8 logos, 1 name and 1 ethos - 180 years of publishing relevance

Research Publishing
By: Ritu Dhand and Steven Inchcoombe, Tue May 10 2022

Jeff Bezos once said when talking about the lifespan of Amazon, that companies ”tend to be 30-plus years [and it is rare for them to be] hundred-plus years”. Such a statement makes today even more pertinent for us as 180 years ago on the 10th May 1842, a 25 year old Julius Springer set up the Julius Springer Publishing House with just four employees. Whilst a small and relatively young team, they had a clear mission - to bring new discoveries and high quality scientific research to the public. 

From the four person family publishing house it transformed into the second largest academic publisher in the early 1900’s and following the 2015 merger, into the global Springer Nature Group we know today - working with over 100,000 external academic editors, and now with 9000+ staff across 200 offices, located in 50 countries across the globe. Yet despite the growth, changes to name and company structure, one thing hasn’t changed across our 180 years - our publishing ethos.

From its origins in political caricatures and treatises, to its growth into journals and books in engineering, natural sciences and then medicine publishing the likes of Albert Einstein – Springer has always been passionate about the new, focused on: advancing knowledge; adapting to change; and bringing innovative ideas and concepts to the production and dissemination of research whilst ensuring we play a supportive and valuable role to the community.

Over its 180 years Springer: 

  • has paved the way in digitalization and discoverability, building and launching one of the earliest online information services dedicated to scientific research - LINK (today SpringerLink);
  • pioneered models and approach towards e-books and access and was the first publisher to digitise its entire back catalogue which included over 120,000 book titles published since the 1840’s to present day;
  • has been at the cutting edge of research, and following the acquisition of BMC in the mid 2000’s Springer launched SpringerOpen and established one of the first OA book programmes, making the publisher at the time, not only the largest OA publisher but also the one pioneering sustainable routes to OA for all;
  • streamlined publishing models to better support authors and editors by setting up and co-founding the “Scientific Publishing Services” - a service provider for publisher focusing on production and copy editing - becoming an industry model followed by others for more effective digital publishing;
  • has remained an active voice with a social mission – From Julius Springer’s work to improve copyright law at the German Booksellers Association in the 1840’s to its championing of Open Access policies and sustainable publishing routes today via active engagement with the community, policy and organisational bodies, as well as through Springboard, the publisher’s open research blog.

Two centuries of progress and advancement in science, education and society have shaped the Springer of today. We now have one of the strongest STM and HSS eBooks collections and archives working with over 100,000 external academic editors, publish over 2,900 journals and 300,000 books, and enable access to over 14,900,000 pieces of research available via our SpringerLink site. We continue to publish the highest quality research with over 200 Nobel Prize winners amongst our authors, and our eBooks on average receive over 8000 downloads and 40+ citations during the first year of publication.

As the research landscape continues to change, we’re more determined than ever to support the community in knowledge discovery by investing in the new formats, tools and platforms that provide the most comprehensive variety of research to today’s generation, and help authors share their knowledge with the next generation. We remain incredibly proud of the role that we can play in the advancement of science and grateful to the many incredible authors, editors and researchers that we have the privilege to work with, who sit at the very heart of who we are and what we do. Thank you for the last 180 years, here’s to the next.

Ritu and Steven

Author: Ritu Dhand and Steven Inchcoombe

Ritu Dhand is Chief Scientific Officer at Springer Nature.

Ritu is responsible for representing Springer Nature externally, focusing on promoting and driving external editorial excellence, in partnership with all the journal publishers across Springer and BMC journals. 

Before taking on the role of Chief Scientific Officer in January 2022, Ritu served as Nature Editorial Director, overseeing editorial strategy and management of Nature, Nature Communications and the Nature Research and Review Journals. Ritu studied Genetics at Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London and undertook a masters in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at University College, London.

Steven Inchcoombe is Chief Publishing Officer at Springer Nature.

Steven is responsible for all Springer Nature’s research publishing and editorial activities. Previously Steven was CEO at Nature Publishing Group and President of Scientific American. Prior to that Steven was Publisher at the Financial Times, led ft.com and spent 10 years in a variety of roles at financial database business IDC ultimately responsible for the company’s strategy. Steven was awarded a scholarship to Merton College, Oxford, where he read Physics and later qualified as a chartered accountant with PWC.

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