Springer Nature Agrees to Censorship of Publications in China

Several news outlets including the Financial Times, New York Times and Washington Post have reported that Springer Nature has acceded to China’s demands to censor controversial material in its publications. Content referring to Tiananmen Square, Taiwan and the Cultural Revolution cannot be found when doing a search of their publications in China.

Springer Nature has come into criticism for agreeing to this.

“This is hugely damaging to its reputation and standing as an academic publisher,” said Professor Steve Tsang, director of the China Institute at SOAS University of London. “(This) is the thin end of the wedge that can cut academic freedom, and should not be accepted by the academic community.” http://money.cnn.com/2017/11/01/news/springer-nature-china-censorship/index.html

The decision occurred only two months after Cambridge University Press reversed its decision to censor its materials in China after academics attacked it as an affront to academic freedom and reflects a growing division among publishers over how to respond to China’s demands to censor sensitive materials.

Springer Nature issued a statement saying that this decision only impacts China and that it “does not affect the content we publish or make accessible elsewhere in the world. ”  It also claims that while it is regrettable, “[t]his action has been taken to prevent a much greater impact on our customers and authors,” …“In not taking action we ran the very real risk of all of our content being blocked,” https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-censorship/springer-nature-blocks-access-to-certain-articles-in-china-idUSKBN1D14EB