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Societies and the Springer Nature experience

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.

Learn more about our society and partnership benefits.

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