Major milestone reached as Springer Nature publishes one million Open Access articles

Springer Nature has become the first publisher to immediately publish one million gold open access (OA) primary research and review articles – testament to the company’s long commitment to making research immediately available for all to read, share, use, and reuse to advance discovery.

This means that 25% of all articles Springer Nature has published since 2005 are gold OA. In 2020 alone, such open access articles accounted for 34% of all articles published by Springer Nature. 

When looking at the wider OA publishing landscape, Springer Nature has published 16% of all OA primary research, 29% more than any other publisher[1], consolidating Springer Nature’s OA leadership position[2].

Nearly 2.5 million authors[3] across all academic disciplines and from around the globe have therefore been supported in making their research open access, benefiting from the increased impact, usage and reach publishing OA provides[4].

In addition, analysis of Springer Nature’s 1m articles shows that:

●        The research has collectively been downloaded 2.6 billion times since 2016.

●        The articles have been downloaded in virtually every country in the world, and even in Antarctica.

●        Nearly half of the articles are in Medicine (44%). In comparison, Medicine accounts for 20% of non-OA content[5].

●        Social Sciences and Humanities doubled their OA share between 2015 and 2020. Whilst absolute numbers are low, these disciplines are seeing bigger growth than other disciplines. 

●        Europe publishes the most OA content (40%)[6] while Asia is the biggest user of content (34% of article downloads)[7].

●        Content related to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) makes up a greater proportion of OA content than it does of non-OA content – 67% more. SDG research published OA is also downloaded and cited more than non-SDG content published OA[8].

Commenting Frank Vrancken Peeters, Chief Executive of Springer Nature, said:

“Twenty years ago OA publishing was in its infancy. Even so, we put transitioning to an OA future at the heart of what we do because we believe in its importance in driving discovery and improving access to knowledge and learning. I am delighted we have reached this milestone and incredibly grateful to everyone who has helped our authors make such a significant amount of research immediately available for all to use.

“But our mission does not stop here. We need to build on this and move faster towards not just an open access but an open science future where all outputs of research are immediately accessible. The prize waiting for us is a faster and more effective research system, delivering benefits like vaccines and solutions to global challenges such as climate change for the whole world”.

Springer Nature has been committed to opening up research for over 20 years. BMC published its first content in 2000, while Springer Nature’s pioneering Springer Compact agreements which started in 2015, paved the way for today’s Transformative Agreements (TA). Since then, Springer Nature has continued to drive the OA transition by introducing the concept of Transformative Journals (TJs) and providing all authors with the ability to publish OA in Nature and its other highly selective titles.

[1] Content defined as primary research articles in Web of Science journals from 2005

2 The “29% more than any publisher” refers to the difference between the publisher with the next biggest share of the whole market (Elsevier – 12.94%) and Springer Nature’s share (16.69%).

Unique research IDs sourced from

Calculated using publication numbers from 2005-2021

6 Articles published from 2019 -2021

Downloads between 2019 and 2021 of content published since 2005

8 SDG classifications sourced from