We recently had the chance to chat with Louisa Flintoft, the new Editorial Director for Submissions—which includes responsibility of the Transfer Desk. Dr. Flintoft holds a Ph.D. in Developmental Genetics, and has worked across Springer Nature, which positions her well for a role spanning the entire Springer Nature group.
The Transfer Desk provides a proactive service to authors who have not been successful with their initial choice of journal, by helping them to find a good fit for their paper.
We do not just provide authors with a list of journals to which they could choose to resubmit their paper. We have a large team of people who have subject area expertise and are highly trained to help authors maximize the chance of getting their paper published in a journal that suits their individual needs.
Something I feel passionately about is the need to reduce waste in publishing.
Researchers spend huge amounts of time deciding which journal to submit to, formatting their manuscript, writing cover letters, filling in submission forms, and so on. Often, a paper is submitted to multiple journals in succession only to be declined for reasons of scope or interest level. Think of the many hours that researchers spend on this, when they could be, say, conducting studies or developing new theories that could lead to a breakthrough in knowledge.
The Transfer Desk aims to eliminate some of this waste. We have expert submissions advisers who work with authors to identify good matches between papers and journals. This reduces the likelihood that a paper will be rejected multiple times and frees up researcher time for the activities that really matter to them, and ultimately to society.
It also accelerates the process from submission to publication, meaning that research findings are made available as quickly as possible.
I did a Ph.D. in developmental genetics, followed by postdoctoral research working on fruit flies as a simple model of how nervous systems develop. I’ve been working in publishing for 17 years, and my roles have included Chief Editor of Nature Reviews Genetics and subsequently of Genome Biology. More recently, I was Executive Editor for the BMC Flagship journals and the BMC Series. I have found my publishing career endlessly engaging and rewarding as it has spanned such a wide range of scientific and biomedical disciplines, both Open Access and Subscription publishing, and both primary research and commissioned content.
In the near term, I want to make the already excellent service that we provide even better. Part of this will be better understanding what is most important to our authors, which will likely vary from case to case: it could be the audience of the journal, journal quality metrics, the speed of editorial decision making and publication, or other factors. There may be regional factors that mean that, for example, researchers in China have different requirements from those in Europe.
We will work to understand these diverse needs and offer a service that is as tailored as possible to individual researchers.
In the longer term, I would love to eliminate the need for transfers altogether by providing a service that authors can use before they even submit their manuscript to a journal, enabling them to find a good fit right from the start.
The biggest challenge is also a huge opportunity:
Springer Nature publishes around 3,000 journals in all areas of science, technology, medicine, humanities, social science and more. The journals are diverse in many ways, including whether they are open access or subscription, broad versus narrow scope, and how selective they are, to name but a few. So we have an incredible variety of choice that we can offer authors.
The challenge is how to make the connections between these journals to identify the submission paths that are going to most appeal to the authors and give them the best possible chance of publication. We can do this by working closely with both our colleagues within Springer Nature, and the academic editors who are the decision makers on many of our journals, to ensure that we fully understand the potential relationships between journals and can therefore assist authors in the most helpful way.
The Transfer Desk is Springer Nature’s manuscript transfer service, which provides you with the convenient option to resubmit your manuscript to a more suitable journal if it is rejected.