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US Research Works Act

New York, 20 January 2012

We do not think that the RWA will be successful, but we hope that it will generate measured, intelligent and constructive debate, which we greatly prefer to histrionics and exaggeration. That said, the RWA does not seem to be rooted in opposition to open access, but rather in opposition to unfunded government mandates.

Springer is the largest open access publisher worldwide and fully supports – and significantly invests in – open access as a business model. “Gold” open access publishing provides one model to properly address the question of funding the system of ordered, layered and certified scientific knowledge that is currently performed by scholarly peer-reviewed journals. Springer welcomes any opportunity to develop and grow this model in partnership with researchers, institutions, societies and foundations.

“Green” open access archiving does not cover the costs associated with formal publication, and poses risks in terms of the sustainability of scholarly communications. Springer therefore believes that systematic green open access self-archiving enforced by an unfunded mandate and “one-size-fits-all” embargos should not be adopted as a policy. At the same time, we will always try to assist our authors in meeting publishing requirements they may face.

Should society deem it desirable to have scientific articles available for free to the public, it must come up with a system which not only pays for publishers’ investments, but which also ensures the sustainability of scientific communications. We believe that “gold” open access accomplishes this.

That said, we realize that scholarly communication is changing, and we continue to welcome discussions with all parties concerned with the future of scientific publishing.