Springer's open access track record

Over the past decade, the role of open access publishing has been a topic of ongoing debate within the scientific community.

Springer is proud of our track record as a participant in these discussions and as an industry leader in establishing open access as a model for expanding access to top quality scientific publications for researchers worldwide. Since the launch of Springer Open Choice in 2004, we have continued to be both receptive and proactive in the open access movement. We have summarized Springer's history of open access activities below.


Alignment of journal list prices - June 2017 

The list prices for institutional licences of Springer Nature hybrid journals are based solely on subscription content volume.
For 2018, we are aligning the adjustment methodology to ensure we have a consistent policy across all Springer Nature hybrid journals, and hybrid academic journals on nature.com and Palgrave Macmillan hybrid journals will adopt the methodology currently used for Springer hybrid journals.  This means that only subscription articles have been factored into the 2018 list price calculations: the OA share of the most recent year (2016) for which we had full data when the 2018 prices were calculated has been applied.  General price increases due to subscription article volume growth have also been applied for 2018, where appropriate. 
Adjustments of the list price based on subscription volume have historically been a part of our business: Since 2010, hybrid academic journals on nature.com and Palgrave Macmillan hybrid journals have adjusted their list prices for institutional licences on a regular basis to take into account changes in the volume of subscription content. Under this policy, journals whose subscription content changed by more than 10% when comparing the previous two years had their institutional licence price adjusted. Springer has also been committed to factoring the Open Choice article uptake into journal subscription prices since 2011. Since 2015, Springer journal list prices have solely reflected subscription article publications. This means that only subscription articles have been factored into the list price calculation, with general price increases due to subscription article volume growth also applied. 

 2014 – 2013

Factoring in Open Choice articles into 2015 journal list prices – Sep 2014

Springer has been committed to factoring the Open Choice article uptake into journal subscription prices since 2011.
Now, we have gone a step further: the 2015 journal list prices solely reflect the subscription-based article publications. This means that only subscription-based articles have been factored into the 2015 list-price calculation. General price increases due to subscription-based article volume growth were also applied.
Due to the new list-price adjustment approach, the open access shares of around 1,023 journals have been taken into consideration in the 2015 list price calculation.

Springer’s open access titles move to new CC-BY 4.0 license - February 2014

Articles submitted to SpringerOpen, BioMed Central, and Chemistry Central journals from 03 February 2014 onwards will be subject to the new CC-BY 4.0 Creative Commons Attribution license. This also applies to open access articles published in the majority of Springer’s subscription-based journals using the Open Choice option. The new license is more digital-friendly, and includes a simplified attribution requirement.

Springer journals participating in SCOAP3 – December 2013

The SCOAP3 consortium (Sponsoring Consortium for Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics), which will convert journals in high energy physics to open access, includes two Springer journals. They are the Journal of High Energy Physics, published by Springer for the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA – Trieste, Italy), and The European Physical Journal C, co-published by Società Italiana di Fisica (SIF – Bologna, Italy). Under SCOAP3, both journals will be converted to fully open access journals with a Creative Commons Attribution license as of January 2014. The costs will be centrally covered by the SCOAP3 consortium through a process of reduction and re-direction of subscription fees.

To facilitate SCOAP3, Springer reconciles the reductions in subscription fees and adjusts library licenses worldwide.

For more information visit scoap3.org or refer to the press release issued by CERN in December 2013.

Adjusting prices is a Springer standard – Sep 2013

Just as we have done since 2011, Springer has again reviewed the open access share for all journals and adjusted the list price of those journals which reached a significant threshold of paid Open Choice articles.

In 2014, the subscription prices of 92 journals were adjusted based on Open Choice content.

2012 – 2004

Adjusting prices with significant Open Choice share is a Springer standard – Sep 2012

For the third year running, Springer adjusts prices of subscription-based journals with significant Open Choice share. 74 journals are affected in the 2013 price list.

Expanding our SpringerOpen portfolio to books – August 2012

In August 2012, Springer expanded its open access program to fully open access books as addition to our already established open access journal portfolio. SpringerOpen books (dead_link http://www.springeropen.com/book) are freely and permanently available online at SpringerLink and are published under the Creative Commons Non-Commercial (CC BY-NC) license, enabling authors/editors to retain copyright to their work. The open access option is available for all types of books across all disciplines. Authors benefit from our Open Access Membership Program by receiving a loyalty discount on the publication fee if their institution is one of our over 400 Members.

Permitting commercial use for our Open Choice program – January 2012

In January 2012, Springer brought its hybrid open access option Open Choice into line with the fully open access journals published by SpringerOpen and BioMed Central. As a result, all open access content at Springer is published under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license from January 16, 2012 onwards. The CC-BY license permits commercial and non-commercial re-use of an open access article as long as the author is attributed.

Launching SpringerPlus – January 2012

Also in January 2012, Springer launched SpringerPlus, an open access journal with a broad interdisciplinary approach accepting high-quality research across all areas of science, technology and medicine (STM). SpringerPlus joins our portfolio of over 300 open access journals, including both SpringerOpen and BioMed Central publications.

Reacting to the US Research Works Act (RWA) – January 2012

The US Research Works Act (RWA) was introduced in the United States House of Representatives in December 2011. The bill contains provisions to prohibit open access mandates for federally funded research and effectively revert the NIH's Public Access Policy introduced by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 2005, a policy that requires all NIH-funded research to be made freely accessible online within 12 months.

In January 2012, following the discussion within the community, Springer published a statement on the RWA. On February 27, 2012, an official statement was issued by the responsible Representatives that they would not push for legislative action on the bill.

Launching SpringerOpen – June 2010

In June 2010, Springer launched SpringerOpen, our portfiolio of peer-reviewed fully open access journals covering all areas of sciene, technology and medicine (STM). SpringerOpen journals are freely and immediately available online and publish articles under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license, enabling authors to retain copyright and comply with open access mandates. SpringerOpen journals are covered by our Open Access Membership Program. Over 400 Member institutions support open access by covering some or all of the publication cost for their researchers.

Being more involved than ever: SOAP/PEER – 2009

From March 2009 until February 2011 Springer participated in the Study of Open Access Publishing (SOAP), a project funded by the European Commission. This extensive study was supported by libraries (the Max Planck Digital Library), funding agencies, research institutes (CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research) and other publishers (BioMed Central, Sage Publications). Springer is further involved in the PEER Project, a collaboration between publishers, repositories and researchers.

Becoming the largest open access publisher – October 2008

In October 2008, Springer acquired BioMed Central, the leading global open access publisher with a portfolio of over 200 peer-reviewed open access journals. This acquisition makes Springer the world's largest open access publisher.

Reacting to the NIH Debate – 2007/2008

In the autumn of 2007, the debate in the United States on the National Institute of Health (NIH) Public Access Policy became so intense that, in September 2007, Springer issued a statement clarifying its position. In April 2008, Springer changed its Copyright Transfer Statement, allowing authors to fully comply with the NIH Public Access Policy.

Pioneering Institutional Experiments – 2007

In June 2007, UKB (the consortium of Dutch university libraries and the National Library of the Netherlands) and Springer signed a declaration of intent for a pilot project to study the economic effects of open access publishing – the first ever by a large STM publisher and a consortium of libraries in this area. In September 2007 the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) expressed its support for Springer Open Choice as a publishing option for its grantees, and other institutions followed.

The idea of these institutional open access agreements continues in our Open Access Membership Program, which enables academic and research institutions, societies and funders to actively support open access by removing some or all of the financial cost from the individual author.

Launching Springer Open Choice – 2004

In early 2004, at the height of the debate on open access and STM publishing, Springer began looking into a system that would accommodate those that wished to publish open access. In the spirit of experimentation that is part of Springer’s corporate culture, Springer Open Choice was launched.

Our Open Choice program enables authors to choose the publishing model after their article has been through the peer review process. The author has the choice of paying a publishing fee of US$ 3000/EUR 2000 and publishing open access, or not paying and publishing with the traditional subscription model. The majority of our subscription-based Springer journals offer the Open Choice option.