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French Scientists Petition for Firm Stance Against Springer

More than 2,000 signatories urge a national consortium of French academic institutions to refuse an increase in journal subscription fees.

By Diana Kwon | April 11, 2018

ISTOCK, LEREMYA group of researchers at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) started an online petition last weekend (April 8) to publically support Couperin.org, a national consortium representing more than 250 academic institutions in France, in its fee negotiations with academic publisher SpringerNature. More than 2,000 people have signed the petition so far.

“We are employed by the institutions members of Couperin. As such, our work will be directly affected should Springer eventually decide to enact their decision and shut down access to their recent contents,” the petition states. “However, we support the firm stance taken by Couperin and we are ready to endure this relative discomfort for as long as it will be necessary to bring Springer to acceptable propositions.”

See “French Universities Cancel Subscriptions to Springer Journals” 

Fee negotiations between Couperin.org and SpringerNature regarding one of the publisher’s platforms, Springer—which alone has more than 2,000 journals—are stuck in a stalemate. The key point of contention is a rise in subscription costs, which the consortium believes should be reduced in light of the rising proportion of expensive open-access papers.

Last month, the consortium announced that French universities and research organizations would not renew their Springer subscriptions due to this disagreement.

The publisher told The Scientist last month that it would maintain institutions’ access to its journals while in negotiations. If that agreements ends, French scientists are willing to deal with the repercussions. “No more direct access to Springer’s latest papers? No problem,” the petition states. “There are so many ways [to access papers]: institutional depositories, social networks, direct requests to the authors… We are not worried.”

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