Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Friday, June 22, 2007

OA project from Springer and library consortium

Springer and Dutch library consortium to cooperate in open access initiative, a press release from the Dutch UKB (Universiteitsbibliotheken en de Koninklijke Bibliotheek), June 21, 2007.  Excerpt:

The Dutch consortium of research libraries, UKB, and Springer have signed a letter of intent to the effect that they will jointly explore the potential of open access publishing. This is the first time a prominent scientific publisher and a consortium of research libraries explicitly join forces on an open access initiative.

UKB strongly supports the open access model for scientific publishing as a means to stimulate the widespread use and re-use of scientific information, because payment of an "article processing charge" ensures universal free access to the published information. Springer has developed its Open Choice-programme to meet increased demand by scientists for open access publication, while at the same time demonstrating the considerable added value of formal publishers and journals....

The letter of intent signed by UKB en Springer is therefore designed to:

  1. allow authors to gain experience with open access publishing in existing, established journals;
  2. allow open access media to build a solid scientific reputation;
  3. gain experience with the economic viability of the business model whereby the publisher is paid for publication (at the point of input: pay-to-publish) rather than for access to content (at the point of output: subscriptions or access licenses)....

The letter of intent contains four elements:

  1. Within the framework of the existing licensing agreement with UKB, Springer undertakes to offer free and immediate world-wide access to articles which have been accepted for publication in one of Springer's journals in 2007 by corresponding authors whose main affiliation is with one of the UKB members;
  2. Springer allows for simultaneous publication of the articles in the open access institutional repositories of UKB members (DARE);
  3. In the course of 2007, UKB and Springer will negotiate a long-term open access agreement;
  4. The intention of both UKB and Springer is to evaluate the arrangement, which is seen as a pilot, with all stakeholders, and to actively disseminate the outcome of the evaluation....

Also see the press release in Dutch

Comment.  This has interesting potential, but we'll have to wait for more details before we know what's new here.  Springer authors can already get immediate OA for their articles if they pay Springer's publication fee.  The announcement suggests that Springer's OA authors from UKB-member institutions will get OA from the moment of acceptance.  But am I reading that correctly?  Would that create two OA editions, one copy-edited and one not?  What does it mean to limit this offer to the "framework of the existing licensing agreement with UKB"?  Will Springer also offer fee waivers to its OA authors from UKB-member institutions?  Springer already allows deposit of its OA articles in DARE repositories.  (Indeed, with some qualifications it allows deposit of its non-OA articles.)  The "long-term open access agreement" between Springer and UKB isn't specified, but my guess is that it will include trusted preservation for Springer's digital publications.  I'll post more when I know more.

Update. Inge Angevaare, Executive Secretary of the UKB, has sent me helpful answers to my questions. (Thanks, Inge.) First, Springer will waive publication fees for authors from UKB-member institutions. Second, the OA articles under this program will be copy-edited and become OA at the moment of publication.