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Penny Freedman

Interested in learning more about the facts behind the stories you read from the media? Each month we’re pulling some of the major headlines from the news, and pairing them with research articles related to the topic. With the power of SharedIt, you’ll be able to read full journal articles and share them with others!

The FIFA corruption trial began in New York courts in the United States this month.
If found guilty, South American officials could face prison time.

Learn more about the corruption issues in: World cup 2026 now accepting bribes: a fundamental transformation of FIFA’s world cup bid process from The International Sports Law Journal.

The Australian government gets ready to vote on a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in Australia, after 61.6% of the population voted in support.

Learn more about Australia’s attempts to get to this point in the country’s history in Factors Affecting Heterosexual Attitudes to Same-Sex Marriage in Australia in Sexuality Research and Social Policy.

Zimbabwe is facing a tense situation after its president Robert Mugabe was put under house arrest by the country’s military.

Take a closer look at the urban governance system in Zimbabwe in Social Change: Urban Governance and Urbanization in Zimbabwe in Urban Forum

Reports of sexual harassment and misconduct continue to plague Hollywood and US media outlets.

Understand the role sexual harassment plays in the workplace in Parsing Work Environments Along the Dimensions of Sexual and Non-Sexual Harassment: Drawing Lines in Office Sand from the Employee Responsibilities and Rights Journal.

Bali’s Mount Agung volcano eruption causes havoc in the region

Learn about the previous eruption in The 1963–1964 eruption of Agung volcano (Bali, Indonesia) from Bulletin of Volcanology. 

Featured image: Newsstand by Nicholas Boos. CC 2.0 via Flickr.

Interested in learning more about the facts behind the stories you read from the media? Each month we’re pulling some of the major headlines from the news, and pairing them with research articles related to the topic. With the power of SharedIt, you’ll be able to read full journal articles and share them with others!

Catalonia’s desire to declare independence from Spain remains a major issue for the region, which could result in major economical issues and instability.

Discover more about the Prospects for an Independent Catalonia in the International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society.

Japan called a snap election in light of North Korea’s recent nuclear weapon testing. Is it time to revisit the country’s US-written constitution, which only allows Japan’s military to act in self-defense?

Learn more about Japan’s constraints on having  an active international role in the Korean peninsula from Japan’s search for influence in the Korean peninsula after the Cold War: Aspirations and constraints in East Asia.

A second gene therapy for blood cancer has been approved in the US.

Learn more about the treatment called CAR-T cell therapy in CAR T Cell Therapy in Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and Potential for Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia in Current Treatment Options in Oncology.

Devastating wildfires ravaged Northern California in early October bringing mass destruction and casualties.

Understand why these types of natural disasters are occurring more frequently in Quantitative Evidence for Increasing Forest Fire Severity in the Sierra Nevada and Southern Cascade Mountains, California and Nevada USA in Ecosystems.

Featured image: Newsstand by Nicholas Boos. CC 2.0 via Flickr.

By: Christina Emery, Marketing Manager, OA Books

This week is Open Access Week, a global event that encourages the discussion of open access (OA) amongst researchers and the scholarly community. This year’s theme for OA Week asks the question, ‘Open access in order to…?’ Whilst OA is more established for journal publishing, it is still relatively new for academic books. So, from a publisher’s perspective, why does Springer Nature offer an OA option for book authors? We have been publishing OA books and chapters under our SpringerOpen and Palgrave Macmillan imprints since 2011 and just this week published our 400th OA book. We asked some of our OA books team and editors about what OA means to them.

Open access in order to…?

“…help our authors achieve dissemination and citation, to send our publications into the wider world and to spark debate and share research.” – Maddie Holder, Commissioning Editor, Business and Management, Palgrave Macmillan

“…take chances on emerging or niche areas, to measure interest in these areas (by downloads of OA content), and have an opportunity to reach a wide audience; yet knowing that we will recoup some costs to reduce publishing risk.” – Todd Green, Editorial Director, Apress

“…engage people from all over the world, regardless of their economic background, into the highest level scholarly conversation.” – Agata Morka, Senior Manager OA Books, Open Research, Springer Nature

“…arrive in the digital age, where knowledge should be accessible to all, and to be truly customer centric.” – Andrea Pillmann, Executive Editor Human Genetics, Springer

“…reach the widest possible audience, to fulfil legal requirements and/or the needs of sponsoring institutions, to help companies and institutions to promote their work and to spread their research results.”- Ralf Gerstner, Executive Editor Computer Science, Springer

“…Advance and define new sub-disciplines and emerging areas of research. Our OA titles have given us a fantastic opportunity to establish Palgrave Macmillan as one of the leading publishers in the history of mental health and medicine more widely. Since publishing our first OA titles in the Mental Health in Historical Perspective series, we’ve seen interest grow and grow in this important and timely research area. The series editors have been very supportive and pleased to be able to promote the series beyond our traditional readership of scholars and students, with open access enabling these titles to reach policymakers, NGOs and a wider general readership.” – Molly Beck, Commissioning Editor History, Palgrave Macmillan

Open research at Springer Nature

We see open research as one of the major forces reshaping the way that researchers communicate and collaborate to advance the pace and quality of discovery. Earlier this week we announced how the transition to gold OA for journals was progressing, with more than 70% of Springer Nature authors from four European countries now publishing via gold open access. Although the progression for OA books has been slower, it is growing, with support internationally from funders, institutions, authors and publishers. We are one of the only major book publishers worldwide to facilitate OA across all publication formats: monographs, edited volumes/collections, proceedings, protocols, and short-form books (SpringerBriefs and Palgrave Pivots). We also offer authors the option to publish individual chapters open access within edited collections. You can find further information about the OA options we offer for journals, books and data here and a list of all our published OA books can be found here.

There are numerous benefits for authors and researchers which we highlighted in our previous blog on OA books: the opportunity for increased visibility, wider dissemination, a global readership, maximum reuse through the Creative Commons licence, and access to Bookmetrix in order to view the reach, usage and readership of the book. A Springer Nature report substantiating how OA affects the usage of scholarly books will be published in November. If you would like to receive a free digital copy of this report, please let us know.

 

 

By: Steven Inchcoombe, Chief Publishing Officer at Springer Nature

At the start of 2017 Open Access Week, today we’re delighted to announce [link to release] that we have reached a significant milestone in advancing discovery through open research. In four European countries, over 70% of Springer Nature’s journal articles are being immediately published (gold) open access.

This includes:

  • Over 77% of corresponding authors based in the UK
  • Over 90% of corresponding authors based in Sweden
  • Over 84% of corresponding authors based in the Netherlands
  • Over 73% of corresponding authors based in Austria

The rise of open access as a publishing model is not surprising, because the benefits are clear. Today globally, 27% of all research published by Springer Nature is now published under an immediate gold open access model. This is good, but it can and should be better. We will continue to strive to make it so. Why? Because we believe that open approaches benefit the whole scientific and research community, facilitate collaboration, aid the application of research to solve real-world problems, and foster economic growth, increase the public’s appreciation of research and in summary, advance discovery.

What might be surprising is the scale of this achievement in the four markets listed above, which has been made possible through a unique environment, with four key factors in the recipe for success:

  • Support from governments and institutions who back open access
  • Funders who fund APCs
  • Authors who are willing to publish via open access
  • A publisher providing authors with a wide range of attractive publishing options,

….together they make the transition to open access a reality.

Springer Nature has a long history of innovation across journals, books, and databases, our publishing platforms and ways in which content can be discovered, used, re-used and shared by humans and machines. Of course at the same time we believe in academic freedom and respect author choice, so we will continue to offer a range of traditional models for as long as there is demand, and indeed today many of these continue to be the most widely used in our portfolio.*

But we’ve now developed and offer open access options for authors at all levels (via BMC, Springer, Nature Research and Palgrave Macmillan) and across all disciplines. We’ve also taken risks by flipping some of our best-known journals to open models (for example Nature Communications) and will continue to push the boundaries with our fast-developing open access books program and  new open data and data management  services.

We now publish 630 fully open access journals, and over 1800 Springer Open Choice (hybrid) journals. All of the countries where we have achieved this phenomenal result are where we have Compact agreements. Compact offers our partners significantly more value and reduces their administrative burden by taking a holistic approach and combining their local Publishing Fees with their global Access/Reading Fees, facilitating the transition that we are trying hard to support.

Liam Earney, Director of Jisc Collections said: “Since its launch in 2016, the Springer Compact agreement has seen an almost complete flip in the number of articles from UK authors made open access instead of paywalled in Springer journals. This growth has only been possible because of the work done by colleagues at Jisc, Springer Nature and most importantly institutions to review and improve the workflow for institutions and authors and the efforts made to ensure that the Springer Compact agreement was affordable and sustainable.”

As a result, we are now uniquely placed among publishers to show it is possible to ‘flip’ entire countries, not just journals.

It wouldn’t work in every country, nor will it work in every discipline (not yet anyway) but we are making progress. We are on a journey, from traditional publishing methods to open access, open research, and beyond. But we can’t succeed alone. We’re calling for the research community, from funders to institutions, authors and editors to partner with us in making that happen.

We’re open in order to advance discovery. Will you join us?

*We continue to extend access to our subscription-only titles via our Springer Nature SharedIt content-sharing initiative, which provides authors and subscribers with shareable links to view-only versions of their published papers; via our liberal self-archiving policy, which permits authors to self-archive their accepted manuscript from shortly after first online publication; and through our collaboration with the Research4Life programme to provide access to institutions in low-income countries.

 

Whether it’s your first book or your tenth, writing up a proposal for it can seem like a daunting task. Tomas, a commissioning editor at Palgrave makes it easier by breaking down the various components that come together to form the best book proposals.

By: Tomas René, Commissioning Editor for Palgrave Macmillan 

A book proposal is really your chance to ‘sell’ your project, so it’s important to be as clear and engaging as possible right from the start.  Below is a step-by-step guide, taking you through the various sections of Palgrave’s proposal template.

Name and affiliation

Surprisingly, these details are often missing from proposals that we receive! They are helpful for our quick reference; and their absence immediately creates the impression of an incomplete proposal. Listing an affiliation makes the proposal seem stronger from the off.

Proposed title and subtitle

The title should be as descriptive as possible. It should prioritise keywords: it’s become increasingly important for books to be searchable online (on search engines and on websites like Amazon, and in library catalogues, and so on) so we need to ensure that the main titles of our books are as descriptive as possible, and contain the search terms that will be used to locate the book. It should, however, avoid jargon, which may be off-putting to potential readers.

A book’s title isn’t set in stone at proposal stage, obviously – there will be opportunities to revise it later on – but a strong, clear title provides an editor with an easier way in assessing a proposal.

Brief description of the project’s scope and content

This is essentially the ‘elevator pitch’ of the proposal form. Begin with a few paragraphs briefly summarising your project’s main aims and argument. A good proposal will give a clear idea of the key terms/concepts to be discussed, and, if relevant to your project, the geographical scope your project will be covering, the date range that the project will encompass, and any key figures you’ll be looking at.

Proposed content

This is really the ‘meat’ of the proposal. Having briefly summarised your project in the previous section, this is to give us a more detailed idea of the project’s intended structure and, should the proposal be sent out for peer review, it will give the reader a sense of the quality of the scholarship.

If sample material is available at this stage, we’d ask you to attach this to your e-mail along with the proposal. In the proposal form itself, we’d ask you to provide a detailed synopsis of each chapter – as a rough guide, we’d be looking for at least half a page per chapter, but the more information you can provide at this stage the better. It’s important to demonstrate how the argument progresses across chapters, and how the project coheres.

Market

We’re an academic publisher: it’s likely that the main audience for your project will be academic researchers and upper-level postgraduate students (or undergraduate students if it’s a textbook). It’s important to be realistic with your expectations in this section – the majority of our books aren’t intended to reach ‘the interested general reader’ in the first instance, or to sell hundreds of thousands of copies in Waterstone’s or Barnes and Noble.

Competition

This section doesn’t necessarily call for an exhaustive list of projects that are directly competing with yours – it can be a summary of relevant titles that gives us a sense of existing scholarship in your field, and highlights gaps in the market.

This part of the proposal is a chance to distinguish your book from existing publications and to describe its unique selling points. A strong proposal will give a clear answer to the following questions: What does your project bring to the field that is new? How is it different to what’s been published before? What makes it an original and necessary intervention?

Additional information

Much of this section of the proposal form is self-explanatory, so a few key points are listed below:

Length. This doesn’t need to be completely accurate at this stage, but we do need a ballpark estimate. Take a look at previous publications or contact an editor to get a sense of a proposed book’s appropriate length. (Do also bear in mind our shorter monograph format, Pivot, which allows us to publish work of between 25-50,000 words.) If your project is a monograph emerging from PhD research, we would expect the project to be substantially revised from thesis form – removing the ‘literature review’ sections of the dissertation may bring the word count down, though if you’re carrying out new research for the monograph, that may increase it, so do factor these things in.

Previously-published material. As our remit is to publish new scholarly research, there is a limit on the amount of material that’s already been published elsewhere (e.g. as chapters or articles). Also, we have specific rights requirements to be able to reproduce chapters or articles as part of our eBooks. So it’s important for us to know at this stage how much of your manuscript has been, or will be, published elsewhere, and which publishers are involved.

Permissions. From an editorial point of view, permissions are probably the most time-consuming aspect of getting a book into production, so it’s useful for us to have an idea even at this early stage of how much third-party material may be included in your project. There is room for negotiation about how many illustrations are included, for example, but the necessity for permissions may affect this. (On illustrations, it’s also worth bearing in mind that each illustration will increase the book’s length, so if the number of these is particularly high it may factor into the discussion about the book’s word count.)

Timeline. This varies from project to project. At this stage, the most important thing is to be realistic – i.e. don’t put down a timeline that is in reality not achievable!

Peer reviewers. Do avoid putting your colleagues or PhD examiners in this section. The peer reviewers you suggest can also be an indication of how well you know the field more broadly.

Why did you choose to submit to Palgrave? This section helps us to get a sense of why your project could be a fit for us specifically. A strong proposal might flag up similar titles we’ve published previously, or particular series with which your project could fit.

Author information. Be sure to highlight relevant previous publications, whether chapters or journals, as well as any associations or research groups of which you’re a member, and your teaching experience in the area.

Remember, you don’t have to wait until you have a full, perfectly-formed proposal before contacting an editor. If there’s anything you’re unsure about or would like advice about along the way, do feel free to get in touch with the relevant commissioning editor, and we’ll be glad to advise you.

If you’re not sure who the relevant editor for your project is, a comprehensive list of Palgrave editors can be found here.

Interested in publishing a book, but unsure of who to publish with? Learn about our various imprints.

Featured image:  SIR JAMES KNOTT ROOM by summonedbyfells. CC 2.0 via Flickr.

Interested in learning more about the facts behind the stories you read from the media? Each month we’re pulling some of the major headlines from the news, and pairing them with research articles related to the topic. With the power of SharedIt, you’ll be able to read full journal articles and share them with others!

By Steven Inchcoombe, Chief Publishing Officer, Springer Nature

At Springer Nature every week is Peer Review Week.

Each week our dedicated in-house editorial staff spend thousands of hours co-ordinating the process of peer review, to ensure and improve the quality of the scientific literature we publish and in doing so, advance discovery. We support our Editors in Chief, Editorial Board Members, Section Editors, peer reviewers and authors by providing guidance and systems to enable them to improve manuscripts. Furthermore, we’re trialling innovative new practices through small-scale pilots, while also exploring grander ideas such as the potential role of Artificial Intelligence.

But as it’s so integral to what we do and the service we provide for our authors, its not something we  shout about every week. Therefore, Peer Review Week 2017, an annual celebration of the essential role that peer review plays in maintaining scientific quality, provides the perfect opportunity for us to update the academic community on what we’re doing, and to celebrate the work of the peer reviewers who generously give their time to examine manuscripts, offering help and advice.

Transparency in Review

The theme of this years’ Peer Review Week is Transparency in Review.  BMC, part of Springer Nature, was one of the pioneers of open peer review and earlier this year, issued a report based on the discussions at the SpotOn conference in London that examined how peer review might be improved for future generations. The report is well worth reading – it offers key recommendations to the academic community that include finding and inventing new ways of identifying, verifying and inviting peer reviewers; investing in reviewer training programs, and recognizing reviewers.

This year, BMC has also been experimenting with more new initiatives to improve transparency in peer review. If successful, these pilot projects could become standard offerings across Springer Nature.

Registered Reports is a good example. This is a new publication format in which the research question and the quality of methodology are peer reviewed before the data is collected and analysed and has been endorsed by Chris Chambers, Chair of the Centre for Open Science Registered Reports Committee, said: “This is a tremendous step forward for transparency and reproducibility in medical research. BMC Medicine will be the first major medical journal to offer Registered Reports, and the first to adopt a model specially tailored for clinical trials. The impact of this advance is potentially game-changing, eliminating hidden outcome switching and publication bias against negative results.”

I’m also pleased to announce that Genome Biology is following in the footsteps of other journals including Nature Communications to offer an option for transparent peer review.

Other developments

Time and time again, researchers tell us that they don’t receive enough training in how to conduct thorough and constructive peer review. Which is why this week, we’ve announced that we are launching a new free online course called Focus on Peer Review.

‘Focus on Peer Review’, on the Nature Masterclasses platform, features video interviews with Nature Research journal editors, experienced peer reviewers, and published authors. The course contains key and relevant insight into the complexities of peer review, going beyond the usual ‘how-to’ training available elsewhere. The course is made up of 4 modules, which you can either work through in a single sitting or use it as a ‘dip in and out’ reference resource. Total course duration, including reflection time, is around 3 hours.

On completion of the course, participants will have the opportunity to download a Nature Masterclasses course completion certificate. If you’re interested, simply register on the Nature Masterclasses website.

Update from last year

Finally, I’d like to give a happy update from one initiative that we launched last year. In 2016 we announced that a Springer journal, Environmental Earth Sciences, would enable people in developing countries to gain access to safe drinking water. For every review completed for a paper in the journal in 2017, Springer Nature donated one household water filter – on behalf of the peer reviewers of this journal – to the non-profit humanitarian organization Filter of Hope.

I’m delighted to say that since the inception of our partnership with Filter of Hope, over 600 filters have been distributed to the countries of Liberia, Nicaragua, Haiti, Honduras, Russia, Cuba and India. The water filters remove the bacteria, protozoa and micro-organisms from contaminated water sources making it completely safe to drink. This is a wonderful example of peer review making a real-world difference.

**

At Springer Nature we are constantly striving to advance discovery though the acceleration of scientific research and development, investing in technology to ensure ongoing quality and a better user experience, and by positively contributing to the scientific ecosystem that includes researchers, editors, librarians, funders, authors, publishers and networks.  And an enhanced, improved peer review system which is transparent and gives reviewers the recognition they deserve is a fundamental part of this.  I’m delighted that in 2017 we have explored and introduced new ways to make the process more transparent, to ensure our reviewers get the recognition they deserve, as well as developed new free tools and services, in the hope of serving our customer better. I’m looking forward to updating you on the improvements we’ll have seen by Peer Review Week 2018!

We’re excited to have the opportunity to spotlight the International Chemical Identifer (InChI), a project of IUPAC and the InChI Trust. This descriptor aims to make naming conventions for chemical compounds and reactions more streamlined. Here, Josef Eiblmaier, Valentina Eigner-Pitto, Hans Kraut from InfoChem and Samuel Winthrop, an expert in the field, explain how InChI is helping researchers standardize results and how Springer Nature chemical content will be more readily available to the public.

Written by Josef Eiblmaier, Valentina Eigner-Pitto, Hans Kraut, and Samuel Winthrop

What’s in a name? Among chemical substances – quite a lot. As researchers continue to elucidate the structures of compounds, synthesise new molecules, and work out the chemical building blocks of the world we live in, an ever-growing list of names and naming conventions complicate the efforts to establish standards that science relies upon.

DOI for chemicals

As computational methods are becoming a vital part of research, a standard yet practical way to describe chemical substances becomes even more essential – a machine-readable standard needs specific rules to be useful and efficient!

Introducing InChIAn InChI is a string of characters derived solely from a structural representation of a chemical substance that is capable of uniquely representing the chemical substance and serving as its unique digital ‘signature’. Just like how a DOI relates to a specific article or chapter, and only that chapter, an individual InChI will uniquely identify a chemical substance, without ambiguity, providing a precise, robust, structure-derived tag for chemical substances.

Stephen Heller, one of the creators of InChi says: “Over time, chemists have created a Tower of Babel of chemical names. Due to creation of vast amounts of information in electronic form, it is a nightmare to locate information and data.  Having different names for the same chemical makes it very difficult to find all the necessary information chemists need for their work.  Hence NIST* and IUPAC** developed the InChI algorithm and made it freely available as Open Source so that chemists could use it free of charge. We believe strongly that this is the only way InChI can be used by all and can become a standard.”

*,** NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) is a US agency that defines standards and IUPAC is the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry.

An example InChI (in this case, for ethanol):

InChI=1/C2H6O/c1-2-3/h3H,2H2,1H

However, these strings can get extremely long. To simplify indexing chemical structures in databases, and to make chemical structures easily searchable on the Internet, the InChIKey– a hashed version of the string reducing it to a more manageable 27 characters, is used.

Some examples of InChIs for commonly used chemical compounds:

Chemical Compound InChI InChI-Key
Methanol 1S/CH4O/c1-2/h2H,1H3 OKKJLVBELUTLKV-UHFFFAOYSA-N
Ethanol 1/C2H6O/c1-2-3/h3H,2H2,1H LFQSCWFLJHTTHZ-UHFFFAOYSA-N
Acetone 1S/C3H6O/c1-3(2)4/h1-2H3 CSCPPACGZOOCGX-UHFFFAOYSA-N
Aspirin
1S/C9H8O4/c1-6(10)13-8-5-3-2-4-7(8)9(11)12/h2-5H,1H3,(H,11,12)
BSYNRYMUTXBXSQ-UHFFFAOYSA-N

The application and importance of InChIs in chemistry and related disciplines are still being explored. Read more here.

RInChI – Reaction InChI

The RInChI organizes  InChIs involved in chemical reactions in a unique representation providing one layer each for reactants, products, agents (catalysts, solvents, etc.), and the direction of the reaction. This makes the RInChI a precise, robust, structure-derived tag for chemical reactions.

InChI at Springer Nature

InfoChem, a subsidiary of Springer Nature, which focuses mainly on storage and retrieval of structure and reaction information, has been involved with RInChI since its initial session in 2008. The first version of RInChI was finalized in March 2017 and is now available for the public.

Springer Nature is a member of the InChI Trust (a not-for-profit that works on development of the standard in collaboration with IUPAC) plans to use this standard for additional information and metadata in its chemistry journals, books and databases.  InChI keys for Springer Nature chemical content will be available in public, via open search portals such as PubChem or linked open data platforms such as SciGraph, thereby opening up data for the wider research community.

The RInChI group will present its experiences with RInChIs and RInChI-keys for large datasets (InfoChem SPRESI) along  with other RInChI use cases to the public in the workshop “Status and Future of the IUPAC InChI” to be held at the NIH in Bethesda (Washington DC) on 16th to 18th of August 2017.

How do you think InChI will help you in your work?  

What does it take to get your journal article from submission to publication? How does your book go from a manuscript to a title available at your university library? When your journal partners with Springer Nature for distribution, what steps are taking place to ensure all goes smoothly? We’re answering these questions and more in our new series “Behind the Scenes at Springer Nature.” Learn about the work being done across the company by our dedicated employees from around the world. Today we’re chatting with Divya Laul from our Springer marketing team.

What is your position at Springer?

I work as a Marketing Manager for the Springer Research Group at Springer Nature.

What are the main duties of your job?

My main responsibility is to help my Editorial team with acquisition of content for the  Springer Mathematics portfolio. So to reach out to potential and existing authors and researchers to publish with us – either a book, chapter or journal article. I do this by marketing our available content to the scientific community, as well as make available details on our publishing services to them.

I use various forms of digital marketing like social media marketing, e-mailers and mobile marketing to reach our audience. Organizing and participating in conferences and sponsorships are also a large part of my marketing strategy.

What tools/programs do you utilize in your role?

I look after our social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter, so I use both these platforms quite extensively to reach out within the Mathematics community. We use various agencies to send out digital content – like Teradata, now Mapp and ISI, now Clarivate for e-mail, Hootsuite for social media), and I rely on intelligent data from websites likes Authormapper, Web of Science and Journal Citation Reports to help structure my campaigns. In addition, we have internal systems like JFlow, BFlow, CMA and Coremedia that publish content to different places on our website.

What project(s) have you most enjoyed working on?

I thoroughly enjoy working on our social media accounts and creating interesting content for our audience to engage with us.

What challenges do you face in your position?
An interesting challenge that I face in my work is to make sure my marketing tactics are ever fresh and continue to reach my audience as expected. During my marketing activities, I have to make sure not to over reach by audience as well as reach out to them with relevant and fresh content. So I am always innovating fresh ideas and campaigns to reach out to the community.

We asked Sue Duncan, Technical Editorial Advisor for Hydrogeology Journal, the official journal of the International Association of Hydrogeologists (IAH), what it’s like to work with Springer at the partner level. 

Tell us about IAH. What are your mission and values?

IAH was founded in 1956 and celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2016. Our mission is to further the understanding, wise use and protection of groundwater resources, primarily to ensure aquifer and ecological sustainability and thus long-term access to safe drinking water. Now with around 4,100 members in over 130 countries, our society has emerged as the leading organisation specialising in groundwater worldwide. Groundwater protection is a serious matter and we endeavour to raise awareness with national and international agencies within a charity framework. We operate science-based ‘commissions’ and ‘networks’ with a global Council and a Secretariat based in the UK.

We run international conferences, at which members and other groundwater-related professionals come together to further our aims. Our members work in a wide variety of organisations, including academia, commercial companies and groups that make national and international policy. Our membership ranges from those with long-experience through to an early-careers network, whose enthusiasm and vision will shape the future of our association. And we provide a mentoring scheme designed to facilitate practical training, career development and the gift of sound advice. The result is the ‘IAH family,’ which promotes not only the sustainable management of groundwater but also provides a support network for all who work in this area.

How long has IAH partnered with Springer Nature? What made you choose us as your journal publisher?

Hydrogeology Journal (HJ) was launched in 1992 (initially as Applied Hydrogeology) as a major component in IAH’s scientific and educational priorities, published by Heise Verlag.  As the journal took off, IAH sought a partner that was more closely integrated within the geosciences community, to increase HJ’s exposure and reputation. Thus, in 1997, HJ’s publication was taken over by Springer, which means our partnership is now 20 years old.

HJ has grown to eight issues per year and celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. Its Impact Factor has risen steadily over the years and, although this is not necessarily the measure by which IAH measures success, the growth in the journal has been very pleasing indeed.

What makes Springer Nature a good fit for IAH?

IAH members and HJ readers and authors are often the same people. They range from the technology-enabled scientists of first-world countries to field operatives in challenging environments (often with little internet access), and from young PhD students in Mongolia to the well-seasoned professionals who seek to drive change and promote our mission by representing IAH at international fora such as the World Water Council, UNESCO and UN-Water. Thus, rapid evolution in one component of the organisation must be compatible with the needs of another. For the journal, IAH has managed this balance hand-in-hand with Springer Nature, who have guided us carefully through the ever-changing advances made by the publishing industry. But support is evident for our society as a whole, not just the journal.

As one example, the titles and abstracts of HJ articles can be published in up to 43 different languages. As another example, IAH members can receive HJ in either e-only format or as a physical copy posted direct from the printer. The flexibility offered by Springer Nature has been key to the success of our continuing society-publisher relationship.

Which of our services do you utilize? Which have been especially supportive for your members?

Good quality editing and production of the journal articles are, of course, our priority. Appropriate advertising is also appreciated. Accessibility of HJ articles to institutes and libraries in economically viable packages are all essential for authors and readers. These reflect our reputation and credibility in the global scientific community.

Perhaps the most beneficial service otherwise is Open Choice, as IAH members receive a discount on the fee for open-access publishing. Authors from developing countries usually choose to publish via the subscription route, for which there are no fees for HJ. Everybody, regardless of financial status, benefits from a good publishing experience, as well as imaginative promotional strategies, regular blogs and advice, and face-to-face contact with Springer Nature at conferences.

What Springer Nature platforms or programs have been most beneficial for your society?

SpringerLink is well organised, accurate and relevant. So apart from some supplementary information on the IAH website, our own members’ email alerts and our own HJ web page link people straight to SpringerLink for all HJ matters. It saves our administrators enormous effort.

The HJ editorial team is intrigued by Altmetric and we are watching its capabilities develop, especially with respect to registration of articles that contribute to environmental policy and guidance.

Any specific examples of campaigns or experiences over the years that have stood out?

The annual editorial meeting between the HJ/IAH team and our Springer Nature editors, in Heidelberg, has been of great benefit, and there have been plenty of those over the years!

Free-access periods for the special issues and topical collections have been particularly well received by HJ authors and readers. We anticipate considerable interest in this year’s special issue Hydrogeology and Human Health. These issues and collections are like your own children until they are released into the world, and it is good to know that they are safely managed by such a large and stable organisation.

Perhaps the most striking campaign has been “Change the World, One Article at a Time.” Although only one article from each Springer Nature journal is involved, the concept solidifies a lot of what IAH is about. So, in this respect, we really are all on the same page.

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