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Frontiers is joining Nature Publishing Group. What’s now?

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Nature Publishing Group and Frontiers together? Why not. A couple days ago NPG, publisher of Nature, announced a majority investment in the Swiss-based OA publisher Frontiers. It can mean only one thing:  it is time for Nature Publishing Group became more Open Access.

Frontiers was founded by scientists from École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in 2007 and started growing very fast. By 2012 almost 5,000 articles have been published in 14 journals run by this publisher; for comparison, in 2012, NPG published “only” 2000 open access articles. Now both companies declare an alliance to further enhance open science and will work together to “empower researchers to change the way science is communicated, through open access publication and open science tools”.

Dr. Kamila Markram, CEO of Frontiers, commented on the alliance:

“Combining NPG’s established publishing expertise with Frontiers’ innovative solutions for researchers opens up a wealth of opportunities for transforming the landscape of science communication. Frontiers is not only aiming to innovate in open access, but also to provide a more transparent and constructive peer review process, and offer an ecosystem of tools for scientists to build their academic standing.”

Well, it is worth to separate information from PR statements, and ask a question: what’s next?

For the time being it is impossible to figure out, how high was the level of this investment and how much it cost the NPG . So it appears difficult to determine the level of relationship between the two companies. The coup’s appeal lies in the mutual benefits for NPG and Frontiers. Following this agreement NPG may expand its OA line, using for this purpose know-how of  Frontiers. By joining forces – on the other hand, both companies may develop new tools for Open Access and researchers, and presumably – keep their margins safe. Admittedly, the Frontiers gained access to the additional funds by which they are going to expand their own journal series. This alliance should also boost competition, which is always good for researchers.

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