4 initiatives making it easier for researchers & health professionals to access research

By: Saskia Hoving, Mon Jun 19 2023
Saskia H

Author: Saskia Hoving

Even the highest quality research content can have limited utility if the people that need to use it can’t easily get at it. That’s why so many different teams at Springer Nature work so hard to build out new ways to enhance research content accessibility. Especially for critical, hands-on sectors like healthcare practitioners (from the bedside to the lab).

This post — second in a series looking at parts of Springer Nature’s recently-published Sustainable Business Report 2022 —focuses on just a few of the steps the company has taken towards making it easier for researchers, health professionals, and others to access research content. It looks at Springer Nature’s commitment to advancing discovery by making it easier for those who need research content to access it.

4 examples in action

Over the three years from 2019-2021, Springer Nature invested more than €350 million in developing and acquiring technology and products to make it easier to access essential research information. This investment has paid off in many ways. The best way to see this, of course, is to see it in action. So below I’ll go through a handful of concrete, specific examples of how Springer Nature is actually doing this, so you can see for yourself what this could mean for you and your library.

  1. Supporting Austrian doctors with digital solutions: What if a doctor at the bedside could have access to well-organized research data, on her phone? That’s the question that Medbee asked and aimed to answer. And in 2022, Springer Medizin acquired Medbee. This one-of-a-kind app enables doctors in Austria to access data and documents, individually organized, on their phones. More than 9,000 Austrian doctors are already using Medbee to enhance their clinical practice. About what Medbee joining Springer Medizin means for Austrian physicians, Dr. Andreas Strouhal, founder of Medbee, said: “Medbee’s digital competence and focus on content complement each other ideally with Springer Medizin’s large, specialist range of medical and pharmaceutical topics. I am convinced that together with Springer we will make Medbee an indispensable digital companion for the medical profession.”
  2. Streamlining access to high-quality life sciences data: What if researchers could easily find protocols and methods data alongside their search for which reagents to use? That’s the question Springer Nature asked when deciding to integrate data from protocols and methods into CiteAb. This partnership, bringing reagent and protocols and methods information together, gives researchers the tools to: 1) See how and where the reagents are used, and to what effect, 2) Search for what they need, in one place, 3) Have access to information on reagent suppliers. 

    These outcomes help save time and money and will support the advancement of scientific research. Commenting on how this partnership will help researchers, Springer Nature’s Director of Product Management for Digital Life Sciences Solutions, Robin Padilla, Ph.D., said: “It is incredibly time intensive for researchers to find not only high-quality content, but the most suitable resources — data and products — that they need for their lab, experiment and research work. This partnership seeks to address that challenge by combining [Springer Nature’s] high quality data and content with CiteAb’s innovative platform and search functionality and using state of the art text and data mining APIs to streamline that search process”
  3. Making information more accessible for the differently abled: Springer Nature’s customer service team recently appointed its first accessibility champion to advocate for accessibility and inclusion for differently abled customers, and to connect colleagues with practical and strategic solutions. The company also created procurement guidelines for accessible purchasing, and a practical guide for librarians on assessing vendors’ claims about product accessibility. Following accessibility training, the Nature Masterclasses Online team has embarked on a major project to improve the quality of the eLearning content, while multiple projects inside the books division aim to improve access to Springer Nature’s eBooks products. Springer Nature’s marketing teams have also begun a large-scale review of the accessibility of company marketing content.
  4. Growing the digital archive: Recently, Springer Nature expanded its partnership with the CLOCKSS digital archive, to help ensure the long-term preservation of all books published since 1815. The partnership will see around 300,000 book titles that are crucially important for the scholarly record kept safe for posterity, such as Albert Einstein’s The Meaning of Relativity, published in 1922. The archive includes titles in multiple languages and from a range of imprints, including Springer and Palgrave Macmillan. Niels Peter Thomas, Managing Director, Books at Springer Nature, said, “Books have always been and continue to be a driving force for social progress; therefore, we firmly believe in the impact of books. Partnerships such as this one with CLOCKSS strengthen the relevance of books to scholarly communication.”

Learn more — and keep up-to-date!

As a publisher, and as a partner for libraries, Springer Nature doesn’t rest, as these few excerpts from the company’s recent Sustainable Business Report show.  To keep up with more developments — even as they happen — subscribe to the Link Alerts! With a Link Alerts subscription, you’ll find out about news, developments, and more, as they happen.

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Saskia H

Author: Saskia Hoving

In the Dordrecht office, Marketing Manager Saskia Hoving produces The Link Newsletter for research communities. Focusing on the evolving role of libraries regarding SDGs, Open Science, and researcher support, she explores academia's intersection with societal progress. With a lifelong passion for sports and recent exploration into "Women’s inclusion in today’s science", Saskia brings dynamic insights to her work.