Open Voices

We’re sharing true, personal stories from SN researchers about their experience of publishing open access

In 2017, we published more than 90,000 articles immediately open access.

Mentioned in 800+ tweets and nearly 200 news articles, Assessing the calorific significance of episodes of human cannibalism in the Palaeolithic has one of the highest Altmetric scores of social science articles published in 2017 open access by Springer Nature. Read what Dr. Cole has to say about the benefits of publishing his research open access. 

New Content Item"As an academic, I believe that Open Access is a vital tool in today's world in making research more accessible to the wider public. We now live in an age ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​where information is consumed at an incredible rate, as such academics must engage with this process to allow people to make informed choices. By this I mean that most, or all, academic research is conducted with a bigger question in mind that we are trying to address or understand. For example, for me, that question revolves around the behavioural complexities of our human ancestors (like Neanderthals) and of our own species in prehistory. Open Access is one of the primary tools that researchers can use to demonstrate that our work has relevance and interest to the wider public, and the answers and questions that we generate form and influence the mosaic sum of human knowledge. I wanted my work to reach as wide an audience as possible audience because I felt strongly that there were important points and implications to consider in how we weave the fabric of our societies together in the modern world. This was not my first Open Access paper, but I always try to publish Open Access wherever I can."

Dr. James Cole, Principal Lecturer in Archaeology, School of Environment and Technology, University of Brighton

The numbers

  • 74K+ articles

    published in nearly 600 fully OA journals

  • 16K+ articles

    published in more than 1900 hybrid OA journals

Watch our open access authors

When Manuel Llinás was nearing the end of his postdoc at UCSF in 2002, he had a body of research that was very attractive to a number of subscription journals but instead he chose to publish in the first issue of a yet unknown open access journal, PLoS Biology.

Here he discusses his decision to make the leap into the frontiers of open access. Read the full Q&A on The Source.

Three authors from the University of Tokyo share their experience publishing in Communications Chemistry.

Kai Tao shares the advantages OA has brought him as a young researcher.

Read Kai Tao's full blog here.

Making research as accessible, reusable, and shareable as possible

Open access is enabling authors to achieve greater reach with their research

"Broader, more diverse audiences"

"Broader, more diverse audiences"

OA allows everyone to read my research and, what I believe is even more important, to access the data generated by my research. I advise publishing OA whenever possible because it allows one to reach out to a broader and more diverse audience, including lay people.

Dr. Stefano Pagliara, Senior Lecturer, University of Exeter, UK

"Accessed broader than they would have been"

"Accessed broader than they would have been"

I believe that new findings should be shared freely, so that everyone can access. I suspect that OA primarily benefits individuals not affiliated with larger institutions, which tend to have subscriptions giving access to more journals, including those without OA. It is likely that our discoveries published as OA have been accessed broader than they would have been, had they not been published as OA.

Martin Cohn, Ph.D., Department of Biochemistry, University of Oxford

"Attracted a lot of attention"

"Attracted a lot of attention"

I think that the huge media and public interest in our study was enhanced by the OA option. The article also attracted a lot of attention from my university to our research group, and has already led to some new collaborations.

Tove Fall, Senior Lecturer, Uppsala University

Achieving impact around the world

From round tables, surveys and author interviews, to personal testimonials, this year we've been gathering evidence from our authors to better understand what publishing an open access book, chapter, article, or data set has meant for them. Click the drop-downs to learn more about how open access is helping researchers from around the world reach readers across the globe. 

Dr. Jennifer Wallis, UK

I've been told by colleagues at the university that they have used it in teaching and part of the ease with which it's been incorporated into teaching is because it's open access; it's free. They don't have to impose upon the library budget to buy another book.

Dr. Wallis is the author of Investigating the Body of the Victorian Asylum.

Prof. B. S. Daya Sagar, India

I would say that the open access model provides huge benefits to the readership, in particular to the readership of Global South. The open access model certainly attracts larger citation and download counts than the traditional model.

Prof. B. S. Daya Sagar is co-editor of the Handbook of Mathematical Geosciences

Dr. Ezio Bartocci, Austria

Q: Why did you choose open access for your research?

A: In Austria we have a special agreement between Springer and our university, and I did not have to pay the [open access publishing] fee.

Dr. Bartocci is the co-author of First international Competition on Runtime Verification: rules, benchmarks, tools, and final results of CRV 2014

John West, Australia

I had numerous requests to write blog articles and those requests were facilitated by open access.

Mr. West is the author of Asian Century...on a Knife-edge

Dr. Andrés Sandoval-Hernández, UK

A wider public was reached. People love to hear that it’s free to read. It reached many more readers – you write something, you want people to read it! 

Dr. Andrés Sandoval-Hernández is co-editor of Teaching Tolerance in a Globalized World.

Gabriela-Alina Sauciuc, Sweden

Q: How has OA increased discovery of your research?

A: We noticed a considerable impact in the media. The team also received a number of requests for collaboration, especially from graduate students.

Gabriela-Alina Sauciuc is the co-author of Spontaneous cross-species imitation in interactions between chimpanzees and zoo visitors

Dr. Cyril Dominguez, UK

As a scientist mainly funded by public money, I strongly believe that my research outcomes must be accessible to everybody free of charge. Furthermore, publishing my research in an OA journal increases significantly its visibility and therefore impact. More funding will be needed to cover the costs of OA. RCUK-funded researchers have access to a special fund from UK universities but this fund is not available for research that is not RCUK-funded. I believe that all research publications should be made OA and that a national/international fund should cover the costs or that discussion between governments and publishers should reach an agreement on increasing OA publication. However, I think that things are going in the right direction and OA is becoming more and more accepted and standard.

Dr. Dominguez is the co-author of Structural basis of RNA recognition and dimerization by the STAR proteins T-STAR and Sam68

Prof. Guy Madison, Sweden

A greater spread, in particular to non-academics, is something which has been very useful for the part of our work that is of relevance for the general public.

Prof. Madison is the co-author of Objectivity and realms of explanation in academic journal articles concerning sex/gender: a comparison of Gender studies and the other social sciences

Prof. Paul Williams, UK

Q: What possibilities has OA opened up for your research?

A: My paper on how climate change is increasing atmospheric turbulence, causing bumpier flights, reached a much larger audience by being open access.

Prof. Williams is the author of Increased light, moderate, and severe clear-air turbulence in response to climate change

How open access impact measures up

We've released reports and case studies that show the impact of open access publishing

The breadth and scale of our open access publishing enables us to look at impact using bibliometric data. Metrics can help to show the real tangible impact of choosing open access.

This includes downloads (article, chapter or book downloads), to show readership, citations, showing academic attention, and altmetric data, as a proxy for wider public attention. We have looked at these three measures for both open access books, and hybrid open access journals. In both cases we found an open access advantage with increased downloads, citations and online attention for OA compared to non-OA.

Opening up research

Learn how Springer Nature is making research accessible and discoverable

The benefits of open access

Explore how OA can help your research