Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Interview with Springer's Derk Haank

Richard Poynder, Put Up or Shut Up, Information Today, September 2004. Poynder interviews Derk Haank, former chairman of Elsevier Science and current CEO of Springer, about his move from Elsevier, the big deal, and open access. Excerpts:

Q: So why have you introduced Open Choice?

A: What we are saying is: "Look. It's not that we don't want to change on principle; we've been advocating the traditional model simply because we thought it was practical. But if you want to try open access, and you can really organize yourselves in a different way, and the money starts to come out of a different pot, we are happy to change our internal procedures to accommodate you." [...]

Q: You have set the publication fee at $3,000 a paper. Critics say this is too high, that authors won't pay that much; and so, perhaps Springer is only going through the motions. Is Derk Haank really serious about open access?

A: As always, I am very serious --$3,000 is a very competitive price. Even open-access advocates would have to acknowledge that. The Wellcome Trust report, for instance, estimated the true cost of publishing a paper at more like $3,500.

Q: But if PLoS charges $1,500 and BioMed Central just $525, how can Open Choice be competitive?

A: Of course, we can't compete with heavily subsidized prices from new initiatives. In reality, however, it is they who are not competitive because they can't offer a brand name like Springer's.

(PS: When this interview first appeared, yesterday, it was not OA. Thanks to Information Today for making it OA today.)