This Friday, 2nd July, we have decided to close down nearly all of Springer Nature’s global operations for one day, as a thank you to our nearly 10,000 colleagues around the world for their extraordinary efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It has been almost 18 months since the coronavirus first forced office closures, homeworking, homeschooling and endless video calls. Throughout this period, Springer Nature colleagues have worked tirelessly to support researchers, librarians, teachers, clinicians, our customers and each other.
Some of our colleagues have had very difficult personal circumstances to manage. Some colleagues have themselves contracted COVID-19. Tragically, a few have died with or from COVID-19 and they are greatly missed by their colleagues and our wider Springer Nature team. Other colleagues have lost loved ones or had to support family members who have been very ill.
Of course, the pandemic is not yet over. While colleagues at some locations are back in the office following strict social-distancing and COVID-safe procedures, in other business locations with less access to vaccines and still high or rising infection rates, the situation continues to be difficult.
As a small gesture of thanks, all colleagues will have an extra day of holiday and - since we know that email only really stops when others are offline too - most will do so on the same day: 2nd July.
Front-line customer service and IT support will still be available (and those colleagues will be able to take their extra day’s leave at another time) so this will not have an impact on our critical services. However if you receive an out of office message from a member of our team and your message isn’t urgent I hope you’ll be able to wait until Monday for a reply.
How Springer Nature colleagues have kept research and education moving during the COVID-19 pandemic
The research and education communities that Springer Nature colleagues work closely with have been at the forefront of the response to COVID-19 from the start. We have been proud to play a part in enabling that work over the past 18 months.
In January last year, like other research publishers, Springer Nature invoked its emergency protocol for Public Health Emergencies of International Concern, and made tens of thousands of relevant research papers free to access. Since the start of the pandemic, we have published more than 41,000 new COVID-19 research articles, and encouraged early sharing of research via preprint servers.
During lockdowns, we supported librarians, researchers, students and teachers working from remote locations to ensure they had ongoing and seamless access to our content platforms. We created free-to-access training and other resources for medical professionals, accessible via sites such as nursing.nl and springermedizin.de.
To support learners and teachers, Macmillan Education created a free-to-access distance teaching and learning hub to enable teaching from home and shared free online access to more than 500 key textbooks used in higher education settings.
As well as original research, news and opinion content on the pandemic was shared in Nature (for researchers and research leaders) and Scientific American (for the wider public), including dedicated coronavirus podcasts, which had more than one million downloads in 2020.