Pablo Markin ~ French Academic And Research Institutions Refuse To Pay Climbing Journal Subscription Fees, Opt For De Facto Open Access

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In France, circa 100 research organizations close ranks by putting their journal subscription negotiations with Springer in abeyance, while insisting on Open Access policies and retaining access to its journal titles, as no agreement between the publisher and these French scholarly institutions was reached.

rench higher education institutions and research centers claim to gain multi-million journal subscription savings after refusing a sign toll-based journal access deal with Springer Nature, according to a news item by David Matthews appearing on April 9, 2018. In the meanwhile, the publisher has refrained from cutting off the access of these institutions to its journal titles, which indicates the increasing collective bargaining power of French academic organizations that balk at rising subscription fees, have article access alternatives and clamor for rapidly transitioning to Open Access. This development is similar to the standoff between Elsevier and German research universities and institutes. It has put pressure on the publisher to maintain their access to its paywall-protected titles, as the inconclusive negotiations amble along.

Couperin, an umbrella body representing over 250 French higher education and research bodies, has been citing the growing prevalence of Open Access journals and policies as the ground for reducing the subscription fees paid to Springer. Should the deal with Springer fall through, despite continued, but fragile negotiations, French institutions may be availing themselves of article sharing opportunities. At the same time, the majority of the French organizations represented, which amounts to about 150 institutions, have renewed their contracts with Springer that publishes more than 2,900 titles. This stalemate, however, can also be precipitated by the growing adoption of Open Access by French researchers that by publishing in Open Access journals draw on university and national budgets to cover Article Processing Charges (APCs).

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