French research institutions and Springer Nature failed to sign a new contract

French research institutions, following the measure taken by their counterparts in Germany, refused to agree on a new deal with Springer, one of the leading academic journals publishers. As a result, there is no new contract between the French research institutions and Springer Nature since the beginning of 2018.

According to Times Higher Education report, Couperin, an organization representing the interests of more than 250 French institutions, and Springer Nature discussed over issues pertinent to signing a new deal for more than a year. Nevertheless, the discussion failed to bring the two negotiating parties closer. It ended with a disagreement.

For years, universities and research institutions have struggled to cope up with growing journal subscription fees. Obviously, the source of contentions between Springer Nature and French institutions is over the cost of journal subscriptions. Though Couperin demanded lower subscription fees, Springer Nature refused to accept it; rather it demands fee increase. Moreover, research funders in the UK also have concerns over the ever-increasing and unsustainable cost of subscriptions. However, Springer Nature argues that this kind of challenge has a limited impact on their business because the negotiation does not target all the journals they publish.

There is a growing assertiveness from research institutions. Standing up to the traditional publishers such as Elsevier and Springer Nature and challenging the status quo has become the new norm.

It is serial crisis, high rate of journal subscription fees in the 1990s, that ushered a new era of open access. Open access has been promoted as a solution that reduces subscription burden and also removes access barriers to scholarly materials. French say ‘no deal’ to Springer as journal fight spreads

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