Back in March 2017 Jisc Collections distributed the Year 1 Springer Compact agreement report to 90 participating UK Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). Simultaneously, Jisc Collections invited HEIs to complete a survey on the agreement in order to obtain the views of the community following the first year since it started.
This blog post is a summary of the survey results in which HEIs expressed a range of comments, both positive and negative. It also identifies a number of recommendations made by HEIs and these are currently being implemented. Prior to its release, the survey was tested internally and with a number of HEIs. All the recommendations made to refine the survey content were included in it. The survey questions had a range of answer options which included the following:
• Very positive, positive, neutral, negative, very negative, don’t know, and further comments (text box);
• Definitely, possibly, no, don’t know, and further comments (text box).
The full results of the survey were sent to participating HEIs and are confidential.*
33.3% of HEIs expressed their views on the agreement, Springer’s dashboard, differential pricing, historical print spend (HPS), Springer’s monthly reports, article opt-outs, rejected articles, and future negotiations. A survey report has now been sent to the 90 HEIs, identifying areas in which Springer and Jisc Collections can make improvements and highlighting some of HEIs concerns about the current and future deals.
The eight key takeaways from the survey are:
1. 86.7% of HEIs rated the overall deal either as positive or very positive (Figure 1). Some of the highlighted positive aspects included a reasonable price, a simple workflow process, and little overall administration.
Figure 1 – Institutions views on the deal. [Q: Taking into account all aspects of the current agreement with SpringerNature for the Springer Compact agreement, how would you rate your institution’s collective view of the deal?]*
2. On a less positive note, HEIs expressed concerns about the high number of opt-outs, Article Processing Charges (APCs) and subscription costs, the number of HEIs making overall savings on the combined fee (subscription + APCs – although all HEIs offset their APC costs against their 2014 spend), the effects of a ‘successful’ deal on future pricing, and uncertainty about the long-term sustainability of the model, particularly in relation to the availability of RCUK funding.
3. 66.6% HEIs were positive or very positive about their satisfaction levels with the Springer Compact dashboard (Figure 2). However, they suggested that some revisions are made to the dashboard. For example, including the article date of acceptance (Author Accepted Manuscript), including the article download option or link to full-text, the full authors’ lists and affiliations (including co-authors), the funders’ details, authors ORCID IDs, and information about articles opt-outs and rejected articles and/or integration of monthly reports into the dashboard.
Figure 2 – Institutions level of satisfaction with the dashboard. [Q: Thinking about the Springer Compact dashboard, please indicate which of the following statements best describes your levels of satisfaction with the dashboard]*
4. 56.6% of HEIs were positive or very positive about the Springer Compact monthly reports (Figure 3). Overall, HEIs considered the reports as being useful but suggested that further improvements are made to ensure that information about funders is provided, that usage data is available in in versions that are compatible with institutions systems, that information is aligned with Jisc’s APC spreadsheet, and that articles can also be sorted by funder. One particular issue was raised regarding opt-outs: institutions need to know about opt-outs as they happen in order to address them and reverse trends.
Figure 3 – Institutions level of satisfaction with the monthly reports provided by SpringerNature. [Q: SpringerNature have provided monthly reports to participating institutions throughout the agreement, please indicate which of the following statements best describes your levels of satisfaction with the reports]*
5. When asked if opt-outs were an issue, 56.7% of HEIs said definitely or possibly (Figure 4). HEIs indicated that the main reasons for opt-outs relate to a lack of understanding about how the process works, authors thinking that they may need to pay a fee, confusion about different OA schemes and Springer’s brands (Springer Open, Springer Open Choice), and unclear wording of Springer’s message on opt-outs. To address these issues, Jisc Collections will create a best practice document in order to assist HEIs in tackling author opt-outs and SpringerNature will set up a system to inform library staff of opt-outs as they happen (in an attempt to halt the process) as well as revise the wording in the online system and in emails.
Figure 4 – Institutions views on author opt-outs being an issue that needs to be addressed. [Q: Regarding author opt-outs for your institution, in your opinion, do you think that author opt-outs are an issue that needs addressing in your institution?]*
6. In terms of future negotiations with SpringerNature, HEIs requested that the annual percentage increase is addressed, that opt-outs can only be an exception, that HPS is addressed, and that other service requirements are included. For example: ORCID (44.8%), CrossRef (27.6%), Funder Registry (27.6%), ISNI/Ringgold identifier (20.7%), Jisc Monitor (17.2%), and CCC RightsLink (3.4%).
7. Jisc Collections will use the feedback received to make improvements to the reports, to assist HEIs in addressing the high article opt-outs numbers and discuss the possibility of switching off the author opt-out function, and to plan future negotiations.
8. SpringerNature welcomed the recommendations made by HEIs and will make further improvements to its systems/workflows.
SpringerNature were given the opportunity to reply to a number of issues and areas of improvement raised in the survey and this was also included in the report sent to participating institutions.
Footnote: all the sections marked with an asterix (*) were last modified on Tuesday, 18 July 2017.