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Suraj Anand

Would you consider yourself an expert in your field? If not, these tips might come in handy to assert and establish yourself as a thought leader.

As a researcher it is possible to feel drowned in data and to downplay your expertise in your field. As is the case in any field, communicating and engaging with your own work is key to eventually geting established as an expert. Here we put together a few tips that can help you make a name for yourself in your respective field.

1. Network at conferences

  • From the time it’s announced until its end, conferences can be great places to gain visibility. Most conferences have a call for papers,with the accepted abstracts displayed on the conference website.
    Pro Tip: If your abstract has been accepted, share the link on social media to let your peers know that you’ll be presenting at a conference.
  • At the conference itself, network with peers and make sure you give out your details to people with whom you share your ideas. Once the conference is over, follow-up so that people remember you.

2. Contribute to blogs
If you don’t have a blog of your own, contributing to blogs in your discipline can be a great way to get read by a larger audience. When submitting to these blogs, make sure to include your bio along with your social media handles and email details so that readers can get in touch with you. Many publishers and institutions also have open blogs where you can send submissions.

3. Write Op-eds for local newspapers
Connecting with the local media is a great way to put your research in front of those who need it the most; the general public. Seek out newspapers or science blogs and find out if you can contribute opinion pieces in matters related to your subject area.

4. Participate in panels
As someone who dedicates their daily work to research in a chosen field, don’t shy away from participating in panel discussions. These opportunites can give you more visibility and can also help you network with other peers in your discipline.

5. Build your brand
Once you network, write a few blogs and perhaps even agree to some speaking engagments and you start to notice your efforts paying off, think of yourself as building your brand as an expert in this field. Start a social media handle of your choice (Twitter is fast to set up and easy to update) or slowly graduate to building your own website!

We look forward to your feedback in the comments section. 

By: Mithu Lucraft, Head of Marketing, Outreach and Development, Open Research, Springer Nature 

In previous blog posts, we have talked about the benefits of publishing a book open access (OA). But what evidence is there to support these assertions? For the journals market, where open access is now well into its second decade, there has been much analysis to show how publishing OA affects usage and citations. And whilst it is possible to draw assumptions for books looking at these studies, until now there has been little research on the OA books market.

That’s why today we are delighted to publish a new report examining the benefits of publishing an OA book. The report is the first major comparative study of usage data, directly benchmarking the performance of Springer Nature books made OA through the immediate (gold) route against that of equivalent non-OA books published in the same period.

As a pioneer of open research, Springer Nature has published more than 400 OA books and chapters under our SpringerOpen and Palgrave Macmillan imprints. This breadth of publishing presented us with an opportunity to explore the real effect of OA on our books from a quantitative perspective– looking at chapter downloads, citations and online mentions – and to draw this together with views from authors and funders that we work with.

What did we learn?

Our report establishes that there is a performance benefit from publishing a book OA:

  • Downloaded seven times more: On average, there are just under 30,000 chapter downloads per OA book within the first year of publication, which is 7 times more than for the average non-OA book.
  • Cited 50% more: Citations are on average 50% higher for OA books than for non-OA books, over a four-year period.
  • Mentioned online ten times more: OA books receive an average of 10 times more online mentions than non-OA books, over a three-year period.

The interviews we conducted with authors and funders also revealed some common themes:

  • Increased visibility and wide dissemination: For both funders and authors, the most common motivations for OA were to ensure the widest possible distribution of research.
  • Ethical motivations: Several interviewees argued that OA is not just a publishing model, but also a means of addressing the issue of equal access to knowledge and ensuring that publicly-funded research is available to all.
  • Insights on the effect of OA: Both authors and funders acknowledged feeling insufficiently informed about the implications of publishing books OA, and about how to measure impact.

What does this tell us?

Our results present an early view on the effect of OA on books, backing up the expectations that OA has a positive impact on usage. For authors who are considering whether to publish and OA book in the future, we hope this report presents a compelling argument.

However, these results tell only a partial story: the longest period of data we were able to report on was four years from publication. As OA is a relatively new business model for books, there is insufficient data at this stage to give a complete overview of an OA book’s life and how usage trends continue from year five onwards.  We intend to continue monitoring the effects of OA on usage over a longer study period to add to what we have learned so far.

As noted above, with both authors and funders feeling insufficiently informed about the implications of publishing OA, we see a clear need for publishers to better communicate on usage and impact. This is an area where we would welcome further discussion and research to explore how metrics for OA books are collected, reported, assessed and shared. We look forward to hearing your thoughts.

An infographic highlighting the key findings of the report can be downloaded here.

Read the full report here.

As part of the Peer Review Week 2017 we speak to Senior Editor Annett Buettner about the Filter of Hope initiative, which donates a water filter for each peer review completed in the Springer journal Environmental Earth Sciences.

Q) How did you come up with this idea?
It was over a beer, sometime in 2014, where some colleagues quite informally talked about peer reviewers and the fact that we needed to reward them in some way for the work that they do. We wanted an easy-to-implement, ethical and financially feasible solution and got thinking after that evening. Finally it was decided that we would spend on charity for every peer review completed. For our pilot project, on the suggestion of the Editor-in-Chief of the journal Environmental Earth Sciences, we teamed up with the charity Filter of Hope and decided to give away a water filter for each peer review completed in the journal.

Q) Tell us more about the filter and how it helps
Water is an important topic in the journal and of course in general. These filters are designed to actively filter harmful bacteria in water making it drinkable again. They are easy to install and clean and can be re-used effectively. The need for clean drinking-water is quite high in disaster-struck areas and these filters are proving to be extremely helpful in such areas.

Q) Why the focus on Peer Review and how was the initial response from peer reviewers?
Peer Review is so important to maintain accuracy in published scientific research. A peer reviewer puts in so much time and effort in reviewing an article but does not receive much in return for their work. Through this initiative peer reviewers not only get recognized by us for their work but also pay it forward through donating these water filters. Right from the onset peer reviewers were on-board with this idea and were happy and eager to contribute. In fact, some reviewers are happy to review more articles to support the initiative.

Q) How was this set up internally?
We received a lot of support from our internal Journal Editorial Office for setting this up in Editorial Manager, our article submission system. Each completed peer review uploaded on to the manuscript submission system triggers an author notification that a water filter will be donated through Filter of Hope. Authors also have the option of having their name mentioned in a special Editorial published at the end of the year.

Q) What does the future look like for this project?
Springer Nature is the first publishing house to get involved in such an initiative for peer reviewers honouring the process of peer review. We hope that other journals within Springer Nature take cue from this project and implement similar strategies for their journals and certainly do hope that more peer reviewers can promote this cause. Ideally, every topic covered by our journals corresponds to a good cause, so it shouldn’t be very hard to achieve.

To find out more about this project and the journal click here. To access a free tutorial on ‘How to Peer Review’ please click here.

The Peer Review Week 2017 celebrates the importance of peer review in maintaining the quality and accuracy of science. Today we shed light on the Peer Review process in Conference Proceedings.

Written by Aliaksandr Birukou

Conference Proceedings can be a great format for publishing important and valuable research and communicating new results much faster than journals. Did you know that conference proceedings are not just a simple compilation of conference papers but also go through rigorous, often-times a stricter peer review process?

Let’s look at an example. The proceedings of the 18th International Conference on Agile Software Development, XP 2017, were published at here. As seen from the preface, there were 46 submissions, out of which 14 full and 6 short papers have been selected for the presentation at the conference. This translates to a 30% acceptance rate for full papers, meaning that only one in three papers made it to the conference – plus, each paper received at least three reviews!

So, where’s the transparency?

Peer Review Indicators
Through the PEERE project, Dr. Mario Malički of University of Split text mined 10,000prefaces of conference proceedings to extract any information that might pertain to peer review. In particular, the terms used by authors to describe conference peer review processe were searched for. Building upon his work, in late 2015 Springer Computer Science Editorial staff started gathering such information from conference chairs in a systematic manner. This was done for all conferences publishing in Computer Science proceedings series, including the Lecture Notes in Computer Science (LNCS), which has recently celebrated its 10,000th volume:

This information about the peer review process takes into account the following parameters:

  • Type of peer review (single-, double- blind, open, other);
  • Conference management system used to run the peer review process;
  • Number of submissions received, accepted, and rejected;
  • The acceptance rate;
  • The average number of reviews per paper and papers per reviewer, as well as whether external peer reviewers, beyond the program committee, were involved;
  • any other information about the peer review process the conference organizers would like to share (as it is hard to cover all aspects in a small number of standard fields).

Acceptance rate and other indicators in action
Such indicators show how the process of one conference differs from the other and how strict and competitive the peer review is. For instance, the 13th International Conference on Machine Learning and Data Mining in Pattern Recognition, MLDM 2017 had 150 submissions and 31 full papers accepted (an acceptance rate of 20%).  However, for example, 9th Mexican Conference on Pattern Recognition, MCPR 2017, only 29 papers were accepted out of 55 submissions (52% acceptance rate).

These differences reflect various cultures prevalent within the community like some conferences might be more closed with shared quality values and might not take in many submissions from outside, or, a conference might be more international, famous and therefore also sometimes attract more dubious papers.

Making review indicators explicit enables better comparison of the peer review processes across conferences and sub-disciplines. One can now answer research questions like “is it true that pattern recognition uses single-blind review, while the AI community goes for double-blind”? Is acceptance rate in HCI higher than in machine learning? Interestingly enough, such differences are often not explicitly known within a certain community – our analysis has shown that many conferences refer to the peer review process as “THE peer-review process,” assuming it is known to everyone.

Transparency through Description
Description of the peer review processes contributes further to transparency. Staff members from the Springer CS Editorial team are discussing the parameters for describing conference peer review processes within the Conference and Project PIDs group started by CrossRef and DataCite.

Since the group includes important conference publishers and other relevant stakeholders, the goal is to develop a new industry standard for peer review transparency in conference proceedings. Such standard will then be most likely implemented within CrossMark – which will allow everyone to see which peer review process the paper was subject to just by clicking the CrossMark icon.

More information about study can be found in the abstract “Peer Review in Computer Science Conferences Published by Springer” by Mario Malički, Martin Mihajlov, Aliaksandr Birukou, and Volha Bryl, to be presented as a poster at the Peer Review Congress in Chicago. This work was also presented at the APE panel about peer review

We welcome your thoughts about peer reviews in conference proceedings. Find more about Conference Proceedings at Springer here.

Did you know that it has been five years since Springer launched an open access books programme? To commemorate this landmark we feature the story of our first Open Access book and the benefits of publishing Open Access.  

Written by Christina Emery 

A year before the official launch of its OA books programme in August 2012, Springer published its first OA book: Future Internet Assembly 2011: Achievements and Technological Promises (Editors: Domingue, J., Galis, A., Gavras, A., Zahariadis, T., Lambert, D., Cleary, F., Daras, P., Krco, S., Müller, H., Li, M.-S., Schaffers, H., Lotz, V., Alvarez, F., Stiller, B., Karnouskos, S., Avessta, S., Nilsson, M.).

Alfred Hofmann, then editor and now vice president at Springer, describes the challenges of creating the first OA book.

“The project was difficult to realize within Springer as nobody had experience regarding OA book publishing at that time.”

This was before many publishers had begun to offer OA for books. But there was a definite need to support OA publication:

“The Future Internet Assembly series was a sequence of conferences sponsored by the European Community, which already at that time advocated OA publication of research results developed with EC-sponsored activities,” explains Hofmann.

“Open access is a requirement for all projects funded by Horizon 2020 […] so it was imperative to use the open access model in order to obtain a sufficient large number and high quality contributions from authors,” added Anastasius Gavras, one of the contributing editors of Future Internet Assembly 2011.

With this need in mind, Springer challenged the status quo, successfully changing internal workflows and establishing a pricing model through a book processing charge (BPC), as well as approving use of a Creative Commons license so that Gavras and co-editors could publish Future Internet Assembly 2011 in compliance with their funder’s open access policy.

Experiencing the benefits of open access
Compliance with funder requirements is just one of the many reasons for publishing a book open access. There are many benefits for an author choosing to publish their research as an OA book, from increased discoverability and visibility, immediate online access, widened readership outside of their traditional research community, increased potential for collaboration, or career progression.

Gavras confirmed that in the case of Future Internet Assembly 2011, “Open access contributed to increased visibility of the published works, and to the level of citations per chapter.”

OA at Springer
In addition to SpringerLink, our comprehensive online delivery platform, all SpringerOpen books and chapters are listed in the Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB) and, where appropriate, PubMed’s NCBI Bookshelf. We also work with Web of Science, Scopus and Google Scholar. Inclusion on these sites enhances the visibility and discoverability of authors’ work. As a result, open access books on SpringerLink are downloaded an average of seven times more than non-OA books.

Bookmetrix – a unique platform that Springer Nature developed in partnership with Altmetric to offer authors a comprehensive overview of the reach, usage and readership of their book or chapter tracks the impact of publishing an OA book. For example the Fuure Internet Assembly 2011 has so far attracted over 505,000 chapter downloads since the current version of SpringerLink went live in 2012.

Bookmetrix shows this to work out at around 15,000 downloads of the full book. Gavras has since published further open access books with Springer for these reasons.

Open access books today
Since its launch five years ago, Springer Nature has published over 300 open access books across its Springer, Palgrave and Apress imprints, covering a wide range of disciplines within science, technology, medicine, humanities and social sciences.  The notable open access books list includes author Gerard t’Hooft, winner of the 1999 Nobel Prize in Physics and co-author Sir Timothy Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web and winner of the 2016 ACM A.M. Turing Award.

SpringerOpen books are subject to the same high level peer-review, production and publishing processes followed by traditional Springer books and they are freely and immediately available online for anyone to download. The BPC covers all the costs of commissioning, copyediting, proofreading, production, dissemination and promotion. Readers worldwide can share and reuse books and chapters published open access using the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) License, ensuring maximum reuse as well as enabling authors to retain copyright for their work.

Interested in experiencing the benefits of OA publishing? Get in touch with a Springer publishing editor to find out more.