A report about Plan S’s potential effects on journals marks a busy week for the open-access movement | Science | AAAS

The report on Plan S, released 1 March, examines several ways in which the proposal could affect and challenge journals. It comes from Clarivate, the analytics firm that tracks journals in its Web of Science database and assigns them journal impact factors. Clarivate examined 3700 journals that in 2017 published at least six articles acknowledging a Plan S funder; of these, 3200 are not in the Directory of Open Access Journals, a comprehensive listing, and so cannot be compliant with Plan S.

The Clarivate report describes how Plan S may have a significant effect on authors even in countries whose funders don’t sign on: It identified 40,000 articles published in 2017 that involved collaborations between researchers in a European country and those in the rest of the world. At several U.S. universities—including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge and the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena—more than 15% of papers listed Plan S funding. Papers produced with any Plan S funding would be required to publish in a Plan S–compliant journal….

The publisher Springer Nature in London began a pilot project allowing the networking website ResearchGate to post some full-text, freely accessible articles from select Nature-branded journals, including the flagship. The 3-month pilot will upload at least 6000 articles, published after November 2017 in 23 subscription-only journals, to the ResearchGate profiles of the scientists who authored the articles. Berlin-based ResearchGate, which counts 15 million scientists and researchers worldwide as members, has been sued by other publishers for copyright infringement for allowing its users to upload paywalled journal articles to their profiles.

In a 1 March news release, Springer Nature said the pilot will gather feedback from scientists and institutions to allow it to develop new models for providing access to articles; in another statement, ResearchGate said it hopes the experiment will increase collaborations among scientists. “This pilot project represents the first significant experiment with the syndication of publisher content to a content supercontinent,” writes Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe, a librarian at the University of Illinois in Champaign, on The Scholarly Kitchen blog….”

David Worlock | Developing digital strategies for the information marketplace | Supporting the migration of information providers and content players into the networked services world of the future.

The Springer Nature announcement that they were working with ReseachGate on a fair sharing policy has elements that run right through the tracery of fissures . It tells us that commercial players have no commercial reason to do anything but compete , and that Springer Nature , Thieme , CUP and in time others want to be seen as more user supportive in this regard than , others . This is not for me a new form of permitted “syndication “ – simply a gracious concession to license what users were doing anyway and remove some friction. It also says that in the games yet to be played , many people see tracking usage of the traceable communication as an important source of information , and potentially of revenues . The pressures felt by players like Springer Nature and Wiley as they at once try to differentiate themselves from the very clear stance of a market leader like Elsevier while trying to protect their service integrity at the same time are similarly shown in the Projekt DEAL developments . Market leaders get trapped and isolated in market positions they cannot give up , while the rest dissociate and differentiate themselves as best they can , while trying hard not to lose revenue margins in the process . Then sit down and read the reactions to Plan S – Springer Nature were paragons of moderation and reason . The loudest squeals came from those with most to lose – scholarly societies with journal revenue dependence. …

So what can the market leader do about this change as they face increasing user criticism ? The traditional answer always was “ push intransigence as far as it will go , and if those who would change the terms of trade do not come to heel , change your CEO as a way of changing your own policy without losing face “ . It may of course be an entire co-incidence that Elsevier’s CEO Ron Mobed retired last week without prior indication that he was about to go , and has been replaced by a very experienced RELX strategy specialist , Kumsal Bayazit . She is warmly welcomed and deserves a good chance to rethink the strategies that have backed Elsevier into a corner with Projekt DEAL and with the University of California . The people who work at Elsevier are , to my certain knowledge , as dedicated as any group I know to the objectives of their customers and the improvement of scholarly communications : they know that at the end of the dy the customer has the final say . And let’s think about what the power of a market leader now really means : 20 years ago companies like Elsevier demanded that authors surrendered their copyrights on the grounds that only the publisher was powerful enough to protect them , while today no publisher is powerful enough to shutter SciHub….”

Springer Nature Syndicates Content to ResearchGate – The Scholarly Kitchen

“Approximately 6,000 articles published from November 2017 onward in 23 Nature research journals will be uploaded to ResearchGate to the relevant author profiles. The journals included are all subscription-only titles that do not offer an article-level Gold APC option. The open access option for these titles is green deposit with a six month embargo. But, when the articles in this pilot are uploaded to ResearchGate, the copies uploaded will be the version of record and they will be available during the pilot without any access controls….

The initial pilot is planned for 3 months though it may be extended based on how it progresses. During the pilot, Springer Nature and ResearchGate will gather data about how and how often the articles are discovered, accessed, and used as well as feedback from authors and readers about their perceptions and experiences. To stave off any worries for conscientious authors aware of their copyright terms with Springer Nature, authors will be alerted that these copies are legitimate to have publicly accessible from their ResearchGate profiles. And, to respect author freedom, authors will have the option to remove them from their profiles if they prefer….

In my view, the most notable aspect of this arrangement is that Springer Nature is not only allowing publicly accessible copies of subscription-only content but also allowing the upload of the version of record copy onto ResearchGate. This means that anyone can also download the version of record; it is now “in the wild” through ResearchGate….

Of course, the value for ResearchGate goes well beyond being able to load a few thousand pieces of content. Working with a well-established publisher legitimizes ResearchGate and distances it from a piracy reputation. This may be particularly useful as ResearchGate defends itself against ongoing lawsuits filed by Elsevier and the American Chemical Society….

More puzzling may be the question of what Springer Nature gets from this collaboration….”

Springer Nature pledges support for Plan S | Research Information

Springer Nature is specifically calling on cOAlition S funders to:

  • Commit to undertake research to demonstrate the benefits of OA and the promotion of it to increase author and other funder take-up;
  • Commit to make transformative deals, such as Publish and Read deals, a key part of Plan S given their proven ability to drive growth in OA and within these deals and to remove its requirement for publishers to commit to ‘flip’ hybrid journals to OA in the near future;
  • Rethink more broadly its opposition to hybrid journals at a time when many academic disciplines and many geographic regions are not yet fully supportive of Gold OA;  
  • Remove the requirement to provide APC discounts for middle income countries such as China which is the largest publisher of academic research in the world and the second largest investor in R&D;
  • Recognise that highly selective journals and those with significant levels of non-primary research content need to be treated differently; and
  • Support platforms providing early access to primary research….”

The Swiss National Strategy on Open Access and its Action Plan – EasyBlog

A year ago, the action plan for the Swiss National Strategy on Open Access has been approved by the plenary assembly of swissuniversities and has been subsequently endorsed by the governing board of the Swiss University Conference. Swiss Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) are the key players in the implementation process of the national strategy, so the aim of the action plan was to provide them with options and concrete solutions to achieve the objectives that came with adopting the strategy….

According to the “Vision 2024” underlying the national strategy, all scholarly publications resulting from publicly funded research must be freely available on the internet and, moreover, that all scholarly publications in Switzerland should be 100% Open Access within a landscape of mixed Open Access models by 2024….

National contract negotiations with the major publishers Springer NatureWiley and Elsevier under the auspices of swissuniversities are significant action items regarding a unified approach. The focus of the negotiation strategy will be on the “Read & Publish” model as a favoured negotiation approach with the goal to gain transparent pricing and greater accessibility to publications (see also the factsheet for details)….”

OA Landscape Survey

“In 2019 Springer Nature will publish a report on book authors’ attitudes to publishing and the awareness and perceived benefits of open access. We’d like to ask for your contribution to this research by answering these survey questions, and you will also be able to indicate at the end of the survey if you would like to receive a copy of this report. The anonymized raw data of this survey will be made publicly available after the survey has been closed. You’ll also have the chance to win one of five $100 gift cards


All academic book and chapter authors are invited to complete the survey, whether you have published an open access book, or know absolutely nothing about open access….”

Plan S must consider researcher demand for OA | The Bookseller

“Springer Nature is passionate about and committed to Open Access (OA) publishing and the greater use of Open Science techniques because of the benefits they bring to the advancement of science and research. Our data shows OA articles attract greater citations, higher numbers of downloads, and increased wider impact.  This really matters and is why we agree with, and share, Plan S’ stated goal of accelerating the transition to full OA.

As an OA first mover who has been publishing more OA articles for longer and in more diverse ways than any other organisation in the world, we know the (multiple) challenges that need to be overcome to accelerate the take up of OA. We have tried many approaches, not all have worked, but through continued commitment and investment we have found a range of approaches that together are already supporting the growth of OA.

That is why the Plan S consultation which closed on Friday (8th February) has been so important. It has enabled us to really look at our business, properly reflect on our role as a global publisher committed to meeting the needs of all research, all researchers and all funders, and propose a set of recommendations, backed by extensive experience and hard data that we strongly believe will help everyone to deliver on this joint goal.

For example, the Plan S implementation guidance calls for publishers to flip 100% of their hybrid journals to fully OA once current Read and Publish deals come to an end.  As The Bookseller highlights, we think this is unacceptable as it ignores the role hybrids have played in the advancement of OA and fundamentally ignores the data. With OA penetration rates of between 73-90% being achieved in the four countries where our deals are most mature, and the fact that such rates are only being achieved because of the flexibility hybrid journals offer, we simply do not understand the desire to scrap mechanisms that are actually accelerating the take-up of open access. Let’s not abandon them or commit to abandon them without very good reasons….”

Nature boss warns Plan S could put journal out of business | Times Higher Education (THE)

“Springer Nature says highly selective titles need special treatment under European-led open access initiative….

The chief publishing officer of Nature’s parent company has warned that the flagship journal’s future could be imperilled if research funders do not make major changes to Plan S, the European-led open access initiative….

In its submission, Springer Nature argues that titles such as Nature should be treated as a special case under Plan S, highlighting that the use of in-house professional editors and its high refusal rate meant that average costs per article were estimated to be between €10,000 and €30,000 (£8,770 and £26,300), which would be “very difficult” to recover via an article processing charge. Having open access versions of articles available elsewhere would put “at risk” Springer Nature’s ability “to sustain these investments via the subscription model”. …

Asked whether there was a possibility that Nature could go out of business if Plan S was implemented widely without major changes, Mr Inchcoombe said: “Yes. I don’t know why libraries would pay for subscriptions if there are free, aggregated services of all the author-accepted versions of papers immediately available on multiple websites around the world – which these principles would enable.” …”

Springer Nature: Plan S needs to focus on helping all authors and funders to better understand the benefits of OA | Group | Springer Nature

Research undertaken by Springer Nature shows that while there are proven benefits in publishing OA, including increased citations, increased downloads and wider impact, authors are still not routinely choosing to publish OA for often valid reasons.  Springer Nature has demonstrated that when innovative transformative deals are in place, a wide range of journals available from which authors can choose and the benefits of OA strongly promoted, then accelerated OA transition is not only possible but very successful.  In the four most mature countries which have Read and Publish deals with Springer Nature, OA penetration rates have reached 73-90% in only three years….”

Where are we now?

“The results of publicly funded research must be freely available to all. By 2020, universities want to make all peer-reviewed articles by Dutch researchers open-access publications as standard. Following a request by the government, in 2013 the VSNU formulated a plan to achieve this goal.

‘The Dutch universities’ strategy is unique on the international stage,’ says Koen Becking, executive open-access negotiator for the VSNU and Executive Board President at Tilburg University. Together with Tim van der Hagen, Executive Board President at Delft University of Technology, and Anton Pijpers, Executive Board President at Utrecht University, he leads executive negotiations with the major publishing houses….

The Dutch approach is such a success because the universities have formed a single negotiating body and are supported by the government. In this regard, Becking refers to the government’s open-access policy, which was continued by the new government in 2017….”