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Queen Mary University of London and Springer Nature

The agreement with Springer Nature is due to end in December 2022.

The current agreements cover:

  • Springer Compact - providing read access to subscription/hybrid journals, as well as open access publishing 
  • Nature Research Journals - a read only agreement
  • Palgrave Journals - a read only agreement 
  • Open access publishing in Nature and Palgrave titles are paid for separately

Researchers at Queen Mary University of London access subscription content, as well as publishing, extensively in Springer Nature journals.  Negotiations began in early 2022, and are ongoing.   

2,626Springer Nature journals in the collections at Queen Mary

91Papers published OA in Springer Nature journals by Queen Mary authors 2021

£100,000Estimated cost to publish papers open access 2021

How is this different? 

In recent years, many major publishers have begun to provide combined agreements covering both the subscription (read) and publishing (publish) elements.  These agreements help to manage the cost of access and publishing, as well as supporting the open research agenda UK Universities successfully negotiated a new read and publish agreement with the publisher Elsevier in 2021. 

The changing landscape 

Research funders continue to have a significant role in the changing landscape around open scholarship Many now require that publications and other outputs from funded research are made openly accessible; revised open access policy from major UK funders, including UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the Wellcome Trust, are taking this further, implementing the Coalition S Plan S principles, and requiring publishers to commit to transformative (or transitional) agreements.  In addition, many policies now require that authors be supported in retaining the rights to the accepted manuscript of their work, and be able to disseminate this manuscript as soon as the paper is published (without embargo).

Queen Mary supports the principles of open access to research, including both the published output and the data that supports the publication, viewing this as a public good as well as supporting widening access to research outcomes and academic scholarship globally. 

New business models 

A number of organisations, both publishers and universities, are exploring a range of business models to ensure sustainability of academic publishing whilst supporting the overarching aim of widening access to research, free at the point of use. 

Queen Mary has entered into several “Read and Publish” agreements, as well as investing in platforms moving wholly to open access (eg. Open Library of Humanities) seeking to achieve sustainable funding models. 

Negotiation objectives 

The UK Universities sector is entering negotiations with Springer Nature with two core objectives:

  • To reduce costs to levels UK universities can sustain
  • To provide full and immediate open access to UK research. 

The negotiations are governed by two groups; the Universities UK content negotiation strategy group and the content expert group. Representatives from each group sit on the official negotiation team and Jisc, the UK not-for-profit digital services provider for education and research, facilitates the overall negotiations. 

Who and how is this being coordinated at Queen Mary? 

Queen Mary Library Services is coordinating engagement and the consultation process with faculties and academic schools, Deans for Research and Education, as well as the Vice-Principals for Research and Innovation, and Education. 

In addition, we are gathering and analysing data on usage, spending and publishing, as well as exploring alternative routes to research publishing, including the role of open access manuscripts and published outputs, alongside document supply. You can find out more on the Publisher Negotiations site (Queen Mary institutional login required).


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