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Springer responds to issues around Springer Images

Dordrecht, 12 June 2012

We would like to thank the research community for drawing our attention to several defects in our Springer Images product. Although we try our very best to deliver high-quality products and services that benefit the scientific community, sometimes we make mistakes, and we would like to apologize for those we have made in this case.

On 5 June 2012, we announced that we would be correcting the mistakes as quickly as possible, and we are now able to inform you that we have made a number of corrections to the product, but we must also admit that not all of them are solved yet. Our dedicated team will continue to work as fast as it can to eliminate the remaining glitches.

What we have done so far:

  • The new release of Springer Images went live last night at around 1800 hrs CET, and we are pleased to say that we have made the following changes which apply to all open access images BioMed Central and Springer Open (based on DOI):• We have removed all copyright lines that contain the words BioMed Central and not the word licensee.
  • We have replaced the copyright policy paragraph near the bottom of the image details page with “This image is published with open access under the Creative Commons Attribution license.”
  • We have removed the line “If you would like to obtain permissions for the re-use or re-print of this image, please click here”. (NOTE, we have removed this line from *all* open access images (regardless of DOI).

In addition, we have manually stopped display of *all* images with MediaWiki or Wikipedia in the caption. These images will not be displayed again until we can reliably differentiate among those that have non-commercial restrictions.

What we still must do:

  • We must still continue to closely monitor copyrightable adaptations of open access images, including those that build on previous work. In these cases, it may often be unclear whether a figure is genuinely adapted, or simply reprinted.
  • We will also be reaching out to Creative Commons and Wikipedia to investigate whether working together might help us to find the best approach to these challenges.
  • We will need to quickly address the fact that now several open access images do not list any copyright at all. This is a stopgap measure and our team is working on correcting it.
  • We will also continue to listen to our authors, researchers and the wider scientific community not only to ensure that our high quality products remain so, but also to correct any bugs that they may have. Should you wish to point out any further technical/copyright difficulties with Springer Images, please contact

We would like to stress that the (non-exclusive) inclusion of open access images in Springer Images is an example of the greater visibility and reuse possibilities that open access enables, and we would like to explicitly state that our intention is to ensure that all open access images in Springer Images are searchable and freely available in full, with no subscription required to access them.

Again, we would like to apologize to the authors whose images were affected as well as to the scientific community for the problems with this product. Furthermore, we would like to thank those of you that provided us with constructive criticism which has allowed us to correct the major issues quickly.

Wim van der Stelt
Executive Vice President
Corporate Strategy
Springer Science+Business Media

Further Information