Research Publishing: Projekt DEAL, Springer Nature in New Five-Year Accord

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The three-publisher program devised to elevate German open-access research publication reports that it expects a formal signing of a new accord within weeks.

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

A Second Projekt DEAL Agreement for Springer Nature
Today (November 8) in Germany, a new five-year transformative agreement is apparently close to being signed by Holtzbrinck‘s Springer Nature Group and the Berlin-based consortium Projekt DEAL.

This follows the news we covered in September that Amsterdam’s Elsevier had also entered a five-year agreement, in that case for the first time.

The newly announced Springer Nature agreement, like that of Wiley, is an extension of a first arrangement, and in that 2020 pilot, Springer Nature reports, the company has seen a threefold increase in open-access article output, with roughly 15,800 articles published in 2022 almost 15,000 of which were part of the DEAL program.

This is exactly the kind of marker that Projekt DEAL was created to produce: Germany’s Projekt DEAL is a collective of more than 1,000 academic institutions in a structure initiated by the German Rectors’ Conference to create transformative agreements with the three biggest publishers of scholarly journals—Wiley, Springer Nature, and Elsevier.

Springer, in messaging the media today says that its original 2020 arrangement with Projekt DEAL “significantly accelerated the transition toward freely available research, leading to the 15,800-article figure in stark contrast to a 2018 article count of fewer than 4,700.

The company also says that its experience with the program has “increased the visibility of German research worldwide with downloads of Springer Nature content created by researchers in Germany  increasing from 8.7 million in 2020 to more than 48.6 million in 2022. 

And the program, from Springer Nature’s perspective, reportedly has meant equal access to global subscription content for German institutions, usage of which grew by 53 percent between 2018 and 2022.

Dagmar Laging

In a prepared statement on the news of the second agreement for Springer Nature, Dagmar Laging, the company’s vice-president of institutional sales in Europe, is quoted, saying, “DEAL has been a real success story in accelerating the open-access transition in Germany.

“The impact it has had on increasing the visibility and usage of high-quality German research worldwide is clearly seen in the data.

“The intention to extend the agreement not only shows the value it has for the  German research community, but also illustrates the value placed in transformative agreements as key, sustainable drivers for open science. ”

Apparently, the new agreement has not yet been signed. Springer Nature reports that that formal step is ahead “in the coming weeks.”

Researchers from participating institutions working through the access of this program are publishing in the hybrid journals Springer, Palgrave, and Adis, and also in its fully open-access portfolio that includes the Nature titles. In working through this agreement, participating institutions’ researchers retain access to subscription articles through those same hybrid journal groups, while a separate framework agreement for open-access publishing in the Nature research journals is in place with Max Planck Digital Library.

Gerhard Meijer

Max Planck’s Gerhard Meijer, who directs the Fritz Haber Institute, was the negotiator for the Projekt DEAL consortium on this second agreement with Springer Nature, and says, “We are close to concluding a forward-looking opt-in agreement with Springer Nature.

“Through constructive and trusting negotiations, we have reached an agreement in principle that not only strengthens our partnership, but also reflects a shared commitment to advance open access and promote the dissemination of knowledge.

“This forthcoming agreement marks a significant step in our collaboration and underlines our commitment to shaping the future of scholarly communication.”

Currently, Springer Nature reiterates a goal of having 50 percent of its primary research published open-access by the end of 2024.


More from Publishing Perspectives on scholarly publishing is here, more on Springer Nature is here, more on Wiley is here, more on Elsevier is here, more on Projekt DEAL is here, and more on open access is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson 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 (Fellow, 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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