Unlocking Potential: AI & Tech in Research and Science Publishing

Research Publishing
By: Joyce Lorigan, Wed Jul 3 2024

Author: Joyce Lorigan

Global Head of Corporate Affairs

Imagine a world without groundbreaking technologies like smartphones. These innovations exist because scientists dared to ask questions and pursue answers. Historically, scientists have always been at the forefront of innovation, building on each other's discoveries. Isaac Newton famously said, "If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants." Similarly, tech entrepreneurs and investors play a crucial role by transforming scientific discoveries into impactful products and services. 

Global R&D spending rose from $1.4 trillion to $2.2 trillion between 2011 and 2021 (1), while the number of published scientific articles jumped from 1.6 million to 2.6 million in the decade through 2023 (2). Yet given the challenges our planet faces, scientific progress must become even faster and more inclusive, while at the same time remaining trustworthy. We at Springer Nature believe that technology will be the engine driving this improvement. 

Making scientific publishing faster, more inclusive and more reliable 

One of humanity's biggest challenges is accelerating scientific solutions to problems like climate change. Quick and easy access to trusted science is key, as demonstrated by the rapid development and rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. This rapid response underscores the importance of efficient scientific exchange and application. To further accelerate discovery, AI can optimise researchers' workflows, from automated quality checks to AI-assisted writing and editing. For example, we used GPT to help write a German-language book (on applications of GPT in finance, compliance, and audit), taking about half the usual time. At the same time, our Snapp platform streamlines the entire workflow from paper submission to publication making publication times significantly faster. 

Science still suffers from unequal participation and lack of transparency. Making scientific knowledge more accessible is crucial for finding solutions to global challenges. Open Science initiatives are catalysing a shift towards inclusivity and transparency. At Springer Nature, we are committed to creating tools and services that make Open Science a reality. Our partnerships with organisations like Figshare, Code Ocean, and ResearchGate help researchers make their findings accessible, discoverable, and shareable. Additionally, protocols.io offers a secure place for developing and sharing reproducible methods. AI-driven tools like automatic translations and text summarisation can help non-native English-speaking scientists broaden their impact. 

Ensuring the integrity and trustworthiness of scientific research is paramount. In the age of AI, safeguarding against fraudulent practices is a growing concern. For instance, estimates suggest that hundreds of thousands of paper mill publications may be contaminating scientific literature (3). With AI-driven tools, we can detect plagiarism and fraudulent documents more effectively. Our Springer Nature AI Lab develops methods to identify problematic papers. Tools like SnappShot and Geppetto will further help us flag and withdraw bogus submissions, maintaining the integrity of the scientific record. 

Publishing and Tech: Enabling Future Scientific Progress 

The shared responsibility for tech entrepreneurs and investors to contribute to scientific advancement is significant. By working together to develop and utilise technology which assists scientific research and the publishing process, we can jointly make research faster, more accessible, and more trustworthy. At Springer Nature, we are committed to being part of this collaborative effort to drive progress and create a better future for all. 

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1.Source: OECD 

2.Source: Web of Science



Author: Joyce Lorigan

Global Head of Corporate Affairs

As Global Head of Corporate Affairs and member of the Springer Nature Executive Team, Joyce Lorigan leads teams responsible for communications, sustainability and public affairs. A history graduate from the University of Leeds, Joyce has spent more than 25 years in communications in global organisations including Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG plc), the Walt Disney Company and EuroDisney. She joined Macmillan Science and Education as Global Communications Director in 2012 and became EVP Communications for Springer Nature following the merger in 2015. Joyce chaired the Board of London-based business partnership Urban Partners from 2014-2017 and is a Trustee of the Marine Conservation Society.