Services, Society & Partner Zone Issue 19

Selling your Content – Springer’s Business Models

Springer works hard to ensure your content reaches the widest possible audience. One of the best ways to do this is to work with consortia that represent thousands of academic institutions around the world. Consortia sales typically favour the “big deal”, where their members get access to multiple journals or books at a discounted rate rather than subscribing to titles individually.

In recent years, the structure of the big deal has changed as budget pressures have lead to publishers and consortia heads being more creative to deliver the content required by their members.

Society & Partner Zone spoke to Dagmar Laging, Vice-President Library Sales, to learn more.

Society & Partner Zone: How is Springer supporting the “big deal” in the current financial climate?

Dagmar Laging: We have become more flexible in our approach by making the “big deal” more adaptive to budget restraints; for example, by creating content collections that are suited to the needs of the customer or user audience. This might include offering subject-specific content packages or including additional titles as necessary.

This targeted approach is particularly supportive of customers in developed countries who have experienced severe cuts in budget. By way of example, university library budgets in Spain have been cut by 60-70%. They are now only really accepting content from the largest 4 publishers, which luckily includes Springer.

We are working with the universities in Spain and across Europe and the Middle East to provide a model that works with their budgets as they stand right now but is also flexible enough to adapt when the economic situation improves.

It’s a topic that we’ll be discussing in more depth in our upcoming library advisory board meetings.

Have you noticed any changes in the way that consortia select content for their members?

There is a little more customisation required but overall, the value of such deals is recognised and for the majority of our markets, the big deal is still a valid and substantial business model, widely accepted around the world. Europe is the area where we are seeing the most need for modification due to budget restrictions, but developing countries still want the breadth and depth that such arrangements provide.

Do you think that consortia deals still offer societies the benefits broadly expected e.g. global audience, improved awareness, increased chances of citation, etc?

Absolutely. Consortia deals remain the bread and butter of our business and offer our publishing partners global accessibility and visibility of their content.

Has the new SpringerLink presented any new opportunities for selling content?

New SpringerLink has helped improve accessibility and visibility of content. The content is structured into more relevant subject areas and is more interconnected, facilitating greater discoverability of content and increasing usage.

The platform has also presented opportunities to explore new business models and reach new markets and sectors. For example, we’ve introduced deposit accounts to serve the needs of corporate organisations, hospitals and government institutions (such as the Houses of Parliament, MI5 and the air force in the UK) more effectively. Customers in these sectors have different usage needs and budget allocation and the deposit account business model gives them control over costs while offering flexibility to increase access to content as budgets allow.

At a time when pressure in the academic market has lead to some revenue erosion, new SpringerLink has enabled us to move into new markets that would not have been possible before and recover some of this loss, while reaching new markets and opening up new sales potential.