Scholarly Publishers Are Happy to Give Stuff Away If Someone Pays Them – BNN Bloomberg

“For almost two decades, a battle has been raging over access to scholarly research. On the one side have been scholars, librarians, funders and others arguing that in an age of near-costless global communication, research findings and the data that underlie them should be shared freely and openly. On the other side have been publishers, led by Elsevier, a (very large) unit of under-the-radar London-based media giant RELX Plc,(2) fighting to maintain the remarkable profit margins that paywalled scholarly journals can provide.

That’s the simple version, at least — things have always been a little more complicated than that. But it was still jarring to observe this week in Berlin how much the battle lines have shifted.

An executive with Wiley, the third-largest academic journal publisher by revenue, got up in front of the room at the APE (which originally stood for Academic Publishing in Europe) 2020 conference to extol his company’s commitment to “open access, open data, open practices, open collaboration, open recognition and reward.” A counterpart from Springer Nature, the No. 2 publisher, proudly reeled off the paywall-free share of the papers published in Springer journals by researchers from various countries — Sweden was the champ, at 90%. And Kumsal Bayazit, who took over as chief executive officer of Elsevier last February amid tense standoffs between the company and pro-open-access university systems in Germany, California and elsewhere, declared that “Elsevier fully supports open access, as I think is the case for all scholarly publishers today.” …

Elsevier in particular has been gearing up for years to reposition itself as a data analytics provider. A report prepared last year for the pro-open-access Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition speculated that these efforts could reap big profits and give the company even more influence over universities than it wields now. …”

cOAlition S reaction to Springer Nature’s Open Letter on Transformative Journals | Plan S

“Thank you for sharing your open letter outlining your concerns about Transformative Journals.

cOAlition S has now reviewed your letter and would like to make the following points.

1- As we made clear when we published the Transformative Journals (TJ) framework, we consider this a draft and we look forward to receiving the views from all actors and stakeholders who respond to the consultation. Once the consultation closes (6th January 2020) we will then assess how the concept of TJs can best be implemented.

2- TJs have been developed to help the transitioning of journals that are committing to full OA, outside of Transformative Agreements. We expect this option may be useful to journals which have high costs – which may make it more difficult to include these titles in Transformative Agreements, at least in the short term – or where publishers (like scholarly societies) wish to offer a global OA option, but are not yet able to flip to full OA without some support during a transition period to reduce risks.

3- The SN letter argues that year on year growth can only increase at the rate in which funders mandate gold OA publishing and provide the necessary funding. However, data from SN’s own journal Nature Communications provides clear evidence that the volume of published papers can increase year on year, even without a corresponding increase in the number of funder mandates….

4- The SN letter also suggests that journals can only flip to full OA, once 90% of publications are OA. However, publication data from Nature Communications – which started publishing as a hybrid journal – shows that the decision to flip this title was taken when slightly less than 50% of the content was OA (see Table 2).Considering this finding it is difficult to give much credence to Springer Nature’s statement that “we cannot place authors in a situation where they could be unable to publish in the most suitable journal, purely for financial reasons”….

5- No data is presented to support the assertion that “international collaboration will be negatively impacted”. As funders we are keen to encourage collaboration between researchers, recognising the benefits which can arise. We are working with our partners to encourage other funders from around the world to join cOAlition S. We anticipate that support will continue to grow and that funders will increasingly adopt consistent approaches. Many international groups will still want to work with the world-class researchers we fund. The desire to join forces to address shared research questions should supersede any considerations over where the resulting work can be published. We have also established a Task Force to monitor the effects of Plan S, including its impact on early career researchers and international collaborations.

6- The alternative model for TJ that is proposed in the Springer-Nature letter provides no clearly defined timeframe for transitioning journals to full Open Access, other than when a threshold of 90% OA uptake has been reached. For all intents and purposes, this proposal is nothing more than an attempt to perpetuate the hybrid model, which less and less funders are willing to support. The hybrid model has clearly failed to achieve the transition to OA and there are absolutely no reasons to believe that things will be any different in the future. This is a tactic to stall progress. For cOAlition S, TJs are considered as a means for publishers to really deliver on their promise of transitioning their journals to full OA in a smooth way, but within a defined timeframe. Our proposed deadline is the 31st December 2024 – 5 years from now. We are not aware of any other area of economic activity where businesses are given 5 years to change their models to meet demands (with support from funders). Native OA publishers (who are competing with Springer-Nature in the market) do not claim that they can only run full OA journals under the condition that all funders worldwide must commit to fund Gold OA. The line of argumentation that the transition to OA can only happen at the rate that funders commit to finance Gold OA is futile. We could as well argue that funders will only commit to fund OA at the rate that publishers transition to OA. But there should be no mistake: we prefer zero-embargo Green OA over hybrid journals.

7- In conclusion, we hope journals and publishers will see this as an opportunity to take the bold step of changing their business model, and we are looking forward to receiving more inputs to our open consultation on Transformative Journals by January 6th 2020.”


“While we are supportive of the vast majority of the criteria proposed in the consultation, we are concerned that, if the transformative journal concept as envisaged by the cOAlition is applied in full, Transformative Journals will not deliver the full transition we believe is possible. We feel duty bound, having proposed this approach, to share our concerns with you now in an open way.

1. The timelines proposed and the rates of OA transition are unworkable and could be counterproductive In our earlier responses to Plan S, we repeatedly and publicly committed ourselves to transitioning all of our journals, our hybrid portfolio of 1900 journals (Springer Nature-owned and society-owned) along with Nature itself and all other Nature-branded journals, to immediate, full OA for all primary research and we will do everything we can to make this a sustainable reality in the shortest possible time. But the speed by which this can happen is not solely in our hands; it is also hugely dependent on the rate at which other funders, institutions and consortia commit to supporting Gold OA, as a zero embargo green OA approach will undermine the sustainability of journals as they transition and hamper the move to open science. …

2. The waiver requirements are unsustainable 

At Springer Nature we have established waiver policies already in place6 for researchers unable to access APC funding and for those authors based in the world’s lowest income countries as defined by the World Bank. As the largest OA publisher we have given more waivers than anyone else. For obvious reasons, this applies only to authors seeking to publish in one of our 600 fully OA journals. For authors without OA funding and seeking to publish in one of our other journals, they are able to do so for free via the subscription route….

We propose the below as an alternative timeframe and workable set of metrics:

1. Year-on-year growth of OA content at the same rate as the increase in global research supported by funders and institutions committed to funding Gold OA.

2. Journals to be flipped when OA content reaches 90%.

3. Progress to be reviewed in 2024, as per cOAlition decision to review progress more widely, and commitments adapted accordingly then in light of progress to date….”

Alternative conditions needed in order for cOAlition S’s proposal for Transformative Journals to succeed | Group | Springer Nature

“As the largest OA publisher, and the publisher that first floated the idea of Transformative Journals, Springer Nature is appealing to cOAlition S in an open letter not to lose the opportunity Transformative Journals offer to speed up the transition to OA. Unless changes are made to the conditions being proposed the publisher believes it would be unable to commit to its journals participating.

Commenting, Steven Inchcoombe, Chief Publishing Officer Springer Nature, said:

“Springer Nature remains committed to moving more quickly towards OA and is proud to be the publisher of almost a quarter of all fully OA articles ever published. We first floated the idea of Transformative Journals in May as we believed that, by harnessing the investment, track record, editorial expertise, and the trust the research communities have in these long-standing journals, the transition to OA could be significantly accelerated and enable many of these journals, including highly selective ones such as Nature, to get on the path to OA.”

“We are concerned, however, that the thresholds proposed by cOAlition S could have unintended consequences. Authors of research funded by cOAlition S members are likely to see their journal choice severely restricted, organisations committed to OA could see a doubling of the content they need to fund, and ultimately many journals may have to rule themselves out, resulting in a slowdown of the very transition we both want to see.”

While Springer Nature is supportive of the vast majority of the criteria proposed in the consultation, the company has significant concerns regarding:

the proposed timelines and metrics which would place conditions on publishers to not only grow OA content at a faster rate than the growth of funders willing to fund immediate OA but to do this at a time when the global share of cOAlition S funded research is effectively declining, and
the requirements for waivers which would see much more research published for free, undermining the sustainability of those journals. This could lead to those organisations that are committed to Gold OA having to support twice the content they were funding at the point of the flip, which is not fair, reasonable or sustainable….”

Springer Nature may pull Plan S backing over ‘unfair’ rules | Times Higher Education (THE)

“The world’s second-largest academic publisher has warned that it may pull its journals out of the Plan S project over new proposals to accelerate the switch to open access.

In an open letter published on 17 December, Springer Nature says new criteria for journals wishing to comply with Plan S, the push by some of the world’s biggest research funders to ensure articles are freely available, are “neither fair, reasonable or sustainable” and may “put the goal of full and immediate open access at risk”….”

Springer Nature may pull Plan S backing over ‘unfair’ rules | Times Higher Education (THE)

“The world’s second-largest academic publisher has warned that it may pull its journals out of the Plan S project over new proposals to accelerate the switch to open access.

In an open letter published on 17 December, Springer Nature says new criteria for journals wishing to comply with Plan S, the push by some of the world’s biggest research funders to ensure articles are freely available, are “neither fair, reasonable or sustainable” and may “put the goal of full and immediate open access at risk”….”

Explore open access books – Springer Nature & Digital Science event i…

“In September 2019, Digital Science and Springer Nature held a researcher event exploring the topic of open access books. This slide deck includes presentation slides from each session:

1. Why publish your book open access? (Rosalind Pyne, Director OA Books, Springer Nature) – slides 3-20
2. Live author Q&A with Eric Haines (lead editor ‘Ray Tracing Gems and distinguished engineer at Nvidia) about his experience of publishing an open access book – slide 22
3. Understanding the value and impact of open books (Mike Taylor, Head of Metrics Development, Digital Science)
Manager, Springer Nature) – slides 23-58
4. How MIT is Reimagining OA Books and Open Knowledge Infrastructure (Catherine Ahearn, Content Lead, PubPub MIT Knowledge Futures Group) – slides 58-75….”

So What’s the DEAL?: An Interview with Springer Nature’s Dagmar Laging – The Scholarly Kitchen

“In late August, Springer Nature and Germany’s Projekt DEAL announced that they had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) laying out the fundamentals of a national-level transformative open access agreement, whereby “more than 13,000 articles by German scholars and scientists are expected to be published open access (OA) per year, making them freely and immediately available to the world and increasing visibility and usage of German research published by Springer Nature.” I contacted Dagmar Laging, Springer Nature’s VP for Institutional Sales-Europe, who graciously agreed to answer some questions about this emerging deal….”

New Read & Publish agre­e­ment publicly avai­lab­le – Kungliga biblioteket –

“46 organisations chose to join the new agreement, which runs for three years, starting January 1st 2019. It covers rights to publish in over 1 800 hybrid journals at no extra cost for the author as well as reading rights from 1997 for over 2 100 journals. Together with the other agreement recently signed for publishing in gold open access journals, this new Read & Publish agreement allows researchers affiliated with the Bibsam Consortium to publish open access in almost the entire Springer Nature journal portfolio….”