Springer Nature unveils alternative OA route

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All authors submitting to Nature and the Nature research journals will have the option to publish open access from January.

Springer Nature last month announced that German authors would be able to publish their primary research open access in Nature and the Nature research journals, thanks to a ground-breaking agreement with the Max Planck Digital Library (MPDL).  While highly effective in transitioning articles to open access, transformative agreements like this can be complicated and take time to put in place. In recognition of this, Springer Nature today announces that authors seeking to publish OA in Nature and the Nature research journals will no longer have to wait.  

From January 2021, all authors will be able to publish Gold OA when submitting to Nature and the 32 Nature primary research journals and will be afforded the same APC as MPDL, which is 9,500 euros. As such, these will be the first highly selective journals to offer their authors an immediate OA publishing option in this way. Research published in Nature and the Nature research journals is downloaded by institutional users over 30 times more than papers in a typical journal. Springer Nature says dedicated in-house teams promote the research articles widely, this year achieving around 10,000 mentions in policy documents, generating over 100,000 news stories around the world and attracting over three million mentions on Twitter.

This new open access option is positive news also for Plan S-funded authors as it means that Springer Nature is delivering on its commitment to enable gold OA publishing in all its owned journals by January 2021.

Springer Nature will also roll out a new OA pilot from January 2021.  The pilot initially covers six journals and offers authors the chance to publish in one of a number of Nature portfolio journals whilst only submitting once, hence reducing their time and uncertainty and increasing efficiency for all. Authors willing to opt-in to the pilot will pay an editorial assessment charge and have their manuscript guided through the submission process by a Nature research editor who offers extensive feedback, including external peer review, in the form of an Editorial Assessment Report. 

If authors go on to publish in one of the participating journals then they will pay a top up fee which for a Nature research journal would mean a reduced total APC of around 5,000 euros. Authors that opt out when they receive the editorial assessment report or are not accepted for publication, can use their report to help them get published in another journal.

Authors will still be able to choose to publish their work via the existing traditional route, where authors can publish without paying an APC and their primary research is available to institutions and individuals who subscribe to the journal. Articles that the Nature journalists and editors create and commission, such as highly valued News and Views articles which provide readers with an expert summary of scientific advances as reported in recently published papers, will continue to be available to institutions and individuals who subscribe to the journal.

Alison Mitchell, chief journals officer at Springer Nature, said: 'At Springer Nature we have been committed to driving the transition to open access for 20 years. This is why, using our experience, we have been able to come up with a range of options to enable authors to publish OA in our highly selective titles. While transformative agreements are the biggest driver of OA transition and largely avoid the need for significant additional funding from authors themselves, these take time for institutions to put in place and are not suitable for all organisations. I am delighted that we are now able to open up this opportunity to all authors and also to experiment with brand new ways of helping our authors succeed via the guided OA pilot.

'In addition, and in recognition of our shared goal of gold OA, we are today submitting these titles, along with all the other journals we own and the vast majority of journals we publish on behalf of partners, to cOAlition S for registration as transformative journals and inclusion in the Journal Tracker Tool .  With a clear OA option now in place for the Nature portfolio, this should ensure cOAlition S funded authors can be made aware of all Springer Nature’s gold OA options in 2021.'

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