At the beginning of this year Springer Nature signed a strategic new publishing agreement with the Materials Research Society (MRS) which will come into effect from 1 January 2021. As part of this collaboration we will publish all five journals in the MRS portfolio including the MRS Bulletin, Journal of Materials Research, MRS Communications, MRS Energy & Sustainability, MRS Advances, two archival journals (the MRS Online Proceedings Library and the MRS Internet Journal of Nitride Semiconductor Research) as well as the Materials Research Society Series eBooks.
Our Executive Editor for Mathematics, Physical and Applied Sciences, Anita Lekhwani, helped champion the bid for this portfolio that represented a body of high-quality content in the burgeoning area of materials science. Springer Nature was identified as MRS’s preferred publishing partner at the end of a highly selective and competitive bid in late 2019. Anita has been working on the integration of the MRS products into Springer Nature’s workflows throughout 2020 to prepare for our launch in January 2021. We talked to her about the new partnership, her team’s role, and future expectations.
Can you please give us a bit of background on the collaboration with Materials Research Society?
The Materials Research Society has over 14,500 distinguished members from academia, industry and government, worldwide, with approximately 50% outside the U.S. Their conferences have brought the most eminent materials researchers in the field together to present ground-breaking work and advances in the field, and publishers have always appreciated this, as we have seen through the sizeable and dynamic exhibits the society has arranged in support of the community. The extremely high quality of authors and content represented by MRS has been universally recognized by the global scientific community as well as publishers seeking to purvey that content, including Springer Nature and many others. When the Request for Proposals was received in February 2019, we believed it would be worthwhile to ally with MRS to help capture more quality content produced by their community within its own journals, and simultaneously within the Springer Nature journal portfolio.
How will the collaboration work in practice and what will be your team’s role within the collaboration?
We have already commenced integrating the society’s journals which has meant announcing the journals to the world and working with all the various teams throughout the company to get the journals settled into and integrated within peer-review, SpringerLink platform, production systems and more. Our responsibility is to help ensure the society’s requirements and expectations have been met, and that our standards are adhered to. Initially, my team has been responsible for ensuring the journals’ profiles and content are best-positioned for author and reader satisfaction. Going forward, we will work closely with the society and each journals’ editors-in-chief as strive to improve the impact of the journals in every way. We have a strong track record in this space and plan to build on the experience and successes we have had with other materials society partners.
How does the collection complement the existing content offered from Springer Nature in this field?
The Materials Research Society journal portfolio will be highly complementary to our rich and varied offerings in the materials science and engineering space. It will help reinforce our position as the market leader in serving materials science societies. Not only will Springer Nature be publishing a larger share of authors and articles within the field, but a significant proportion of MRS journal authors stem from key regions including the U.S., the U.K., Germany, Japan, and China, among others. Many authors had already been publishing within the Springer Nature journals; this partnership will not only bring MRS’ existing authorship to Springer Nature through publication in the society’s journals, but they will become SN authors at the same time. Numerous authors have come up through the society and made great strides in the field, propelling it forward as they have become today’s key opinion leaders in materials science. Authors in the MRS portfolio include many Nobel Prize winners, for example.
What does the MRS journal portfolio entail and what benefits provide the MRS journals to a library journal collection?
One of the society’s perennial goals has always been to draw more of its membership to publish within the society’s journals. Springer Nature, as their society partner, will be the beneficiary of all efforts we embark upon to achieve author retention within the society. Overall, we believe the MRS journals portfolio will complement our own offerings by increasing the quality and quantity of our materials science portfolio by steering more impactful authors and topics to our materials science offerings. And finally, the usage of MRS content is very high. The traffic we expect to generate among the MRS journal portfolio should help convert the path in search of MRS content into an odyssey through related Springer Nature content as well. The alliance increases Springer Nature’s visibility at MRS’ semi-annual flagship conferences, drawing over 11,000 of the world’s leading materials scientists from academia, industry, government, and non-profit agencies. It also presents opportunities for developing new products in alignment with the both Springer Nature’s and MRS’ goals while bolstering the visibility of the society’s journals, books, and online products. SN’s offerings will increase by 27k+ articles and 165k+ pages of content solely based on the backfiles of its active journals. In addition, approximately 500k pages of seminal, archival content will be added to our offerings. We expect to publish over 1,300 articles annually to start among their five journals.
What is the MRS Online Proceedings Library and how is Springer Nature working with this archive?
The backfiles of the MRS journals represent the development of the field and showcase the journeys that many eminent researchers have taken as they have risen to the top of their fields. The MRS Online Proceedings Library consists of over 70,000 articles and about 500,000 pages of articles that are based upon MRS proceedings over several decades. Many key figures in the field, including Nobelists (such as Geim, Stoddart, Whittingham, and others) have made their way through the field of materials science as part of the Materials Research Community. In addition to serving as an account of principal developments in the field, the fidelity of the content has been improved by addressing errors and omissions within articles and adding missing content. This resource has historically and consistently generated much interest across the global materials community and has had very high usage. We believe it will be even more highly accessed in its new, more comprehensive and accurate version.
What will the MRS eBook program include?
The Materials Research Society eBook Series covers the multidisciplinary field of materials research and technology, publishing across chemistry, physics, biology, and engineering. The Series focuses on premium textbooks, professional books, monographs, references, and other works that serve the broad materials science and engineering community worldwide. Connecting the principles of structure, properties, processing, and performance and employing tools of characterization, computation, and fabrication, the Series addresses established, novel, and emerging topics.