Monday, February 04, 2008

Planck cheque - max. access

The Max Planck Gesellschaft (Max Planck Society) have agreed a deal with Springer that includes immediate open access for all articles by Max Planck researchers that are accepted, after peer review, for publication in Springer journals.

This is one of a few - so far experimental - deals, similar in nature (the others are with the UKB - a consortium of the Universities and the Royal Library of The Netherlands - and with the Georg-August University of Göttingen in Germany) that aim to find a way forward in reconciling the desire for universal and immediate open access to peer-reviewed scientific journal articles with the need to ensure the economic sustainability of peer-reviewed journals.

Implicit in these arrangements is that they mix the subscription model with the author-side payment model during a transition to a fully and properly funded open access model across a whole spectrum of journals and disciplines. In the process, any differences in the ability to publish with immediate open access (the 'gold' route) between well-funded and poorly funded disciplines are evened out.

These experiments could quite conceivably see an increase in article submissions to Springer journals by authors from Max Planck Institutes, Dutch universities, and the University of Göttingen, particularly where the choice of journals for those authors is between a Springer journal which will publish with OA and a more or less equivalent journal, in terms of status, impact factor and the like, from another publisher. In fact, such an increase is expected, over time.

In any event, even without such further increases, these arrangements already entail a substantial growth in the number of high-quality peer-reviewed open access articles.

Jan Velterop

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