Academic Publishing Edition: Springer Nature Strikes Egyptian Open Access Deal

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Said to be the first transformative agreement in Egypt and the Middle East, Springer Nature and Egyptian Knowledge Bank have a new deal.

A riverboat on the Nile at Cairo in January. Image – Getty iStockphoto: Max Zolotukhin

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Also in our Academic Publishing Edition today:

Shawki: ‘The Tools They Need’
First reported in mid-December, Springer Nature‘s transformative agreement with the Egyptian government is said to be the Middle East’s first such deal. The agreement has the participation of Egypt’s Science, Technology, and Innovation Funding Authority and the Egyptian Knowledge Bank.

As Publishing Perspectives readers know, transformative agreements are made between institutions such as libraries and national agencies to change, transform, business models that support scholarly journal publishing.

As Springer Nature’s staff describes it, “Under a transformative agreement, subscription access and open-access publishing are brought together into one reading and publishing contract across a consortium of institutions. This means that researchers in those institutions can publish under the ‘gold’ open access model, while also gaining access to research in subscription journals.

“Spearheaded by Springer Nature—with the first such agreement signed with the Association of Dutch Universities, VSNU, Netherlands in 2014—these agreements make the administration of open access simpler for both the institutions participating and their researchers. In addition, these agreements enable a wider group of researchers to benefit from the enhanced discoverability, increased citation, and increased usage of open-access content.”

These agreements can help some academic disciplines that lack open-access funding, and also provide researchers with an easy way to comply with funders’ open-access requirements.

In the case of the Egyptian agreement, the expectation is that as many as 3,000 open-access articles will be published annually with Springer Nature by Egyptian researchers, giving researchers who are permitted to read the content access to more than 2,400 Springer Nature journals—as well as the option to publish in Springer Nature’s journals and its hybrid and fully open-access portfolio of journals.

Tarek Shawki

This is not, as it turns out, Springer Nature’s first arrangement with the Egyptian Knowledge Bank. Media messaging refers to a longstanding partnership that sees Springer Nature publish 35 Egyptian journals on behalf of Knowledge Bank. Through its Nature Research Academies program, Springer helps support Egyptian researchers.

Egypt has a 2030 strategy that calls for educational development, sustainable open access, and scientific content for the country’s researchers.

In a prepared statement, Tarek Shawki, the minister of education and technical education—as well as chief of the Egyptian Knowledge Bank—is quoted, saying, “Enabling more Egyptian researchers to take advantage of access to world-class publications and the ability to sustainably publish their high-quality research open access for global dissemination is a significant step.”

The deal helps to ensure, he says, that “all Egyptians, no matter what their economic circumstances, will have the tools they need to excel in their education and research.”

Frank Vranken Peeters

For Springer Nature, the company’s CEO, Frank Vrancken Peeters, says, “Enabling all research to be published open-access through agreements such as this is an integral part of advancing scientific discovery [to] increase publishing options and reach for Egyptian researchers.

“This deal is a testament not only to our strong partnerships and experience in delivering sustainable national transformative deals. It also [demonstrates] our commitment to finding achievable pathways, for all economies, to open science.

“We look forward to working with the Egyptian Knowledge Bank to deliver and advance this shared goal.”

As of this agreement’s completion, Springer Nature counted 14 national agreements, including the world’s largest by article volume with Projekt DEAL in Germany.

Company reports indicate that countries with these deals with Springer Nature see between 70 and 90 percent of their authors publishing open access. The new agreement is seen by Springer Nature as an important event in Egypt’s progress toward full open access.

Carolyn Honour

Springer Nature’s CCO, Carolyn Honour, is quoted, saying, “While transformative agreements are complex and no two partnerships or regions are the same, we believe their role is clear in providing a sustainable path to a full open-access environment.

“Individual partner needs and requirements have to be taken into account and therefore reaching such a deal has only been possible through the commitment and investment of the Egyptian government.”


More from Publishing Perspectives on Springer Nature is here, more on academic and scholarly publishing is here, more on transformative agreements and more on open access is here.

More from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson is a non-resident fellow of Trends Research & Advisory, and he has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.

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