Academic Publishing: Springer Nature Has Two New Transformative Agreements

In News by Porter Anderson

Two state library networks have expanded the portfolio of North American transformative agreements for Springer Nature.

Carrie Webster. Image: Springer Nature

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

OhioLINK and Virtual Library of Virginia
A property of Germany’s Holtzbrinck Publishing Group, the Berlin-based Springer Nature‘s two new transformative agreements are with the Virtual Library of Virginia, commonly known as VIVA, and OhioLINK, the acronym part of which stands for Library and Information Network.

One of the arguments that Springer Nature makes for its successful negotiation of these deals is that its international reach is good “for US research” outside that market. “Supporting the open-access standing of publications at more than 3,500 institutions worldwide should be seen as a competitive advantage, helping the United States to maintain an edge on innovation.”

The two arrangements are expected—according to Springer Nature’s media messaging—to contribute this year “a 100-percent increase in articles covered under Springer’s transformative agreements in the Americas.

Some Publishing Perspectives readers will recall that on August 25, 2022, the administration of the States’ president, Joe Biden, issued what’s called the “Nelson memo“—so-called for Dr. Alondra Nelson and sometimes referred to as the “OSTP Memo” for Office of Science and Technology Policy. The order was described by the White House as “ensuring free, immediate, and equitable access to federally funded research.”

In essence, the order requires public access to federally funded research content, which of course pushes the industry and its activities toward open-access transformative agreements.

And in its memo to members of the news media, Springer Nature writes, “In the effort to follow through on the Nelson memo, transformative agreements have proven to be the most effective approach to achieving immediate open access for all primary research.

“This is because transformative agreements consolidate subscription fees expended by libraries for access to reading paywalled journals and article processing charges (APCs) expended by authors to publish open access, into one agreement with an eye to cost-control and the scholarly transition to open access.”

The trend also, needless to say, helps fuel the sweeping competition among such companies as Springer Nature for such transformative agreements, making them become one of the scholarly publishing industry’s most valuable currencies.

To ‘Expand Access’ and ‘Remove Barriers’

In a prepared statement, Amy Pawloski, OhioLINK’s executive director, says the program’s work “with Springer” is “to both expand access to Ohio’s scholarship and remove barriers to research and learning.”

Amy Pawlowski

Carrie Webster, the vice-president of open access at Springer Nature, is quoted, saying, “Transformative agreements drive equity by allowing researchers who would not have enough funding otherwise, to instantly publish their articles open-access in journals of their choosing.

“Open-access articles are more frequently read and cited than those published behind paywalls and allow researchers to conduct collaborative research internationally.

“The primary catalyst of transformative agreements is the decision of researchers to publish open access.”

Genya O’Gara

And Genya O’Gara, VIVA’s acting director, is quoted, saying that the new agreement is “aimed at significantly expanding the reach of Virginia’s research and scholarship while enhancing Virginia authors’ access to publishing opportunities.

“This partnership underscores VIVA’s dedication to providing equitable publishing opportunities for researchers in Virginia and ensuring access to learning materials for all students, irrespective of their institution.”

And as rationale for what it says is the importance of these and other transformative agreements, the company says that at the University of California—our readers will recall the August extension of its 2020 arrangement—”open access articles published by that school’s research authors through the transformative agreement in 2021 and 2022 were downloaded more than 3.6 million times total, in various parts of the world, a 120-percent increase over the previous year, prior to the Springer transformative agreement.”

More on Springer Nature is here, more on open access is here, and more on scholarly and academic publishing 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 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.