Pillars of Sustainable Publishing: Supporting research and education across Africa

The Source
By: Guest contributor, Tue Jul 5 2022

Author: Guest contributor

There are many big challenges facing the world and societies today and Springer Nature is committed to creating a sustainable business to help tackle them. This not only means using technology to open up research and accelerate solutions to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) but doing so in a manner that is ethical and responsible, and that supports people in a fair and impartial way.

This post explores how we’re working with partners to support research and education initiatives across Africa – as highlighted in our Sustainable Business Report 2021.

In delivering our vision to address urgent challenges and contribute positively to the research, education and professional communities that we work with, Springer Nature partners with others, as well as making direct contributions to causes that align with our aims.

We want to do more to support research and researchers on the continent of Africa by making scientific research more accessible and helping researchers to communicate their science and make sense of the latest insights. 

This led to the launch – with a consortium of university partners – of Nature Africa, a digital magazine that reports on scientific research and issues of science policy across the African continent. In various parts of the world – including countries across Africa – we also donate textbooks, equipment and pulp for recycled paper. 

Below we take a closer look at a couple of examples from our Sustainable Business Report 2021 of how we’re serving the communities we work with across Africa.

Enhancing research communication skills

In 2021, in a partnership between Nature, Nature Africa and Afroscientric, editors from Nature magazine held a workshop on sharing and communicating scientific discoveries for young researchers from across Africa.

For many years, Nature had supported grants to enable talented researchers to travel to conferences so that they could share their work and hear from other leading researchers in their field and others,” explained Nature Editor-in-Chief Magdalena Skipper. “When the pandemic hit and such travel stopped we looked to other ways in which we could help early career researchers from Africa in developing their skills and experience further.

The result was a three-hour workshop with Nature editors, who explained what they look for to communicate science accurately and effectively, whether through words or imagery. They all shared tips for writing high quality research papers, spoke about what editors look for when they are assessing papers and discussed how to interact with science journalists. They also explained why good science communication is so important.

From my experience doing research in Africa and interacting with scientists on the continent, the ability to share and communicate scientific discoveries remains one of the most sought-after skills, especially in early career researchers,” said Dr Ify Aniebo, co-founder of Afroscientric and a molecular geneticist who studies malaria resistance in Nigeria. 

As a result, the Nature/Afroscientric training was an insightful and timely event, attended by 80 people from 15 countries, 50% of whom were women.

You can hear more from Dr Ify Aniebo in the first episode of our Science in Africa podcast.

Encouraging behaviour change in South Africa 

The Covid-19 pandemic has made us all more aware than ever of the importance of handwashing. But the need for good hand hygiene goes beyond coronavirus, providing a vital defence against a number of communicable diseases. The issue is a critical concern in South Africa, where children are the most impacted by poor hygiene. 
On Global Handwashing Day 2021, Macmillan Education South Africa launched the book ‘Handwashing Heroes and other stories’ and donated 690,000 books in five provinces. The aim of this storybook was to inspire children to become Handwashing Heroes in their own communities. The virtual launch was attended by representatives from the South African Department of Basic Education, Unilever and Lifebuoy, as well as subject advisers and teachers. 

To go with the Handwashing Heroes book, a bookmark in the form of a ruler was created to support learners and help create awareness of proper hand hygiene. A poster and classroom door label completed the handwashing kit.

“Hand hygiene needs to become part of our everyday life, now and beyond the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Angie Motshekga, Minister of Basic Education. “Handwashing with soap is the easiest and most cost-effective way to save lives. This needs to be practised and prioritised.” 

This post is part of a series to accompany the publication of Springer Nature's Sustainable Business Report 2021. It highlights just a few of the contributions we have made towards some of the SDGs over the past year, and how we continue to build foundations for the future through the continued opening up of research and the building of new partnerships.

Find out more by reading  Springer Nature's Sustainable Business Report 2021.


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: thesource@springernature.com.

Related Tags: