nature Genetics. Authors can submit once and be simultaneously considered by three journals. Editorial collaboration and a single submission system combine to make the publication process easier and faster.
Nature Genetics now offers three publishing options for new manuscripts submitted in 2021: the traditional (subscription) model, Open Access and Guided Open Access. Whereas the first two options are well-known parts of the publishing landscape, the Guided Open Access option is different….
The cost for Guided Open Access is split into two payments: an Editorial Assessment Charge (€2,190), which is payable after the Guided Open Access suitability check is passed and also covers the Editor Assessment Report, and the remainder of the APC, which is payable after acceptance in one of the three journals (a top-up fee of €2,600 for Nature Genetics or Nature Communications or €800 for Communications Biology). The total fee for Guided Open Access publication in Nature Genetics is €4,790, approximately half the regular Open Access APC….
Why might Guided Open Access be of interest as a publication option for some Nature Genetics authors? First, authors can be simultaneously considered at Nature Genetics, Nature Communications and Communications Biology, without a need for resubmission or transfers. Second, editors work collaboratively to guide authors throughout the process to help manuscripts find their best home, giving detailed evaluation and recommendation in the Editor Assessment Report. Finally, Guided Open Access allows for Open Access publication in Nature Genetics at a lower APC. We note that we follow the same editorial standards for all submissions regardless of which option is chosen….”
“From January 2021 on, we are pleased to offer authors of primary research papers an expanded array of publishing options, including open access (OA). Nature and the Nature Research journals, including Nature Methods, have become ‘transformative journals’, meaning that while we still offer traditional subscription-based publication, we aim to increase the number of OA papers we publish each year, with the ultimate goal of becoming a fully OA journal….”
“Two newly announced options for authors bring the publications into compliance with Europe’s Plan S initiative, but the fees exceed those of other open-access journals….
Johan Rooryck, executive director of Coalition S, the group of funding agencies representing Plan S, says some of its member funders have indicated they will foot the bill for APCs at Nature journals at least initially, but many have said they won’t….”
“For a small, relatively isolated island nation like Australia, with relatively low research funding per capita compared to the rest of the world, we have little to lose and much to gain, through a far more systematic approach to sharing information and expertise with others around the globe.”
“You have to hand it to Springer Nature: they really are trying. Beset, as are all publishers with traditional business models, with challenges concerning open access (OA) from libraries, funders, and authors, SN is attempting to win the prize for Most Cooperative Publisher. This is not purely a recent development; Springer acquired OA pioneer BioMed Central way back in 2008 (it did not merge with the Nature Publishing Group until 2015). It has negotiated numerous “transformative” agreements with various national consortia and funding bodies and appears to have even come to terms with cOAlition S, a populist, authoritarian organization that is attempting to foment a worldwide revolution. (We note in passing that we are always a bit skeptical about organizations that fail to capitalize the first letter of a proper noun.) Until now, however, SN was not working to transform the models of its top-tier journals, usually holding the journals in its Nature portfolio out of comprehensive OA agreements. But that has started to change as evidenced by the announcements of both a new transformative deal with Max Planck and a new OA program whereby authors (or the funders of their work) can now pay to publish (Gold OA) in Nature and certain other journals in the Nature-branded portfolio. Whether this program proves to be successful (and whether the transformative deal with Max Planck proves extensible to other organizations) or not is a critical test of the ability of the company, and the industry at large, to accommodate the growing demands of funders and (mostly European) consortia with the prestige economy of academic research, where Nature sits at the very apex….
It is not only cOAlition S that SN must make happy, alas. Of primary concern to the management, not to mention the owners, is liquidity: how can some portion of the SN asset be converted into cash? SN has tried and failed, tried and failed again to go public. Part of the reason is that the OA business looks to investors like a model that is not ultimately as remunerative as the subscription model it is replacing. Convincing investors that they have figured out an OA long game is therefore essential. If investors do not believe in the strategy, SN may never fetch the price its current owners hope for (and that their creditors demand). What makes this complicated is that investors in Frankfurt and on Wall Street sit on one side of SN’s aspirations and on the other sits a community-anchored movement, many of whose members are characteristically suspicious of capitalism. …”
“Nature has introduced a new Open Access Options. It is suggested that this strategy will be ineffective. Rather, it is suggested that the strategy of post publication review proposed by eLife is a better route to a open future for scholarly communication.”
“Escalating computing power, expanding data sets, and algorithms of unprecedented sophistication have led to a massive increase in the number of journal and conference papers referring to AI in recent years. The Nature Index AI supplement, published today, draws on Nature Index data and the larger Dimensions* from Digital Science database to analyse this rapidly advancing and controversial topic. For the first time, the supplement also includes summaries of research articles created using AI, and it looks more broadly at how AI is being used in scholarly publishing. …”
“This is outrageous. $11,500 is more than scientists earn in a year in some countries, as Forbes blogger Madhukar Pai pointed out. What’s truly outrageous is that they’re asking for this payment from a community that does all the work for them for free. If Nature is going to treat scientists like suckers, it’s time we stopped playing along….
Of course, Nature journals will still allow scientists to publish papers the old-fashioned way, where they don’t pay the €9,500 fee and where the journal then owns the paper. Rather than doing that, or paying the outrageous fee, let’s hope this money grab makes scientists look elsewhere for a place to publish their findings. And while we’re at it, let’s tell the Nature editors we won’t be reviewing for them any longer….”
“How does Nature’s diversity commitment square with their own fee options? Do elite, prestige journals actually care about equity and diversity? Is Nature, one of the largest and most profitable publishers, leading in addressing inequities and setting an example to other publishers? And what do scientists in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), people who are rarely consulted, think about Nature’s new policy?
To address these questions, I consulted 20+ scientists from around the world….”
“Guided Open Access (OA) is a ground-breaking initiative designed to make the process of publishing open access simpler, quicker, and more efficient. Ultimately our aim is to help authors publish their work in the most suitable journal with just a single submission.
We will be trialling Guided OA as a pilot on three Nature research journals beginning January 2021: Nature Physics; Nature Genetics; and Nature Methods….”
“What is clear is that these charges are definitely not a surprise. Already back in 2004, in a Parliamentary inquiry in the UK, Nature provided testimony that they would have to charge 10-30k for a Nature paper, given their revenues at the time (i.e., their subscription and advertising income). While back then, most people scoffed at the numbers and expected that no author would ever pay such fees, Nature got to work and invented a whole host of ‘lesser’ journals (i.e., Nature XYC as in “Nature Physics”, Nature Genetics” and so on), which would serve several purposes at once: They increase revenue. As hand-me-down journals they keep desperate authors attached to the Nature brand. As less selective journals, they would bring down average costs per article for the brand total, when they would need to go open access.
So this year, after open access advocates, funders and the now also pandemic-stricken public had kept demanding open access for 16 years after they had been warned, Nature was finally ready to deliver. Due to the dilution of their costs by way of the ‘lesser’ journals, they managed to keep their APCs close to their lower bounds of 2004, despite 16 years of inflation. Given that libraries have been paying these kinds of funds for Nature journals for decades, this price tag then really is a bargain, all things considered….
If you were even later to the party and are outraged now, direct your outrage not to Nature, who are only following external pressures, but to those who exert said pressures, such as open access advocates pushing for APC-OA and funders mandating authors to publish in such journals.”