OA benefits need better promotion, Springer Nature argues

News - Academic Tuesday, 12 February 2019

'We will continue to play our part in extoling the virtues of OA... and call on the wider community to do the same'

Springer Nature has called on participants in cOAlition S, promoter of the Plan S open access (OA) initiative, to put the promotion of the benefits of OA at the heart of their strategy. Plan S requires scientists and researchers whose work benefits from state funding to publish their work open access by next year. But Springer Nature believes that there remain valid reasons why many authors are unwilling to embrace OA models.

In a submission to cOAlition S, Springer has made six recommendations:
• All parties to work together towards a global level playing field by increasing the evidence-base around the benefits of Open Access and promoting them to the research community
• cOAlition S funders to make transformative deals, such as Publish and Read deals, a key part of Plan S given their proven ability to drive growth in OA
• cOAlition S funders to allow "hybrid" and "sister" journals to be Plan S compliant given their role in meeting different geographic, funder and disciplinary needs
• All parties to work together on a sustainable solution for highly selective journals and non-primary research content in journals given their different funding and cost characteristics
• Plan S principles to utilise market forces and competition to ensure "reasonable" APC levels or, if necessary, to take into account individual characteristics of journals and their associated publishing and workflow costs when ensuring "reasonable" APC levels
• Plan S to support innovative access platforms being built to provide early access to primary research

Steven Inchcoombe, Springer Nature chief publishing officer, said: "The primary goal of Plan S is to drive the transition to OA and specifically to substantially increase the number of OA research articles published each year as quickly as possible. For this to succeed and crucially to be sustainable, we need to also stimulate demand from authors and funders and this means much stronger promotion to them of the benefits of OA.

"At Springer Nature we have the journals - over 600 fully gold OA journals and 1,900 hybrid journals all with rapidly growing OA components. What we don't yet have is enough demand from authors across multiple disciplines and across multiple geographies and enough funders willing to support immediate OA publishing. Until that time comes, as a global publisher publishing across all the sciences, social sciences and humanities, we need to be able to continue to meet the publishing needs of all authors, whoever their funder or employer is. This is why the ability to offer an immediate open access publishing option on our widest portfolio of journals is so important, sustaining OA publishing across a total of 2,500 journals today and more in the future.

"We are calling on cOAlition S and the wider community to get behind a proven approach which will help demonstrate the benefits of gold OA to both funders and authors across disciplines and across geographies and significantly increase OA take up rates. We will continue to play our part in extoling the virtues of OA using evidence-based studies and call on the wider community to do the same in order to help the pendulum swing faster."

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