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Welcome to the October issue of the Springer Nature Library Link newsletter! 

This issue we feature some updates from our Innovations and Metadata Team, an interview with the Publishing Director for Nature Research, on the impact of launching new journals, and more information on our newest Database, Springer Nature Experiments. 


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James Butcher

Publishing Director

Nature Research Group

The Impact of the new Nature Journal launches


Tell us a little about your role and background?

I am the Publishing Director of the Nature journals and am responsible for the publishing activities of our subscription-based Nature journals. Like many of my colleagues, I started my career in academia and my PhD is in neurophysiology. I have worked in STM publishing since 2000, first as an editor (at The Lancet) and then as a publisher (at Nature Research). I’ve been fortunate to work for two publishing houses that both care deeply about science and scientists. 

Can you tell us about the drive behind launching new Nature-branded journals? 

Our primary goal is to produce journals that the scientific community values, both as readers and authors. We can measure value in many ways, but for me one of the most important indicators for a new journal is the number of submissions it receives. In that regard, the journals that we’ve launched over the past few years have been our most successful ever; the journals have been receiving large numbers of very good papers as soon as we open the doors.

Perhaps that’s not surprising. After all, researchers working in the fields of microbiology, ecology and evolutionary biology have been asking us to launch a journal to serve their needs for many years. However, we also aim to create innovative journals that span both the natural and social sciences to help researchers address some of the biggest challenges that are facing global society. We started that approach in 2011 when we launched Nature Climate Change. More recent “grand challenge” launches include Nature Energy (2016), Nature Human Behaviour (2017) and Nature Sustainability (2018). 

Why are Nature journals expensive?

Nature journals have an unusual editorial model: all of our PhD trained editors are full-time members of staff. Each journal has at least 4 editors working on it; some journals have many more. In addition, we pride ourselves on the high production quality of our journals, which is the result of the hard work of our dedicated art and production editors. These in-house teams are a key reason why Nature journals are such high quality, but as a result the overhead costs of Nature journals are considerably higher than on most journals. Furthermore, all Nature journals are highly selective and publish, on average, only 7% of the papers they receive. The selection process needs to be done with great care; our editors spend a lot of time reading and assessing manuscripts that are never published in our pages. 

How do you balance community need with what some perceive to be the over saturation of the journals market, and its impact on library budgets?

Every year many publishers launch new journals, but those journals would fail if academic output did not continue to increase year-on-year. It’s important to remember that the Nature Research portfolio of journals is small and has grown gradually over the last 25 years; we publish fewer than 50 journals out of 20,000+ that are published each year.

What do you see as the next big development in the STM publishing landscape?

Academic publishing is a conservative endeavour and there’s far too much hype about “big developments” that may be imminent — evolution is more likely than revolution. At the heart of STM publishing is the scientific paper, which is essentially a form of story telling. Human beings are inveterate story tellers and I can't see that format changing radically in the near future. However, I think it's likely that scientists will increasingly choose to publish smaller units of their research output, whether that's data descriptors or underlying datasets. Publishers will need to create solutions that make new forms of publishing as simple and useful as possible.


Update about new eBook pages on SpringerLink

Stephen Cornelius, Senior Product Manager, SpringerLink

We’ve recently completed the next phase of our gradual refresh of the SpringerLink platform and switched all of the eBooks (excepting reference content) to our new layout. Although the change is not revolutionary, it builds towards our aim of providing a clean and simple presentation which allows readers to focus on the content using anything from a widescreen laptop to a compact smartphone.

What changes will we notice? 

Regular visitors will probably have seen the new layout begin to appear over the summer, as we have been rolling the design out in beta form to gauge user reaction and measure how it performs. We believe in sharing our work-in-progress as early as possible and we’d like to thank all those users who took time to provide feedback. This has been very helpful to us in trying to get the solution right and help answer questions like the balance in prominence between the now widely available HTML text for individual chapters and the popular option to download the complete work as an ePub or DRM-free PDF.

What's next?

The SpringerLink team are now busy working on something new for the major reference content. These are among our most popular publications but some of the most challenging to adapt to an online environment, with encyclopaedias comprising thousands of reference entries and individual entries ranging in length from thousands of words to a single sentence. Here a more radical change is required, and we’ll be starting to roll that out in beta form very soon. Watch this space!

Springer Nature Experiments

Springer Nature Experiments

Find out more about the new research solution for protocols and methods.

Book Archives & Today’s Breakthrough Innovations

Book Archives & Today’s Breakthrough Innovations

2017's breakthrough technologies and innovations are changing the world we live in.
Explore the top cited and top downloaded Springer Nature eBooks related to today’s breakthrough innovations.

Updates from Innovations and Metadata Team


Latest news from Springer Nature SciGraph

SciGraph from Springer Nature, is a Linked Open Data platform which aggregates data sources from Springer Nature and key partners from the scholarly domain.

For more information, watch our new video Springer Nature SciGraph in 90 seconds, read about our recent SciGraph Hack Day or read our report to discover how external data scientists are “Uncovering the Hidden in Springer Nature's SciGraph


New functionalities for librarians and information managers

Since its launch in 2015, Bookmetrix has grown and matured substantially. Our team of developers have worked hard on the release of Bookmetrix 2.0, which we will showcase at Frankfurt Book Fair. 

For more information join our webinar here.

Events and resources

Meet us at Frankfurt Book Fair

We will be at stand F8 in Hall 4.2 - find out more here!

Get the most out of your library content

Explore our promotional tools and services here