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Springer Nature’s Report Demonstrates the Viability of Open Access Transitions for both Journals and Countries

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Building decorations displaying the slogan for the European election, September 10, 2013 | © Courtesy of Pietro Naj-Oleari and European Parliament.

As its recent data demonstrate, in some European states between 70% and 90% of Springer’s newly published articles are in Open Access, which indicates that the journal- and country-level adoption of Open Access becomes increasingly mainstream, even though it depends on author fee funding availability.

A Blog Article by Pablo Markin.

In its press release published in October 23, 2017, Springer Nature has announced that its authors hailing from Austria, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Sweden publish 73%, 77%, 84% and 90% respectively of their articles in Gold Open Access. Though this has been made possible by article processing charges funding from governmental foundations and scientific institutions in these countries, only circa 27% of all articles published by Springer Nature are in Gold Open Access, which demonstrates the growth potential for Open Access internationally. While Open Access is widely credited with the promotion of research results discovery, it appears that it can be made available as an option for authors not only through the expansion of the operation models of existing toll-based journals to various Open Access formats, such as Gold or Green Open Access, in the direction of hybrid publishing models, but also through the flipping or conversion of existing well-known journals into Open Access.

Despite the risks that this type of transition to Open Access involves, at present all of the journals that Springer Nature publishes offer Open Access options. Moreover, more than 630 of its journals operate on the basis of Open Access models only, whereas the remaining more than 1,800 journals published under its various brands, such as Springer, Nature Research and Palgrave Macmillan are based on hybrid models that include Open Access options, to be able to accommodate the preference of scientists and researchers for Open Access. Furthermore, Springer Nature’s performance in the domain of Open Access demonstrates that journal- and country-level transitions to Open Access are not only viable in terms of the funding ecology that shifts the burden of ensuring access to scientific results from universities and libraries to governments and foundations that perceive in Open Access an effective means to control and make transparent publication costs, but also in terms of the benefit to the scientific community and general public that Open Access can bring.

This is echoed in the intention of the European Commission to promote Open Access for research results generated through the assistance of Horizon 2020 grants, such as via pre-print repositories, especially in view of the strides that private foundations, such as Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust, have been making in this direction. More recently, in November 2016, the Wellcome Trust has launched Wellcome Open Research that enables researchers it funds to take advantage of its streamlined publication process involving rapid submission procedures, post-publication open peer review and scientific database indexing.

While the European Commission’s initiative entitled “Open Research Europe” remains in the works, similar journal-, publisher- and country-level adoptions of Open Access already demonstrate its feasibility as a publishing format.

By Pablo Markin

Featured Image Credits: Building decorations displaying the slogan for the European election, September 10, 2013 | © Courtesy of Pietro Naj-Oleari and European Parliament.

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