Sustainable Publishing: Lights, Camera, Science

The Source
By: Guest contributor, Mon May 29 2023

Author: Guest contributor

The world today faces a number of challenges, and, in the hope of improving the lives of generations to come, it is vital these challenges are tackled urgently. The recently published Springer Nature Sustainable Business Report aims to outline the key approaches to unlocking the potential of open science, and research, to accelerate solutions to the world’s most urgent challenges.

In this blog, which is the third in a series created to accompany the publication of Springer Natures’ Sustainable Business Report 2022, we will delve into how scientific research finds itself in the hands of filmmakers, screenwriters, and comic book writers, and how a seemingly unlikely pairing of science and entertainment can forge powerful stories that educate, entertain, and inspire action.

Have you ever sat down to watch your favourite Sci-Fi film and wondered how scientifically accurate the events are? Well, needless to say, the majority of Hollywood Blockbuster storylines aren't exactly rooted in reality. But, there are a handful of filmmakers and writers that do in fact carry out their due diligence, vigorously researching their story to ensure it is factually accurate and to avoid gaping plot holes. But how does scientific research find itself at the heart of popular culture, and how impactful can it be on the next generation?

Behind the Scenes of inspirational research

Having previously had research featured in ER, The X-Files, and The Theory of Everything, Springer Nature is no stranger to a high-profile acknowledgment, and a recent video series produced by Springer Nature, goes behind the scenes of some of the exciting and inspirational research published.

In 2021, research published in Nature Energy caught the attention of Hollywood. The paper by Kristian Steensen Nielsen, Kimberly Nicholas, Felix Creutzig, Thomas Dietz and Paul C. Stern on the impact of socioeconomic status on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions captured the eye of Netflix. 

The media giants, in partnership with the not-for-profit organisation ‘Count Us In’, used the paper’s five-role framework to organize the actions on their climate action platform accompanying the climate-themed movie Don’t Look Up. The researchers involved in the inspirational work were even personally thanked by the film’s star, and Hollywood stalwart, Leonardo Di Caprio.

Springer Nature’s reach has also extended from films and television shows to comic books. In 2021 researchers from Springer Nature contacted the writers at Disney Comics directly to offer cutting-edge science to be featured in the Topolino comic book series. 

Working closely with the series’ writers, Springer Nature Editors Giulia Pacchioni and Andrea Taroni developed themes to be used in the Comics & Science series, covering everything from Physics to Materials Science.

It’s clear that, in a world dominated by popular culture, by utilising new avenues that resonate with the next generation, they can be used as a tool to educate and inspire future policymakers and agents of change. 

According to Kristian Steensen Nielsen, through its association with the film Don’t Look Up, among other communication avenues, his team’s work contributed to the informing of “nearly 600,000 people, who have taken over 15 million climate actions, from flying less to calling a politician, resulting in about 175,000 tonnes of avoided carbon pollution.” This kind of impact could create a more sustainable future for everyone.

You can find out more about how Springer Nature is working to effectively communicate scientific research, as well as other initiatives, in the newly released 2022 Sustainable Business Report.

P_Blog image_Ben Hunt © Springer Nature 2023
About the Author

Ben Hunt: Previous to joining the Copywriting and Translations team at Springer Nature, Ben marketed for the Open access mega journal Scientific Reports, and before that worked in publishing within the Media sector.


Author: Guest contributor

Guest Contributors include Springer Nature staff and authors, industry experts, society partners, and many others. If you are interested in being a Guest Contributor, please contact us via email: