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Cancellation of subscriptions to 2,116 Springer journals

After negotiating with Springer, Université de Montréal (UdeM) Libraries is forced to cut back on this large bundle of journals. Available budget only allows UdeM to keep 150 of the collection’s 2,266 journals, or 6.6% of the titles. These 150 titles cover 42% of UdeM’s downloads from Springer in 2015.

As a result of this cutback, articles published since January 1, 2016 in the 2,116 cancelled journals will no longer be directly accessible at UdeM. They can however be obtained through interlibrary loan(ILL) at no cost for users. Access to back issues of cancelled titles will still be provided in whole.

“We are trying to best meet the needs of our community despite budget cuts in the last few years, the greediness of commercial publishers, and the weak Canadian dollar,” said Stéphanie Gagnon, Collections Director.

Springer believes that its collection provides an excellent price-quality ratio for UdeM based on the 2,266 journals available in their bundle. UdeM Libraries sees things differently because it only considers, in its assessment, titles that meet the needs of its community. A survey conducted recently with the university community established that only 256 titles (or 11.6%) within the Springer collection are needed for research and teaching at UdeM. Part of the strategy of commercial publishers is to increase the number of journals in their bundle to justify their exorbitant rates.

Average cost for viewing or printing articles at UdeM also confirms the unjustified pricing: Springer’s articles end up being 225% more expensive at UdeM compared to Elsevier’s. Université de Sherbrooke and UQAM libraries have cancelled their subscriptions to Springer’s collection.

UdeM Libraries uses the same approach with all publishers when determining the amount it is ready to pay for large periodical collections. It takes into account both the publishers’ pricing and the real needs of the community. Instead of accepting the publishers’ asking price, UdeM Libraries is proposing to pay what it considers a fair price. This approach seems reasonable since three major publishers have accepted UdeM Libraries offers this year (Cambridge University PressJohn Wiley & Sons, and SAGE Publications Inc.).

On their own, Libraries are absolutely no match for these multinational publishers. However, UdeM professors and researchers that are concerned about these changes are well positioned to make a difference. They can, for instance, express their disapproval (see Springer contacts for UdeM below), refuse to review articles, or support open access publishing. The greatest risk for publishers is that people start questioning their access to this free research output and volunteer workforce as well as their business model.

UdeM Libraries administration is fully aware of the impact of these cancellations on teaching and research, but there was no alternative.


  • In 2015, Springer and Nature merged, creating an entity with annual revenues of around $2.2 billion.Springer was already among the five publishers controlling more than half of the scholarly publishing market. This merger will only increase universities’ dependency on this publisher.
  • UdeM Libraries will renew access to 150 of the 2,266 journals included in this collection. The price we will pay for these individual subscriptions in 2016 is the same we were willing to pay for the entire collection.
  • Periodical issues from all Springer titles published before 2016 will continue to be accessible.
  • The subscriptions maintained represent 42% of UdeM’s downloads of Springer articles in 2015.
  • Periodical articles can be obtained free of charge through interlibrary loans (ILL). Articles are delivered by email within five working days.
  • Springer CEO is Mr. Derk Haank, and president of international sales is Mr. Syed Hasan. Their contact information does not appear on the publisher’s website.
  • Contact information:

    • David Celano, Vice-president – Library Sales, US & Canada (
    • Victor Lao, Director – Director - Institutional Sales, US & Canada (
    • Bethan Creighton, Head of Institutional Sales, Americas (



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Richard Dumont, directeur général