A message from Frank Vrancken Peeters

Springer Nature Group
By: Frank Vrancken Peeters, Thu Mar 19 2020

To all our customers, authors, readers and others we work with on a daily basis to advance learning and research and open doors to discovery

In these unprecedented times, the need for continued access to research and learning has never been more important; to maintain access to essential research needed to slow the spread of COVID-19, for researchers to be able to access content remotely as universities are being required to close, and for teachers and lecturers to ensure that children and students are able to continue with their studies should they be required to learn from home.  We understand the responsibility on research and education publishers to ensure this can happen and wanted to provide some information as to what we are doing at Springer Nature to help in this time of uncertainty.

Access to research related to the coronavirus

All relevant research related to the coronavirus that we have published, and continue to publish, is available for free via www.springernature.com/coronavirus. This central resource hub contains links to relevant research from our journals and books, as well as additional commentary on COVID19. Our editors are also selecting pertinent content to highlight. Overall more than 12,000 pieces of journal and book content are free to access, and will continue to be so for as long as needed. We are also strongly urging our authors, when submitting articles related to this emergency, to share underlying datasets relevant to the outbreak as rapidly and widely as possible. 

We are also working with global organisations to support the sharing of relevant research and data and are a signatory on the Wellcome Trust consensus statement, Sharing research data and findings relevant to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, as well as supporting the initiative from the White House Office of Science and Technology to make all relevant global research, and data, available in one place, on PubMedCentral. We are doing similar with the WHO’S COVID database and are working with the Allen Institute for AI to enable our content to be used in their Semantic Scholar application and the wider scientific community.

Remote access to our platforms for researchers

With many universities having to close, our platforms including link.springer.com, nature.com and biomedcentral.com remain fully available and we are ready to support the increasing numbers of researchers, student and faculty working from remote locations. We have already implemented the SeamlessAccess experience on Nature.com and we are contacting libraries who don’t have the required technology in place, or want to update their remote access method, to see how we can help to make sure users’ access to our content is not interrupted in any way. A dedicated page on springernature.com has also been created to provide guidance and assistance.

In addition to this, and in line with the call from the International Coalition of Library Consortia (ICOLC), we are working on a change to keep users logged in for 90 days (we can update this at any point when needed) after their initial authentication. This will reduce the impact on an institutions’ VPN and therefore ensure researchers can continue to get access to content when they need it. This is also supported by our implementation of CASA (Campus Activated Subscriber Access) across SpringerLink and Nature.com and we are also planning to start piloting Universal CASA for remote access across multiple devices in the coming days. This will further support an uninterrupted research experience at a time when users need to access content from multiple locations.

We are asking librarians to contact us, through their usual channels, if there is anything we can do to assist them in securing remote access for their users. 

As a global company operating from multiple countries, remote working is something we are incredibly used to.  This means we are well set up to continue to operate as near to normal as possible, as individual current government restrictions allow.  Please continue submitting your research, our editors are ready to receive and assess it, and our publishing and production teams are ready to publish it and get it out to the wider community who need it. 

Support for editors and peer reviewers

With many of our Editors-in-Chief and editorial board members now having to work from home, often alongside caring responsibilities, we are starting to hear from them about difficulties in managing their workloads. Others are finding their time is short because they are at the front line of the efforts to treat coronavirus patients in hospitals around the world, or have been drafted into diagnostics for coronavirus. Our Journals team is providing advice and information so that they feel well supported by us. 

Education and learning access

Macmillan Education teams have been talking with teachers in countries like China and Spain to find out how we can best support them with structured curriculum and English language teaching materials so that they can deliver distance learning, over the web or email, to their students.

While face-to-face teacher training events are postponed for now, we are opening up online training to all teachers (whether or not they have previously been users of Macmillan Education resources) and are working on making these as interactive as possible, so that teachers can learn more about delivering lessons remotely as well as continuing their own professional development during this period.

As universities across the globe close and teaching and learning move online, we are supporting our customers with access to valuable resources to support our university communities in this transition.

Support for other professionals

For medical professionals, there is free access to COVID-19-related content on our websites, such as nursing.nl and zorgvisie.nl, springermedizin.de, and also springerprofessional.de which also offers advice on managing the crisis. The Ärztezeitung is providing updates for GPs on the latest COVID-19 developments on a daily basis and twice a week in its print edition. We are publishing CME (certificate medical education) training articles about COVID-19 in print and online. In our driving school business, we are now placing an even stronger focus on online learning.

Finally, the proliferation of deliberate misinformation and misguided inaccurate or incomplete information is also a growing problem with the dissemination of such often happening faster than accurate reporting. To counter this, we are also ensuring there is access to good, fact-based journalistic and opinion content on this fast-moving public health issue in Nature (for researchers and research leaders) and Scientific American (for the broader public). Nature and Scientific American have also released podcasts from global experts on the pandemic and its development, and Nature Briefing continues to provide the latest research updates.

I used the word ‘unprecedented’ at the start.  There is no other way to describe the current situation.  We are doing what we can but we are all feeling our way at the moment and I am sure we do not have all the answers. If there are other things you think we should and could be doing, please do get in touch

Please everyone keep safe, keep healthy, and together we will get through this. I am sending my best wishes to each and every one of you. 



Author: Frank Vrancken Peeters

Chief Executive Officer

Frank Vrancken Peeters joined Springer Nature in 2017 as Chief Commercial Officer and became CEO in September 2019. He has spent more than 25 years in the media and publishing sectors, with leadership roles across a range of strategic and delivery business functions in both business-to-business and business-to-consumer contexts. Frank has previously had senior positions at: Wolters Kluwer, where he was Regional Managing Director, Legal and Regulatory, Western Europe; at Infinitas Learning, where he was Chief Operating Officer; and Elsevier Science, where he served as MD Government and Academic Markets, MD ScienceDirect and MD Global Sales, in each case building and growing significant-scale, complex international businesses. Frank holds a Master’s in Business Administration from the Erasmus University Rotterdam.