Close to 4,000 French researchers have pledged to forgo access to Springer journals in order to pressure the publisher into lowering prices.
A consortium of French research organisations is currently without a contract with the publisher after the two sides failed to reach a deal on prices.
Couperin wants subscription prices to fall as more articles become open access, but it says that Springer continues to demand increases.
In a petition posted to change.org, French researchers say that the “toll taken by the major commercial scientific publishers” on universities and other research institutes has become “simply unbearable”.
“The inflationist pricing policy of the major commercial scientific publishers is a growing concern of the global scientific community,” the petition says.
Couperin has said that earlier this month, Springer Nature, which owns Springer, failed to follow through on a threat to cut journal access if no new deal was agreed, a claim on which the publisher has not commented.
But access has been maintained, meaning that French institutions can access Springer journals for free, which Couperin says is costing the publisher about €5 million (£4.3 million) a year.
“Our work will be directly affected should Springer eventually decide to enact their decision and shut down access to their recent contents,” the petition says.
“However, we support the firm stance taken by Couperin and we are ready to endure this relative discomfort for as long as it will be necessary to bring Springer to acceptable propositions,” it continues.
If no such proposition is made, the researchers say that they are ready to have subscriptions cancelled.
“No more direct access to Springer’s latest papers? No problem. We will do without. There are so many ways: institutional depositories, social networks, direct requests to the authors…We are not worried,” the petition continues.
The publisher has said that it is maintaining access while it considers a new offer.