Open access, Issue 7 March 2011

SpringerOpen - Springer’s innovative approach to open access publishing

Over the last few years, the landscape of open access publishing has gathered momentum. There has been tremendous support from authors and the academic community who appreciate the significant visibility that this new way of publishing brings their research. Springer has always been proactive in embracing open access and so in response to this growing interest launched SpringerOpen in June 2010.

SpringerOpen is Springer’s new range of fully open access journals giving authors in all areas of science the opportunity to take advantage of this new publishing model. It includes both new and existing Springer open access titles and covers all disciplines within the science, technology and medicine (STM) fields, including Mathematics, Economics, Computer Science, Engineering and Environmental Sciences. Over the last year, SpringerOpen has grown considerably from just 6 available journals in October 2010 to more than 40 journals that are now open to submission of articles.

All SpringerOpen journals are fully open access and the entire content is freely and immediately available online. It can be re-used and re-distributed as long as the original publisher, author and citation details are identified. All articles are published under the Creative Commons Attribution License, enabling authors to retain copyright and comply with open access mandates.

SpringerOpen journals are subject to the same high quality standards as Springer’s traditional journals, with rigorous peer review and high level author and production services. A simple and efficient online submission tool and step by step process guide makes it easy for authors to submit articles for publication. Articles published in SpringerOpen journals are also automatically deposited in all major bibliographic databases and institutional repositories to ensure maximum visibility and exposure, enabling researchers and clinicians around the world to easily find and cite references.

Yet despite the fact that most SpringerOpen journals are relatively new, some have already been accepted by Thomson Reuters (ISI) for citation tracking and inclusion in Web of Science. These journals either already have notable Impact Factors (such as Nanoscale Research Letters with an Impact Factor of 2.89 or Gold Bulletin with an Impact Factor of 2.32) or are expected to receive Impact Factors within the next two years.

In 2008, to further its commitment to open access publishing, Springer acquired BioMed Central, a premier open access publisher with a portfolio of over 200 open access journals including some of the most highly-ranked journals in their respective fields. BioMed Central has more than 10 years of experience with publishing open access journals leveraging an innovative infrastructure.

More recently, Springer acquired 12 open access journals from Hindawi Publishing Corporation to further expand its open access publishing program. The acquisition provides even greater evidence of the vibrancy that exists with regards to open access publishing and adds four new journals in Mathematics and seven journals published in co-operation with the European Association for Signal Processing (EURASIP) to SpringerOpen. One journal in medicine will be added to BioMed Central’s portfolio.

As well as offering an advantageous way for individual authors to publish their research, Springer also provides a cost-effective way for libraries and institutions to actively support open access and help ensure the most widespread dissemination of the research published by their researchers or members.

Open access journals operate under a reversed business model to traditional journals. While the traditional model relies on restricting access to published research in order to recoup the costs of the publication process, the open access publishing model treats publication as the last phase of the research process. Instead of charging users a fee to read the content, an article-processing charge (APC) is charged to authors at the beginning of the process and is used to cover the cost of publication. In some instances, this fee can present too high a financial burden for the author to bear so to overcome this, Springer offers an Open Access Membership Program in cooperation with their partner BioMedCentral.

Comprising different membership packages designed to fit in with a variety of budget needs, the Membership Program enables academic and research institutions, societies and funding bodies to remove some or all of the financial cost from the individual author. Since its introduction, more than 350 institutions across 39 countries have participated in the Membership Program.

In the next issue of Author Zone, we will feature an interview with Heinz Pampel of the Helmholtz Association, one of the latest organizations to sign a Membership agreement with Springer, to ask his views about the Program and the importance of open access publishing to the scientific community.
For more information about SpringerOpen, please visit