Projekt DEAL signs Open Access agreement with Springer Nature

The German Rectors' Conference (Hochschulrektorenkonferenz HRK) was commissioned by the Alliance of German Science Organisations to initiate the DEAL project. The aim of DEAL is to conclude nationwide licence agreements for the entire portfolio of electronic journals (e-journals) of major scientific publishers. Now, on 8 January 2020, the world's most comprehensive Open Access agreement to date was signed with the publisher Springer Nature. It provides access to around 1,900 of Springer Nature's journals and enables scientists and students from participating institutions to publish in Open Access at Springer Nature. The agreement is a further step towards Open Access in the German scientific landscape and, after the agreement with the publisher Wiley, is the second Open Access transformation agreement that the DEAL project has signed on behalf of more than 700 eligible German scientific and research institutions.

In terms of content, the contract with Springer Nature corresponds to the conditions laid down in a joint Memorandum of Understanding in August 2019. It includes permanent access to current volumes of all of Springer Nature's approximately 1,900 subscription journals. The Nature journals and magazines and the technical journals are not included. A complete list of all journals involved in the DEAL agreement can be downloaded from the DEAL project website.

Similar to the existing contract with Wiley, the Open Access component is covered by a Publish & Read Fee (PAR Fee) of 2,750 Euros per article. With this fee, the participating institutions not only pay the costs for reading access, but also for Open Access publication in the publisher's subscription journals. Previously, authors had to pay an additional fee to these journals if they wanted to publish their articles in OA. The institutions will now use their PAR fee to cover both reading and OA publishing by their members. Authors of participating institutions have been able to use the free Open Access option since 1 January 2020. The decisive factor here is the date on which the article is published online (online publication date).

Authors will continue to pay a publication fee for publication in Springer Nature's Gold Open Access journals, i.e. journals whose articles are available in Open Access immediately upon publication. Springer Nature will grant a 20 percent discount on the list prices to institutions participating in the DEAL agreement (with the exception of Nature Communications and Scientific Reports). The annual price increase is capped at 3.5 percent. A new administrative process is to be set up for handling this payment, so that this component of the contract will come into force on August 1, 2020.  

The contract with Springer Nature runs from 2020 to 2022 with an extension option until 2023. The text of the contract will be published on the DEAL project website at the end of January.