‘Significant reservations’ over Springer OA deal | Times Higher Education (THE)

UK universities have agreed a new three-year read-and-publish deal with Springer Nature, despite many expressing “significant reservations” over the high cost of publishing open access in prestige titles.

As part of the new deal with the German-British publisher announced on 3 April, universities will have unlimited open-access publishing in Springer and Palgrave hybrid titles, while free-to-read publishing will be available in Nature and Nature research journals, although this option will be restricted to a certain number of papers.

Based on modelling, this cap on Nature-branded titles would be “sufficient” for British institutions, said Jisc, the UK’s higher education IT consortium, which has been negotiating with Springer Nature on behalf of UK institutions for more than a year.

While the agreement would “result in real-term cost savings for all institutions” and was accepted by all universities that responded to a consultation, a large number had “significant reservations” about the deal, added Jisc.

These concerns centred on the high cost of publishing open access outside the agreement and limited transparency, particularly regarding how Springer Nature’s article-processing charges (APCs) are calculated, with gold open access for Nature priced at £8,490. Springer Nature was one of several major publishers – along with Elsevier – which opted in November not to participate in Plan S’ Journal Comparison Service, in which journals shared information about their costs and services.

Paul Ayris, pro-vice-provost at UCL (libraries, culture, collections, open science) told Times Higher Education that the sector would only “grudgingly” accept the new deal because it “bakes into the system the high prices that we’ve seen with subscriptions”.

“Those APCs of €9,500 are a huge amount to pay. It’s too much for one article, and that level seems to have been built into the new deal. Springer Nature can’t explain how they’ve arrived at this price, either,” he added.

Although libraries recognised this was the “best possible deal that could be achieved at the moment”, Dr Ayris said, the transformative deals agreed with publishers were not delivering the change that many academics or librarians had anticipated. He added that they would exacerbate global inequalities because poorer nations would be unable to pay high-cost APCs.

Other concerns included Springer Nature’s approach to author rights retention, which some respondents felt created barriers to equitable open-access publishing worldwide, Jisc said.

The deal with the world’s second-largest publisher comes after the rejection of a previous offer in February because of cost concerns, with UK universities also vetoing a proposed deal last year that would have required them to pay nearly £1 million extra.

Welcoming the new agreement, Stephen Decent, principal and vice-chancellor at Glasgow Caledonian University, said it would “further extend the reach and impact of UK research by providing open-access publishing in 2,500 Springer Nature journals”, which would lead to about 6,000 papers a year being published in a free-to-read format with the world’s second-biggest academic publisher.

“While this is an important deal that delivers concessions, the goal of fully accessible open research still eludes us,” added Professor Decent, who called for “a more inclusive and open research culture, where all contributions to research are valued, regardless of the type of output or where they are published”.

Carolyn Honour, chief commercial officer at Springer Nature, said the new deal would “for the first time” cover all Springer Nature journals and would also “open up access to UK research” and extend “publishing opportunities to a broader range of institutions and disciplines”.

The publisher would “remain committed to working transparently, through the publication of data and resources, and extensively with our global partners, to drive progress towards this goal”, added Ms Honour.


EDP – National Open Access Agreement in France | STM Publishing News

“We are pleased to welcome three institutions to the National Open Access Agreement in France (Accord national pour l’accès ouvert en France) from 2023. The new members are Université d’Artois, Université de Rouen and Université Jean Monnet Saint-Étienne. Corresponding authors from these institutions and, indeed, all member institutions, may publish their work open access, free of charge in 31 participating journals. There are no publication fees or article processing charges (APCs).

Participating journals include newcomers, the Journal of ExtraCorporeal Technology and Journal of the European Optical Society-Rapid Publications. Astronomy & Astrophysics is also included as are the other Subscribe to Open (S2O) journals which are joined by Radioprotection from 2023. More established journals are also present such as EPJ Applied Physics, the Journal of Space Weather and Space Climate and Parasite. Aquatic Living Resources is now a “diamond” open access journal and, therefore, no longer included.

The inclusion of these universities brings the total number of participating institutions to 70. Members represent the majority of French universities with a science focus, most national research organisations and a number of notable organisations such as the CNRS, CEA and Inserm. The agreement remains open to new members….”

PLOS Announces Newest Joiners to the CRL/NERL Agreement – The Official PLOS Blog

“The Public Library of Science (PLOS) welcomes several new participants to its ongoing three-year consortial agreement with Center for Research Libraries (CRL) and the Northeast Research Libraries (NERL) program. Joining twenty fellow member institutions who signed on during the first year, newly participating institutions for the second year include Duke University, Macalester College, University of Arizona, University of Denver, and University of Southern California, University of Texas at Austin, and University of Washington.

This agreement provides researchers with unlimited publishing privileges in PLOS journals without incurring fees. All PLOS journals are underpinned by institutional business models that move beyond article processing charges (APC) to ensure more equitable and regionally appropriate ways to support Open Access publishing. PLOS’ institutional models are Community Action Publishing (CAP)[1], Flat Fees [2], and the Global Equity model[3] …”

ChronosHub Agreement Management: Open for Publishers To Take Control of Agreements – ChronosHub

“Publisher customers subscribing to the ChronosHub platform can now access the new agreement management feature, where agreement information can be maintained. Moving away from Excel spreadsheets and into a platform enables publishers to manage the complexity of business rules efficiently. Import tools, bulk editing, and immediate editing rights make the process much faster and updates easy….

 The built-in platform flexibility allows publishers to cater for the variation in agreements with institutions or consortia. For example, different deciding dates when an article is counted as part of an agreement – this could be the date of submission, date of acceptance or even the final publication date. 


In addition, individual journals or collections of journals can be assigned to each agreement, as well as specific licenses, and of course, the business rules around required payment – I.e., whether an agreement covers the full APC cost, a set APC, or a discount on the APC, and if a cap applies….”

Brill renews Transformative Agreement with Jisc in the UK for the period 2023-2024

Brill is delighted to announce that it has renewed its Transformative Agreement with Jisc in the UK for 2023-2024. Brill is one of the leading academic publishers in the Humanities, Social Sciences and Biology, with a broad Open Access portfolio consisting of more than 1,100 books and several thousand journal articles.

The agreement with Jisc is a two-year agreement covering 2023-2024, and is open to all eligible UK university libraries and academic-related Jisc affiliate members, as well as Scottish Higher Education Digital Library consortium members.

Brill renews Transformative Agreement with Jisc in the UK for the period 2023-2024

Brill is delighted to announce that it has renewed its Transformative Agreement with Jisc in the UK for 2023-2024. Brill is one of the leading academic publishers in the Humanities, Social Sciences and Biology, with a broad Open Access portfolio consisting of more than 1,100 books and several thousand journal articles.

The agreement with Jisc is a two-year agreement covering 2023-2024, and is open to all eligible UK university libraries and academic-related Jisc affiliate members, as well as Scottish Higher Education Digital Library consortium members.

Big Ten Academic Alliance and Wiley Extend Open Access Agreement | Big Ten Academic Alliance

“The Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA) is pleased to announce an extension of its landmark open publishing agreement with Wiley, a global leader in research and education. The three-year agreement, effective as of January 1, 2023, grants fourteen participating universities and seventeen affiliated campuses access to publish and read in Wiley’s full journal portfolio, including Hindawi’s gold open access portfolio.

Under this new agreement, lead authors at all campuses covered by the agreement will be able to publish their articles as open access, ensuring that their research will be immediately open and available to the public and that they will retain rights to their own work. Article publications are free of charge, eliminating the need for authors to pay publication fees…”

DEAL Konsortium – new website

DEAL is an initiative of the Alliance of Science Organisations in Germany. Under the leadership of the German Rectors’ Conference (Hochschulrektorenkonferenz – HRK), DEAL negotiates nationwide transformative  “Publish and Read” agreements with the largest commercial publishers of scholarly journals on behalf of German research institutions (including universities, universities of applied sciences, research institutes, state and regional libraries).

The agreements enable thousands of research articles from German institutions to be published openly each year, making them immediately accessible and re-usable worldwide. At the same time, they provide the hundreds of institutions in the DEAL consortium with extensive access rights to scientific journals, thereby improving the information infrastructure for research and education in Germany.


Library Requirements for Future OA Academic Book Agreements

“There are a wide variety of revenue models for open access (OA) books (https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.4011836). However, perhaps the most well-known is the book processing charge (BPC). However, the BPC model is unsustainable for OA books (See Eve et al. http://doi.org/10.1629/uksg.392). In 2018, Jisc warned that if the BPC model became the dominant revenue model for publishers there would be a threat to the long tail of academic book publishers, small university presses and that bibliodiversity would be threatened.

The development and adoption of alternative models to the BPC are necessary to support the long tail and the diversity of AHSS research and its funding streams, but it is reliant on institutional support. There are also significant opportunities to harness the increasing number of university presses and scholar led presses alongside international infrastructure.

At Jisc, we are negotiating and promoting a range of Diamond OA monograph agreements where there is no fee to read or to publish, but institutions can support the publication of immediate OA content either by leasing or purchasing paywalled backfile content or contributing to the publication fund by way of an annual membership fee. 

The objective of this survey is to understand sector working practices and funding, and support for these initiatives. This will allow us to finalise our negotiation approach and devise a variety of UKRI policy compliant licensing methods….”

A free toolkit to foster open access agreements

In November 2021, with the support of the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP) and cOAlition S, four ‘task and finish’ working groups were established. The authors facilitated and supported these groups. Each group was responsible for producing tools that will enable library consortia and small independent publishers to negotiate transformative agreements, which is to say, agreements that will enable the publisher to fully transition to open access. The first task and finish group developed shared principles for transformative agreements. The second developed a data template to enable smaller independent publishers to reach agreements with library consortia and libraries, while the third developed example licence agreements. These groups recognized that the implementation of a transformative agreement crosses a complex ecosystem of technology, processes, policies, automated functions and manual functions that relate to contract management, article submission and peer review, content hosting and dissemination as well as financial management. For this reason, a fourth group produced a workflow framework that describes the process in all its phases. The members of these four groups were volunteers from stakeholder communities including libraries, library consortia, smaller independent publishers and intermediaries. This article explains why these tools are needed and the process behind their creation. The authors have combined these tools into a freely available toolkit, available under a CC BY licence.