How one public health editor is pushing her journal to make a difference towards the SDG agenda

The Source
By: Guest contributor, Wed Sep 1 2021

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Author: Guest contributor

One of the most noteworthy highlights in the Springer Nature Group's 2020 Sustainable Business Report is that 2020 is the year that Springer Nature became carbon neutral. We are committed to continuing to work to reduce the wider environmental impact of our publishing and we want to highlight our employees' commitment to addressing the Sustainable Development Goals as well. 

In this new series we're sharing the thoughts, opinions, and contributions of Springer Nature staff who are members of our 'SDG Champions' network. Welcome to this week's profile of one of our newest SDG Champions: Natalie Pafitis. As Senior Editor for BMC Public Health, Natalie's day to day work most obviously aligns with SDG 3: Good Health and Wellbeing, but her enthusiasm for the SDGs and the programme go far beyond this.

What is your role at Springer Nature?

I am a Senior Editor at BMC Public Health. My responsibilities include progressing individual journal content to ensure efficient peer review, monitoring journal and Editorial Board performance, building and commissioning content and maximising the performance and future success the journal. I am also an Editor of the BMC Series blog.

Why did you become an SDG champion at Springer Nature?

Public health and well-being is at the centre of the 2030 Agenda and, although most pertinent to SDG3, interacts with most if not all other dimensions of sustainable development reflected in the other 16 goals. Furthermore, I have a particular personal interest in environmental health (in which I completed my MSc), which plays an essential role in SDG policy making and which has received increased attention in the last few years.

Considering the close alignment of BMC Public Health’s scope with these goals and the fact that other journals within the BMC series potentially have much to contribute to this great initiative, I am keen to involve our journals in pushing this initiative further and making a difference, even if small.

Which SDG most resonates with you, personally? 

As a certified diver who lives on an island, SDG 14: Life Below Water resonates the most with me. It’s truly devastating to witness the effects human practices and global warming have on our oceans. This is also why SDG 13: Climate Action follows as a close second for me.

How do you think a publisher like Springer Nature can make a difference to the Sustainable Development Goals?

As Springer Nature reaches out to a variety of communities across the globe through the multidisciplinary work it publishes, it has a significant role to play in producing and sharing research relevant to the SDGs which can lead to further development and innovation. This includes disseminating important research which may aid in policy making and highlighting the integrated approach necessary for achieving the goals. By creating new partnerships and also pushing forward initiatives which support equity in academic publishing we can directly contribute to change.

Tell us about someone from outside Springer Nature who inspires you by their work to address the world’s largest challenges.

From a young girl, I have been inspired by David Attenborough. His dedication to the natural world and environmentalism is truly admirable. He has been able to use his status to be an effective communicator with regards to issues such as climate change, with his influence also leading to the introduction of the plastic-recycling policies in the UK which came about within days of the final episode of Blue Planet II.

As Attenborough says, and I quote: “Many individuals are doing what they can. But real success can only come if there is a change in our societies and in our economics and in our politics.”

Explore highlights from Springer Nature's 2020 Sustainable Business Report 

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Author: Guest contributor

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