Following a year-long negotiation led by Jisc, UK universities have agreed a new, three-year read and publish open access (OA) deal with Springer Nature.
The agreement meets the majority of the sector’s original requirements – it has reduced costs and delivered open access using a reduced baseline of subscription spend. The deal is the first major agreement to formally acknowledge the retention of intellectual property rights by institutions and authors via rights retention policies by providing a bespoke licence to publish.
Whilst the agreement has reduced spend and will open up access to UK research, concerns remain on the high costs of open access publishing in Nature Research journals outside the agreement as well as Springer Nature’s strong resistance to rights retention and OA publishing via the deposit route. Their insistence on a high APC, high growth gold only approach is likely to prevent authors from institutions and countries with less research funding to publish openly.
Over the last 18 months the sector has gained a greater understanding of different publisher’s strategies and approaches to open access. By challenging publishers directly, institutions have seen how publishers manage questions about transparency, the conversion of their subscription titles to full open access and global engagement. This has led to increased skepticism about some publishers’ commitment to a full and sustainable global transition to open access and highlighted the need for the sector to set its requirements for an open research future.
The sector needs to look forward and agree how we want to address these issues, how we want scholarly communications to develop and how we will work with commercial publishers in the future.
SCONUL and RLUK have issued a joint press release emphasizing the need for academic colleagues to work with libraries to deliver the change we all want to see: https://www.sconul.ac.uk/news/libraries-call-on-academic-colleagues-to-help-shift-to-full-open-academic-publishing
We will continue to cover these developments in scholarly communications in future Opening Research blog posts.
Jisc and Springer Nature are working on implemention of the agreement – expected by 7th June and after which we will update our guidance for authors. Any questions can be directed to email@example.com.