Finding Open Choice articles in Springer (forgetaboutit!)

Phil Davis pmd8 at CORNELL.EDU
Thu Jul 19 10:15:14 EDT 2007

I communicated extensively with Jan Veltrop of Springer, who was good 
enough to send me a spreadsheet of Open Choice articles in their 
journals.  After spending a short time, it became clear that "Open Choice" 
(Springer's program of author-sponsored articles) is being confused with 
many forms of free access.  I discovered that Springer's normal practice of 
allowing the odd free issue, or free supplement to be labeled "Open 
Choice".  Commentary, perspective, or educational feature articles from 
some journals were consistently labelled Open Choice.

When I countered to Mr. Veltrop that Springer' program is confusing free 
access with their Open Choice program, he responded: "Why is it 'vague'? 
Surely the thing that matters is that the articles are open access; not who 
paid for them or sponsored them or why?"

But it DOES matter, because it grossly confuses access models with a 
business model, and Open Choice as a business model.  Someone who has been 
in the publishing business for most of his life should understand the 
difference and its implications.

This could merely be the product of confusion or incompetence on the part 
of those responsible for labeling articles.  It may be a purposeful 
activity to artificially inflate the success of Springer's Open Choice 
program.  Whatever the motive or cause, Open Choice can simply not be 
trusted as an indicator of Springer's Open Choice business model.

Either the publisher should get it right, and provide some distinction to 
those authors who have been willing to pay $3,000 to have an article 
published as Open Choice, or relabel all of their free content simply as 
"Free Article".  As it stands, their program leads to confusion and 
obfuscation.   If I spent $3,000 for the Open Choice, I'd be pissed.

--Phil Davis

At 02:24 PM 7/13/2007, Pikas, Christina K. wrote:

>Peter Murray-Rust recently blogged about this in the case of Springer
>and Jan Velterop replied. I believe the consensus was that you can't
>easily find Springer OA articles - they haven't updated their system to
>provide access to that bit of metadata.
>I would be interested in the answer if you learn of any way to do this.

Philip M. Davis
PhD Student (and former Science Librarian)
Department of Communication
336 Kennedy Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853
email: pmd8 at
work phone: 607 255-4735

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