What are some of the emerging areas of interest you’re seeing across HSS today?
“Humanities and Social Sciences research today is incredibly rich and fast-evolving. An important aspect of this evolution is a rise in inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary collaboration. More and more, we’re seeing the techniques, data and methodologies associated with one discipline adapted and used to further research or solve a problem connected with an entirely different field. Where I think this becomes potent is in the research around the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and society’s ‘grand challenges’.. For example, there’s significant overlap between many of the journals in our HSS portfolio and SDG 8 (of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals), which focuses on sustainable economic growth and work.
“Our portfolio engages with a variety of the SDGs, with significant research being published in areas such as health, inequality, population and migration, and peace and justice.
The implications of digital and technological advancement – such as how and where new technologies are applied - are also an important focus for our journals portfolio. To solve many of today’s global challenges and future quandaries we’re going to need clever engineering and continually advancing technologies, driven by broad research collaborations in science. But alongside that, we also need to think carefully about the economic, management and policy implications of these technologies, the psychology behind them, and their wide-ranging impact on humankind.”
How has the portfolio developed in recent years?
Our HSS portfolio has grown significantly, even in the few years since we became Springer Nature. We have approximately 600 English language HSS journals and 50 German language titles, published across imprints: Springer, Palgrave Macmillan and some BMC (in Health). Our Springer and Palgrave imprints each draw on over 175 years of publishing history and tradition – but represent different approaches to the Humanities & Social Sciences. Springer has evolved from a mathematical and engineering tradition, while Macmillan has more humanistic roots. It’s been wonderful to see our staff, content and ideas come together since the merger, and the publishing significance of this for our HSS list is profound.
What are the biggest influences on the HSS Journals collection and how important are new journals to your vision?
“We have the third largest global HSS journals portfolio, by title and article numbers. Our titles are run out of our offices in the Americas, in Europe and in Asia. It is important to continue to reinforce our commitment to the wider HSS disciplines, but also to reflect our core strengths, from for example, our leading and diverse Education program, to our strengths in Economics, our large Business portfolio, but also our Behavioral and Health Sciences program and our impressive Philosophy and Ethics list.
Launching new journals is hard work– it requires a developed idea (proposal), a sustainable research presence, a significant pipeline of new submissions and content, and attracting and building up new audiences. We already do a lot of this work to advance and develop our existing journals, and while we will continue to launch new journals, this will be selective as our priority for now is building on what we already have - which is a large body of trusted and influential work.
This year, we’ve been reviewing our existing portfolio with fresh eyes and identifying which titles have the greatest potential for growth and impact. It’s important that our existing journals continue to adapt to changing research and publishing environments, and where valid new opportunities arise – we seize them.
We also need to think carefully about how we resource journals as they expand to cover new areas, and ensure we have the right expertise in our editorial structures to best serve and engage the wider research community. Attracting new work and publishing special issues is already an important aspect of our editorial strategy.
How important is Open Access to Springer Nature’s HSS Portfolio?
“Approximately 7% of our HSS journal portfolio is pure Open Access, and a large majority of our titles are hybrid. With its growing importance to researchers, it’s vital that as a publisher we respond to demand for OA publications. But developments such as Plan S also present fundamental challenges to the HSS community, as the current lack of available funding across much of our space, does not allow for the easy payment of APCs.
That said, there are several areas in the HSS portfolio where we’ve been able to make good progress with Open Access. Today, we have almost 50 pure OA titles that are publishing valuable work. And within our hybrid environment, some of our journals are seeing reasonable uptake of the open access option. The hybrid model is very important for us, and we believe it represents the best way forward for HSS subjects. One of our broad-based OA journals is Palgrave Communications, which we have plans to grow. Its remit is large – the entire HSS domain!
What’s unique about the Springer Nature HSS portfolio?
“We use similar services and publish in similar ways to a number of our competitors, but one of our main differentiators is putting the author at the center of what we do by providing a best-in-class author service. There are aspects of this service that are unique – including SharedIt - which lets authors share a unique link of an article they’ve published with Springer Nature, enabling the recipient to access the full text of the paper online. The innovations we’re making with our new emerging Peer Review System, and indeed our review of the entire Submit to Accept Workflow, along with our title development planning are fundamental to our aspiration to be best in class.
Of course equally important are our readers and the libraries providing content access to the research community. ‘HSS’ as a term encompasses an incredibly wide range of subject matter, disciplines and communities, and as one of the largest publishers of HSS content, our goal is to provide rich diversity within our collections. Our collection spans the entire breadth of HSS disciplines, so with increasing importance placed on inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary research, we are very well placed to help academics and practitioners.