Springer Open Choice Agreement

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In February 2008, Springer and MPG reached an agreement which includes Open Choice, Springer's open access scheme, for all researchers affiliated with a Max Planck Institute publishing in Springer's journals. This agreement is part of the Open Access Publishing strategy applied by the MPG. The agreement ended on December 31st, 2009.

During the period of the contract, Springer and the MPG evaluated the effects of open access on both authors and users. Following concrete goals have been defined for the course of the project:

  • Increase the visibility and distribution of articles published under the Open Choice conditions
  • Improve article coverage on the MPG eDoc server
  • Develop requirements for projected agreements and generic usage scenarios for data transfer
  • Provide measures for statistics and monitoring

Workflow: Springer Open Choice to MPG[edit]

Main Article: Springer Open Choice Data Transfer

Within the course of the project, a workflow should be defined which enable an efficient way to transfer the articles and full texts published under the Open Choice conditions to the MPG eDoc server.

Quality assurance: Comparing Springer OC publications with all papers published by MPG authors at Springer[edit]

Over the last months, it became obvious that far not all articles created with MPG contribution and submitted since 01.2009 have been published under Springer's OC model. This may have various reasons, e.g. the corresponding author may not be aware of the option or explicitly deciding against this form of publication. Some comparative data is required to analyze the reasons further (see discussion). In July 2009, Springer delivered an Excel file containing all articles with a MPG-affiliated author (corresponding and co-author) published by Springer between Jan 08 and Jun 09. Only 50% of them have been published under the OC license.

Problem: The information on the author's affiliation are not normalized and therefore the selection of all publications associated with the MPG is not a trivial task. An exemplary search string to select all articles published in the Max Planck Society has been provided by the IVSen.

... via Springer's AuthorMapper[edit]

Springer's AuthorMapper is an visualization of articles published on the SpringerLink platform. The tool enables document discovery based on author locations and provides various options to define a relevant set of articles, e.g. by specifying the author affiliation or by restricting the selection to Open Access articles only (see OA sub set).

Unfortunately, this tool doesn't seem to be an appropriate resource to identify all OA articles published by an author from MPG because...

... via Current Contents (Ovid)[edit]

search strategy:

 ((max pla???k not (max pla???k str or max pla???k ring or (max pla???k and Geesthacht))) 
 or max pla???k inst or mpi or mpie or mpg or (fritz haber and berlin) or (ipp and garching)
 or (miescher and tu?bingen) or (bonho??fer and go??tingen) or kerckhoff inst$ or 
 (Hertziana and Rome) or (kunst$ and florenz$)).in.
 and "2008".yr.
 and springer.pu.

result: 521 records

deep link: execute search


  • the search provides a rough estimation of the number of MPG contributions published in Springer journals. Only a subset of these papers could be published under the OC model as the agreement is associated with the date of submission (and not the date of publication).
  • the search field "pu" contains the name, address and web address of the publisher holding the copyright. This information seems to be updates regularly, e.g.
    • Source = Journal of Human Genetics. 54(1):47-55, 2009 Jan.; Copyright Publisher = NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP
    • Source = Journal of Human Genetics. 53(11-12):972-982, 2008 Dec.; Copyright Publisher = SPRINGER TOKYO

further reading (incl. a table of institute names used): see document prepared by M. Palzenberger on 07.05.2009

Improving the visibility of Open Choice articles[edit]

... via CrossRef[edit]

From our point of view, improving the visibility of OA materials is very crucial for the success of Springers open access business model - and we believe that CrossRef could play an important role in distributing the access information. In the meantime we contacted CrossRef to inquire if CrossRef has considered to include access information (e.g. an OA tag) in its metadata records to distribute open access information for link resolving systems.

CrossRef answered that they have indeed and they proposed two ways to make OA information available for CrossRef: the first possibility would be first choice for the short way: Publishers would have to include an "Open Access" designation in the metadata when they register the DOI with CrossRef and then this would be available. A better way on the long run might be to tie it in with the CrossMark project CrossRef is working on. With CrossMark publishers would embed metadata in an article (HTML and PDF versions) and the metadata could inlcude an OA status designation. This would enable search engines to pick up the information. CrossRef is hoping to have a prototype of CrossMark within in the next few months.

Our request at Springer would be to realize the first option as soon as possible and to check on the long run if the Springer Metadata would be sufficient for the requirements of the CrossMark project.

... via OAI-PMH interface[edit]

We suggested the setup of an Springer Open Choice OAI repository to improve the visibility of articles published under the OC model (comparable to PMC Open Archives Service). This would enable Service Providers like OAIster or BASE to include all OC articles in these search engines. This OAI repository should provide access to the complete collection as well individual sets for institutes participating in Springer OC to enable selective download.

Reply: In autumn 2008 we will start to work on a project on OAI protocol so that this delivery feature is not available at the moment. Delivery via DDS (Data Delivery System) will be made via ftp uploads to our ftp site ftp.springer-dds.com for you to download the data.

Note: Meanwhile the PMC Open Archives Service started to create "special collections" to store OA articles funded by an author pays model, see http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/journals/collections/?titles=current&search=journals. These collections are also available as sets via the PubMed Central OAI repository, e.g. http://www.pubmedcentral.gov/oai/oai.cgi?verb=ListRecords&set=springeropen&metadataPrefix=oai_dc for all OA articles from Springer.