Springer Nature’s position on the Coalition S rights retention strategy

Commitment to open access

At Springer Nature, we are enabling our authors to comply with the requirements of Plan S through gold OA publication, which means that the published version of record will be immediately accessible on publication under a CC BY licence. We are delighted that a gold OA option now exists in all of our research journals and that we have a number of transformative agreements in place that support authors with funding for OA publishing.

Springer Nature has been advocating for and driving the transition to open access for 20 years.  BMC launched in 2000 and was the first commercial OA publisher.  We introduced our first OA options to existing journals in 2004. We signed our first Transformative agreement with the Netherlands in 2014, setting us on a path which has enabled us to flip entire countries' research output with us to OA.  With over 600 fully OA journals we have the largest and broadest OA portfolio offered by any other publisher.  We are the largest publisher by far of OA articles, soon reaching the one million landmark.   

Over the past two years we have been working with cOAlition S to accelerate this transition. We have turned all of our subscription and hybrid research journals into Transformative journals, including the highly selective titles which make up the Nature portfolio, and have agreed with cOAlition S high targets to underpin this ‘transformation’ along with robust transparency requirements to ensure institutions, authors and funders have better awareness of the relationship between price and the different publishing services this relates to. 

Gold OA now available on all Springer Nature-owned research journals 

We are delighted that a gold OA option now exists for all of our research journals and are pleased that cOAlition S is clear that where immediate open access to the final published version exists as an option then their authors will be directed to select the gold OA route as it is their preferred option that the version of record is made open access, not least because “it is...the version maintained and curated by the publisher, who has the responsibility to ensure that any corrections or retractions are applied in a timely and consistent way." Gold OA is also needed to deliver the broader transition to open science.

Alignment with cOAlition S' Rights Retention Strategy 

The cOAlition S website states that its Rights Retention Strategy is to provide grantees the ability to immediately self-archive in subscription journals, that it is particularly relevant for submissions to journals whose publisher does not offer the opportunity to make the version of record OA, and that ultimately it is is to deliver on the commitment that authors or their institutions retain the copyright necessary to make a version (either the version of record or the accepted manuscript or both) immediately available.  

On this basis, Springer Nature authors will not need to use the Rights Retention Strategy to self-archive their accepted manuscript. When publishing via the gold OA route, all our research journals are now either fully OA journals or Transformative journals offering authors the opportunity to make the superior final version of record OA. All Plan S-funded authors will retain the copyright necessary to make the article version of record immediately available on a CC-BY basis from the moment of publication, thereby ensuring compliance with their funders' mandate. 

Plan S-funded authors will therefore be directed to select the gold OA route, as preferred by cOAlition S funders, and this will be explained to them at submission. Our existing self-archiving policy remains.