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Springer Nature expands Transformative Agreements with Japanese universities driving further transition to Open Access

Expansion of pilot transformative agreements with the Research Universities Consortium and launch of a new transformative agreement model in Japan will see more than double the number of articles published open access in 2024.

London | Tokyo, 22 January 2024

Springer Nature has expanded its innovative pilot 2023 transformative agreement (TA) in Japan from 10 to 21 universities, all of which are part of the Research Universities Consortium (RUC).  Researchers affiliated with any of the participating institutions in Japan, can receive funding support to publish open access (OA) in over 2,000 hybrid journals published by Springer Nature. In addition, as part of the agreements, researchers of the participating institutions have access to research published in Springer Nature journals across the Springer, Palgrave Macmillan and Adis portfolios and in the Academic Journals on (1).

Furthermore, to help smaller institutions also benefit from OA publishing, the publisher is launching in 2024 a new TA model in Japan, J-SPRINTA (Japan Springer Research Institute Transformative Agreement), which will see 13 universities initially participate. This new TA model enables non-RUC institutions, regardless of whether they have a subscription to a Springer journal package, to enter a three-year TA with Springer Nature giving their researchers funding support to publish OA in Springer Nature's hybrid journals. In addition, at a relatively low additional cost, institutions are also offered access to Springer Nature journals as well as the publishing service, making the new TA model much more cost effective than traditional subscription journal package models. Institutions that are eligible for J-SPRINTA are those which are expected to publish more than five articles a year.

Both the RUC TA and J-SPRINTA will allow institutions to transition at a speed suitable for their institution by offering the opportunity to fully or partially transform their research output to OA. For example, it will see all papers from authors at seven RUC universities, including the University of Tokyo, as well as three non-RUC universities, published Gold OA, meaning they will be immediately available for all to use and reuse from the point of publication. Additionally, 24 (14 RUC and 10 non-RUC) academic institutions have reached an agreement to partially transition and will see a fixed percentage of papers*2 from their authors published OA.

Commenting, Dr. Amane Koizumi, Project Professor, National Institutes of Natural Sciences which is an organising member of Research University Consortium (RUC) said:

“In Japan, the groundbreaking TA with Springer Nature, which started with 10 universities, has expanded to many universities, and I feel that the open access of research publications from Japan is progressing. The Japanese government has indicated a policy of immediate 100% open access from 2025, and I hope that each university will further promote open access to strengthen its research capabilities”

Antoine Bocquet, Vice President Sales Japan, Southeast Asia and Oceania and Managing Director of Springer Nature Japan said:

“I am delighted that Springer Nature has expanded the agreement with Japanese institutions and has also launched J-SPRINTA opening doors to smaller institutions, to further drive the transition to OA. Using a flexible model specifically designed to meet the needs of Japanese institutions, in two years participation in our TAs has expanded from 10 to 34 universities accounting for the publication of over 1,800 OA articles”

“Latest data from our pilot TA in Japan shows that on average, OA articles are downloaded over 6 times and that their Altmetric attention scores are approximately 8 times higher compared to non-OA articles, which is in line with our global average or higher. I am pleased that this customized framework for Japan ensures an increase in global visibility of Japanese research by enabling more researchers to publish their work OA. Researchers in Japan can benefit from the potential increase in citations and downloads for their research, together with sustainable access to Springer Nature’s journals”

The new agreements will start from January 2024 and will see over 1,800 articles(3) published OA in 2024, which is approximately double the number of OA articles published in 2023 via the TAs. This also covers approximately 30% of all Springer Nature OA articles published annually by researchers from Japanese universities affiliated with the JUSTICE (Japan Alliance of University Library Consortia for E-Resources) consortium. Currently, participating institutions include national universities such as the University of Tokyo, Kyoto University, Osaka University, Tohoku University, and Nagoya University, private universities such as Waseda University, Tokyo Medical University and Ritsumeikan University, as well as the graduate school, Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology. The list of all participating institutions can be viewed on our “Open access agreements for Japan” page, where researchers can check their institution’s eligibility.

The participating institutions will retain reading access to all existing journals to which they currently have access. Other RUC member universities and non-RUC institutions including government research institutions, which are expected to publish more than 5 articles annually, are invited to join the agreement.

(1)Participating institutions have access to journal titles to which they currently have a subscription.

(2)Number of papers is calculated based on publication output in the previous year.

(3)The sum of articles in Japan from the pilot TA and J-SPRINTA.

Notes to Editors

The participating institutions of the TAs can be viewed from here.

Related link: Pilot Transformative Agreement for Japan - Information for authors

Japanese page:

About the Research Universities Consortium (RUC)

The Research Universities Consortium (RUC) comprises universities and inter-university research institutions. It was created in 2018 in response to the urgent need of the research community in Japan to strengthen “the accumulation of knowledge and wisdom” by enriching the products and output of all research universities.  RUC aims to promote networking amongst universities, share pioneering engagements and activity and make such engagements and agenda available nation-wide. Since its inception, it has dealt with research capability analysis, transmission of information, blending of academic fields and other high priority areas.  As required, the RUC also makes representations to the Ministry of Education on how to improve research policy and research capability.

As of April 1st, 2023, RUC is composed of 41 national-funded or private-funded universities/graduate universities and three government research institutes.

RUC website (in Japanese language only) can be found here.

About Springer Nature

For over 180 years Springer Nature has been advancing discovery by providing the best possible service to the whole research community. We help researchers uncover new ideas, make sure all the research we publish is significant, robust and stands up to objective scrutiny, that it reaches all relevant audiences in the best possible format, and can be discovered, accessed, used, re-used and shared. We support librarians and institutions with innovations in technology and data; and provide quality publishing support to societies. 

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Ayako Miyazaki | Corporate Affairs | Springer Nature