Springer, Nature deal sign of times | The Australian
"THE merger of scholarly publishing giant Springer with the publisher of leading academic journal Nature, is the latest sign of the disruption facing scholarly publishing in the face of online technology and the growing pressure for journals to provide free access to research papers. The incorporation of the Nature suite of journals will give Springer a big boost in prestige compared with rival giants such as Elsevier, Wiley and Taylor & Francis. Macmillan Science and Education, which owns Nature and is proposing to merge with Springer, only produces about 160 scientific journals, well behind sector leader Elsevier with 3,057. But in Nature it has arguably the biggest single journal brand. Springer has 2,987 titles, putting it second behind Elsevier, but if the merger goes through it will be the biggest, just. The proposed merger still needs clearance from European competition regulators and academic libraries have been quick to voice concerns that they could be squeezed by the reduction in competition. But there is also optimism that the merger will bring efficiencies that can be passed on to libraries in the form of lower subscription costs. 'We are continually becoming more efficient and are expect the publishers to also take some of the hard yards they need to rather than expect us to simply keep paying more,' said Philip Kent, the University of Melbourne’s library head. Mr Kent is also chairman of the Council of Australian University Librarian’s journal purchasing consortium. He noted that the weak Australian dollar, which has declined steeply since September, is significantly increasing costs for university libraries ..."