Maybe you’re avidly following the news cycle and working on an urgent project. Or maybe you’re trying to avoid feeling overwhelmed by near constant updates, and seeking resources to help you find a better balance in a new work routine. Springer Nature is working to support the research community as best we can at this time and we are also trying to maintain a sense of normality in our own lives as well. In this post Editorial Director, Tamsine O'Riordan, shares how she and her team of Social Science editors are approaching a new remote work dynamic, and how authors can best stay connected with our Publishing staff, plus how the pandemic can be considered through a social science lens.
Written by Tamsine O'Riordan, Editorial Director, Social Science Books
As the Editorial Director for Social Science books at Palgrave Macmillan I’m really proud of how my team of Publishers, Editors and Assistants are managing to continue our work during the Covid-19 pandemic. They’re bringing incredible levels of energy and resilience that allow us to continue our mission to publish the leading global social science research, from living rooms, home-offices and kitchen tables across the world!
We’re working hard to stay in touch with each other; we have online team meetings and a team chatroom that is meant to replicate the experience of sharing office spaces – the rule is that you can’t talk about work, although the phrase “we should probably find a book on this” has been typed more than once!
However, being part of the largest scholarly book publisher in the world we are lucky to be able to draw on strong technological infrastructure, and have access to robust online video-conferencing services that allow us to arrange virtual conference meetings. We’re also investing more time in social media outreach and other ideas to recreate the author/publisher in-person meetings. Crucially, as we adjust to less travel we’re spending more time curating our programmes and creating longer-term projects and proactive commissions, including major reference works and cutting-edge new series.
There are multiple ways we will all experience and respond to the crises and particularly to social (we prefer “physical”) distancing and the global lockdowns; as a mother of two young children I particularly feel the changes increased care labour creates. For myriad reasons, for many people there simply isn’t the time or mental capacity to think about new book ideas or finalizing their manuscript. However for those authors who find they are able and feel keenly the social imperative of publishing their research during this time who are looking for ways to stay connected or get in touch with a publisher during this time, you can:
For our readers, Springer Nature moved fast to release a huge amount of content related to COVID-19 for free. The initial focus has been on biological and medical science but with titles such as Pandemics, Publics and Politics we plan to increase the social science content to support a wider understanding of the crises. We have commissioned new responses from social scientists for our Social Science Matters Campaign blog on health security and Coronavirus and “free time”, with more to follow soon.
Whilst we’re part of a company that publishes the most essential biological and medical research, it’s hard for us not to see the pandemic through an intersectional, social science lens: from the gendered nature of care labour, a reported severe rise in domestic violence during lockdown, strategies for maintaining wellbeing and good mental health, behavioral science approaches to the use of masks and other (non)compliance with regulations, the impact on incarcerated individuals, inequalities in access to health care, and race-based experiences of the pandemic. In an article by Gillian Tett in the FT, Christo Lynteris notes that “epidemics should be understood not just as biological events but also as social processes,” with Tett arguing “to put it another way, beating Covid-19 will not just require medical science, but a dose of social science too.” So, we’ll continue to act with patience and understanding to make sure we’re being mindful of what we’re asking of our authors and readers during these tough days, but plan to balance this against our firm belief that the pandemic urgently needs a crucial understanding of individual and group behavior, and that we need to be on-hand to ensure social science research continues to be published.
About Tamsine O'Riordan