Springer Compact agreement: first year evaluation

It has now been more than one year since the start of the Springer Compact agreement in January 2016. In this blog post, Jisc Collections has evaluated the impact of the agreement in its first year.

The Springer Compact agreement is a flipped model which enables researchers from the 90 participating UK institutions to publish their articles immediately as open access in ~1,600 Springer journals as well as to access all content published in ~2,500 Springer journals.

The agreement is a move away from the historical print model and as such aims to reduce cost and administration barriers to hybrid open access publishing and to promote a move towards the publication of peer-reviewed research content on open access. Moreover, it allows all UK articles published in eligible Springer Open Choice hybrid journals to be made open access immediately upon publication. In turn, this assists institutions in being compliant with funder requirements.

The 2016 key findings were that:

  • 3,073 articles have been published on open access between January and December;
  • The number of open access articles published by UK authors in 2016 (under the Springer Compact agreement) was 205% higher than the number of articles published on open access in Springer hybrid journals in 2015;
  • All institutions taking part in the Springer Compact deal published open access articles equivalent to or in excess of their total 2014 APC spend. Thus all institutions capped their 2014 APC spend, a core requirement of the agreement;
  • 18 institutions (20%) published open access articles to the value of or in excess of the combined fee paid to Springer. These institutions have essentially flipped the subscription model to one of open access;
  • The number of articles published on open access represented 57.7% (3,073) of the total articles submitted to Springer. 19.6% (1,041) of articles were author opt-outs from publication in open access and 22.7% (1,209) were published in non-hybrid journals;
  • The highest number of open access articles were published in February (299 articles, 9.7%) and November (285 articles, 9.3%) (Figure 1);

    Figure 1 – Articles by month
  • The institutions with the highest number of open access articles published were University College London (218 articles, 7.1%), the University of Cambridge (196 articles, 6.4%) and the University of Manchester (155 articles, 5%) (Figure 2);

    Figure 2 – Articles by institution
  • The Jisc Bands with the highest number of open access articles published were Jisc Bands 2 (739 articles, 24%), 1 (687 articles, 22.4%) and 3 (539 articles, 17.5%). Conversely, the Jisc Bands with the highest number of institutions signed up to the agreement were Bands 5A (19 institutions), 5B (18 institutions) and 6 (10 institutions) (Figure 3);

    Figure 3 – Articles by Jisc Band
  • The disciplines with most open access articles published were Medicine & Public Health (682 articles, 22.2%), Life Sciences (310 articles, 10%), Biomedicine (231 articles, 7.5%), and Philosophy (180 articles, 5.9%) (Figure 4);

    Figure 4 – Articles by discipline
  • 99.9% of the open access articles were published under CC BY licences as required by the agreement and supporting compliance with major research funders open access policies (COAF, RCUK, Wellcome Trust, HEFCE, Horizon 2020) and will be deposited by Springer in Jisc Publications Router;
  • The journals with the highest number of open access articles published were Diabetologia (45 articles, 1.5%), Synthese (41 articles, 1.3%), and the International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology (28 articles, 0.9%) (Figure 5);

    Figure 5 – Articles by journal title
  • Two hybrid journals flipped to fully open access in 2017 – Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine and Gynaecological Surgery;
  • At the international level, the UK has the highest number of articles published in 2016 when compared to Austria (1,013 articles), the Netherlands (963 articles), Sweden (665 articles – since participation began in mid-2016), and Germany’s Max Planck Society (159 articles).

Based on the research undertaken, some areas require further consideration between the stakeholders involved (Jisc Collections, UK institutions and SpringerNature). Jisc Collections will continue to assess the impact of this agreement and to update UK institutions on its progress.

Jisc Collections plan to publish further analysis of the first year of the Springer Compact agreement during 2016.

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