These policies underpin our commitment as a leading research publisher to editorial independence and supporting research excellence.
Our editorial policies (A-Z)
We believe that every author’s contribution to a research paper should be clearly credited.
We achieve this by requiring authors to include a statement in the manuscript that specifies the contribution of each author. We are currently developing a standardized approach across the whole of Springer Nature.
We believe that authors, peer reviewers and editors should be required to disclose any competing interests that might influence their decisions and conclusions around a particular piece of content.
We achieve this by requiring declarations of competing interests in selected journals and fields, and we aim to implement such declarations across the entire Springer Nature portfolio in the near future.
Compliance with community guidelines and mandates
We believe that Springer Nature has a responsibility to support the relevant guidelines (based on research community or geographical region) that specify best practice in research.
We achieve this requiring all experimental results on animal and human subjects to conform to the authors’ local regulations and ethical standards, and we also encourage adherence to international standards.
We believe that all correspondence between editors, authors and peer reviewers should be treated as confidential by default.
We achieve this by ensuring that all of our editors and employees receive clear guidance about the need for confidentiality during and beyond the manuscript assessment process. Some of our journals offer a media service through which selected papers can be released confidentially to the media, under embargo, ahead of publication.
Corrections and retractions
We believe that it is our responsibility to maintain the integrity of the published literature and to act quickly to address any challenges or questions around the work that we publish.
We achieve this by having clear processes to investigate allegations of publication and research misconduct and clear policies around corrections, editorial expressions of concern and retractions. These involve working closely in the first instance with the authors and, where appropriate, the authors’ institution(s).
We believe that the corresponding author should be empowered to act on behalf of all co-authors during the manuscript assessment and publication process.
We achieve this by asking the corresponding author to confirm that they have the authority to act on behalf of all co-authors, and that all of the listed authors have agreed to all of the content of the book or article including the author list and author contribution statements.
We believe that the editorial decision-making process should be independent of all commercial concerns.
We achieve this by ensuring that editors are unaware of authors’ preferences regarding business model (for example, gold open access) and by having a clear Code of Conduct that defines the responsibilities of an Editor in Chief.
Fraud and malpractice
We believe that Springer Nature has a responsibility to investigate any instances of fraud or malpractice that it detects.
We achieve this by working closely with the Committee on Publication Ethics and having clear guidelines in place for editors. Where a paper is suspected or discovered to be based on fraudulent results or to contain images that have been inappropriately manipulated, the editor will take prompt steps to investigate and to notify readers. The paper will be retracted if fraud is confirmed.
We believe that it should be simple for authors to link their publication to their institution, for readers to unequivocally understand the affiliation, and for institutions to see the works that have been published by their past and current employees.
We achieve this by integrating GRID APIs with our systems, allowing authors to use a list of a list of predefined institutions when submitting their work, thereby assisting disambiguation. GRID comprises a worldwide collection of institutes associated with academic research.
We believe that robust and well-conducted peer review supports the advance of research and discovery by ensuring that research results are robust and trustworthy.
We achieve this by ensuring that all of the primary research papers and review articles that we publish are peer reviewed by appropriate experts in the field. Peer reviewers may choose to remain anonymous or, for some publications, to reveal their identity and/or the content of their peer review report. On some journals we offer the option of double-blind peer review.
We believe that personal data should be disclosed only with the full permission of the individual to whom the data pertains.
We achieve this by requiring authors to obtain consent to publish individual indentifiable personal data. In cases where personal data is published without consent, editors will retract the article or obscure identifiable data.
We believe that Springer Nature has a responsibility to investigate any instances of plagiarism that it detects.
We achieve this by routinely using the Crossref Similarity Check powered by iThenticate on submitted manuscripts, and having clear guidelines in place for editors. Where a paper is suspected or discovered to be based on plagiarism, the editor must take prompt steps to investigate and to notify readers. The paper will be corrected or retracted depending on the severity of the case.
We believe that authors should be allowed to share their research on a preprint server.
We achieve this by having permissive policies that support posting of preprints on preprint services, with the expectation that authors will respect our policies on media embargo and they will not publicise the work to the mass media.
We believe that the research we publish should adhere to high standards of transparency and robustness in their methods and results. This, in turn, supports the principle of reproducibility, which is a foundation of good research, especially in the natural sciences.
We achieve this by developing editorial processes and checklists to provide clarity for authors and supporting authors in the reporting of their work. We support the Transparency and Openness Promotion guidelines.
We believe that it should be as clear and easy as possible for a researcher to submit their manuscript and any associated Supplementary Information and data to Springer Nature.
We achieve this by providing clear submission guidelines for all of our journals and books, and we are working constantly to improve and simplify our submission systems. For some of our journals we also provide a direct submission option for content that has been uploaded to bioRxiv.
We believe that it is essential to secure the correct rights to third-party content in order that it can legally be published and re-used.
We achieve this by requiring authors to obtain permission from the copyright holder to reproduce figures, tables or text that has previously been published elsewhere. We can provide support and advice to authors to facilitate this process.