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Springer Nature CEO calls for greater collaboration across the research community to accelerate open science, building on lessons learnt from COVID-19

Partnership and collaboration fundamental to achieving benefits of open science, says Vrancken Peeters

London | Berlin, 12 January 2021

Frank Vrancken Peeters, Chief Executive Officer of leading OA publisher Springer Nature, will today call for greater partnership within publishing and the wider research community, pointing to the benefits such engagement has delivered over the past year during the coronavirus pandemic.

In a keynote address at the thirteenth annual APE (Academic Publishing in Europe) Conference in Berlin, he will provide evidence and data gathered over the past year to set out the need for a collaborative approach by research publishers in order for the benefits offered by open science to be fully realised - one which has partnership, collaboration, open access and transparency at its heart. 

With numerous successful partnerships underway, Springer Nature has a strong bank of evidence which demonstrates the real tangible benefits that can be achieved by being open to such partnerships. E.g.

  • Delivering increased publishing options to researchers and enabled the transition to OA at scale by Transformative Agreements with the likes of Projekt DEAL and the University of California
  • Improving access and discoverability of research through partnerships such as that with ResearchGate for content syndication and being founding members of cross-publisher initiatives like Crossref and Get FTR
  • Enhancing understanding of the societal impact of open research by working with data specialists like Digital Science and institutions and consortia such as VSNU and UKB in the Netherlands 
  • Demonstrating the importance of research to making progress on the  Sustainable Development Goals by partnering with the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network on a high-level global virtual conference that connected almost 1000 researchers, experts working alongside UN officials, government representatives, civil society leaders and policymakers.

Vrancken Peeters will say: “Openness and transparency are necessary to gain trust. Trust is the basis for every partnership, and open science is the prize for us all as it will lead to an accelerated and more effective research system - delivering benefits, like vaccines and SDG solutions for the whole world. Open Science is the way forward for research.”

“Open science is better for society, as most starkly evidenced during the COVID pandemic with the opening of research and knowledge enabling a vaccine to be developed in record time.  It has the potential to reduce inequalities by highlighting discrepancies in diversity and inclusion, while fuelling innovation, job creation and economic growth.”

For example, a PWC study estimates not having FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable, re-usable) research data - being unable to access and reuse data from research work done in Europe, duplicating work due to a lack of awareness of research or negative results not being published - costs up to €26 billion in Europe alone. This is almost double the annual Horizon Europe research budget. It is also over 10 times the annual spend in the EU on combined journal subscriptions and OA APCs and 2.5 times the equivalent spend globally.  

According to Vrancken Peeters: “This is a very exciting time for publishing. We may be a relatively small cog in terms of global R&D spend but by playing our part in opening up science and in improving the efficiency of the research process and robustness of the research output, the benefits for the wider community can be so much larger, enabling us to contribute much more than we have in the past.”

Vrancken Peeters is equally clear that not only is more partnership and collaboration needed, but Open Access, which is a fundamental building block of Open Science, must be ‘gold’ not ‘green’, as giving access to the final published version of record is the only way to achieve real and meaningful open science.  

“As a publisher of primary research, we have a duty of care to the scientific record.  Only the version of record, dynamically updated in perpetuity can act as an integrated hub for all the elements necessary for open science such as data and code.  

“As publishers we must work together to prevent us going down the green OA blind alley - which doesn’t deliver open research, depends on the continuation of subscriptions, and offers no sustainable funding model - and instead get on the gold OA highway to open science.”


ENDS


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