The making of a Springer Nature Reference

By: Diana Petrowicz, Tue May 18 2021

Springer Nature References are written by internationally renowned experts and clearly present established scientific and scholarly information, providing researchers with a foundation of knowledge on which to build.

Anil Chandy is Vice President in the Springer Nature leadership team for books. He is responsible for Humanities and Social Sciences Books Publishing as also Major Reference Works (Springer Nature References) and Open Access Proceedings at Springer Nature. Anil is also Managing Director of Springer Nature Singapore. Before he joined Springer Nature in 2007 he had professional stints at Deloitte Consulting, OUP, and Sage.

Springer Nature References are very large, often multi-volume works, can you give some insight into what goes into the writing one?


Any Springer Nature Reference given its scope takes a lot of disciplinary research, planning, editorial input and systems to materialize. At Springer Nature we have made the necessary investments that allow us to connect and work with top academic and industry leaders worldwide, facilitate collaboration between these leaders in an efficient way and collect, quality-check, review and curate the content that we publish in our reference program.

We are very fortunate that we meet leaders in academia and industry, especially those with extensive experience and professional networks, who have the passion to educate and grow the next generation of scientists and they often see a comprehensive reference resource as an essential tool to bridge knowledge gaps, explain advanced scientific findings to newcomers and provide a framework to solve global challenges. 

For each reference work that Springer Nature publishes coordination exists literally on a global level with our editorial teams  consisting of subject experts, reference publishers, acquisition editors and distinguished experts in the field. New topics are always found based on evidence as to where a research field is moving.

Springer Nature References have been specifically designed with libraries in mind, how did your team identify the needs of library users and what features were developed?

In 2006, when Springer (now part of Springer Nature) decided to focus on reference works as a dedicated product category serving the needs of researchers and across all levels and also integrating the Kluwer reference portfolio, the key problem to solve for librarians was to make the content available electronically as the knowledge ecosystem was making a transition from Print to Digital. We therefore pioneered full-text searchable digital reference content even before some other book types had the same characteristics. We did not stop there through; today after integrating Palgrave Macmillan references in 2015, more than the content being available digitally what needs to be stressed is discovering and accessing the content seamlessly. This means preparing the content with excellent metadata and search and discovery- focused parameters. Also remember that typically those using reference content are not looking for deep coverage but an efficient dip in and out of the content for established knowledge that has been vetted by experts that’s easy to understand.

We routinely perform behavioral studies and testing to track usage and access patterns to tailor developments to the needs of library users. Also the traditional time frames of developing large encyclopedias and reference works does not hold good for the needs of researchers anymore and that is when we pioneered our Living Editions for References, which allows both online first publication and continuous updating, thus reducing the time lag between manuscript collection, review and publication. So as problem solvers we also addressed the pain point in the print or static e-content formats that certain portions of content become outdated when the work is published. We can also credit an author or editor in a timely manner for their contribution. Reference content on SpringerLink (and even our print content) is all structured in such a way to make access quick and easy. This to a certain extent also explains the high usage reference content receives.

If you are interested in further information about Springer Nature References, explore References on the SpringerLink platform and find out how to licence Reference Modules.

Diana Petrowicz

Author: Diana Petrowicz

Diana Petrowicz is a Marketing Manager in the Sales Enablement team, based in the London office. Supporting the Sales and Account Development teams, she is enthusiastic about finding innovate ways to communicate with the library community and specialises in producing and writing case studies across the portfolio.