Our approach

In 2020, we saw exceptional scientific advances and the rapid dissemination of knowledge around the world. The COVID‑19 pandemic affected all our lives and showed the importance of a research ecosystem that can operate at its most efficient, with researchers working hard to understand and fight the disease, and then sharing findings rapidly in both preprints and peer-reviewed papers.

At Springer Nature, we believe that research and education play a vital role in accelerating solutions to societal challenges. We use the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to help us consider our potential impacts on society – both positive and negative – and how we manage them. The content we publish makes a positive difference to the world around us.

  • 3,000+ journals
  • 370,000+ new research articles
  • 124,000+ new open access articles
  • 13,000+ new books
  • 100 new series of education textbooks, used by more than 30 million+ students

How Springer Nature has an impact on the SDGs

We use the SDGs to help us consider our potential impacts – both positive and negative – and how we manage them in our business operations.

Supporting and amplifying

Our books, journals and magazines share the latest findings on the challenges of sustainable development. We are committed to opening up research and have published studies that demonstrate that research published via gold (immediate) open access (OA) has increased societal impact.

Innovating

We create opportunities to connect research with those who need it to advance progress – including policymakers and practitioners – by building on the convening power of brands such as Nature and Scientific American.

Acting sustainably

We model best practice, live up to our corporate value of responsibility and learn from the research we publish by acting to minimise climate change and environmental impacts in our operations and supply chain.

Our Focus SDGs

We publish research across all areas of the SDGs
SDG 4: Quality Education

Quality Education

We amplify sustainability research, sharing it widely, so that it can have maximum impact within the research community, for our own employees, and in wider society.

Target: 4.7

SDG 13: Climate Action

Climate Action

We play our part in climate action by publishing the latest climate research, managing our operational impacts and will become a carbon neutral company by the end of 2020.

Target: 13.3

SDG 17: Partnerships For The Goals

Partnerships for the Goals

We are a leader in open access, connecting researchers, policymakers and practitioners who are collaborating to solve the world’s greatest challenges.

Target: 17.6

Our operations also have an impact on:

  • SDG 5: Gender Equality
  • SDG 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
  • SDG 10: Reducing Inequalities
  • SDG 15: Life on Land

Case study

Supporting the research community during a global pandemic

In January 2020, it became clear that a new virus was rapidly spreading. Scientists, researchers and clinicians around the world united in an effort to understand, treat and control the outbreak. With urgency, Springer Nature invoked its own emergency protocol for a Public Health Emergency of International Concern – before one was officially declared by the World Health Organization – and began making thousands of relevant research articles free to access via a dedicated coronavirus content hub.

We signed the Wellcome Trust’s statement on Sharing research data and findings relevant to the novel coronavirus outbreak, ensuring that researchers worldwide could access vital emerging findings.

In just 12 months, we published over 70,000 relevant articles and book chapters and published more than 24,000 new COVID‑19 research articles. By enabling researchers to find, access and understand the latest science, we disseminated crucial knowledge and accelerated urgent discovery.

Microscopic view of a virus

“The COVID‑19 pandemic…has been an international call to arms for the scientific and medical communities. The collaborative nature of the response has generated impactful results with unprecedented speed.”

Maia Norma, MD/PhD student, Brigham and Women’s Hospital at Harvard Medical School, USA and Nature Biomedical Engineering author
  • 24,000 new COVID‑19 articles published and 70,000 COVID-related articles made free
  • Press releases on 92 COVID‑19 research papers generated over 36,500 news stories based on peer-reviewed science
  • Average monthly traffic to nature.com almost doubled to 7.3 million in 2020
  • Nature YouTube channel hit 20 million views in 2020 – 8 million more than the previous year
  • The daily Nature Briefing news roundup reached over 2.3 million subscribers
  • Nature launched Coronapod, a weekly news show dedicated to the pandemic. Its 19 episodes were listened to over 1.2 million times

Case study

Supporting our colleagues

As COVID‑19 began to spread around the world, our first priority was the safety of our employees. We acted with urgency, creating a simple but effective colour code system to communicate new working from home arrangements and business travel restrictions for each of our locations and closing offices when necessary. We also set up dedicated COVID‑19 pages on our intranet to provide instant access to the most relevant and up-to-date information. Most colleagues were able to rapidly move to remote working, with great adaptability and dedication to our customers.

As the crisis escalated, we developed new initiatives to best support our people, whatever their circumstances. We provided equipment for home offices and introduced additional flexible support for parents and carers, including reduced working hours and additional holiday. Our CEO Frank Vrancken Peeters and executive team shared regular updates and hosted webinars and informal virtual coffee breaks to bring colleagues together.

A major concern of colleagues was to understand how our future working practices would evolve once the pandemic is over. By the end of the summer, we had created a set of ‘new normal’ working policies to combine the ‘best of both worlds’. This will allow more flexible home working options, a ‘virtual-first’ approach to meetings, reduced business travel and a new vision for how we will use our offices.

We regularly ask how people are coping and respond to issues swiftly. A recent employee survey showed 90% felt satisfied with our crisis response and 86% supported our ‘new normal’ approach.

CEO, Frank Vrancken Peeters, hosts an informal virtual coffee break with colleagues around the world.

Case study

The ocean in humanity’s future

Research published in Springer Nature’s journals addresses some of the biggest challenges expressed in the SDGs. We believe it is vital to communicate the outcomes clearly and with a wide public, especially where it may have policy implications. Special collections and immersive features, making use of clear graphics and multimedia content such as videos and podcasts, can really bring important research to life, increasing its impact in society.

In 2018, 14 world leaders, collectively representing nearly 40% of the world’s coastlines, 20% of the world’s fisheries and 20% of the world’s shipping fleets, came together to create the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy (the Ocean Panel). The Ocean Panel’s aim, under the leadership of the Prime Minister of Norway, Erna Solberg, and the President of Palau, was to develop a research-based policy and action agenda for the ocean that embodies effective protection, sustainable production and equitable prosperity. To do this the Ocean Panel commissioned over 250 researchers and policy and legal experts to synthesise knowledge on the state of the ocean and to deliver opportunities for action, documented in a series of Blue Papers and Special Reports.

Over two years, editors from the Nature Portfolio worked closely with the Ocean Panel and this large body of researchers, robustly reviewing adaptations of some of the Blue Papers for publication in Nature journals.

In 2020, we were proud to publish a special collection of these Blue Papers across the Nature Portfolio, as well as an accessible and immersive feature sharing the outcomes for a wider audience, and a world view from Erna Solberg. In its first two months, the feature was visited more than 5,300 times, and a podcast, recorded with Solberg, was listened to by more than 50,000 people.

Based on the evidence drawn out in the research papers, the 14 world leaders have committed to the sustainable management of 100% of their national waters by 2025. In so doing, they have set the stage for greater political engagement with the ocean that could bring benefits to all.

Hear more about the research in this podcast featuring Erna Solberg talking with Philip Campbell, Editor in Chief of Springer Nature.

Give it 100% goes global map

“Rarely has scientific research been so keenly sought by political leaders, or so readily accepted as the basis for policy.”

Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway

Taking industry action on the SDGs

In 2020, Springer Nature was an early signatory of the SDG Publishers Compact, an industry initiative in collaboration with the UN, to be part of the decade of action and contribute to delivery of the SDGs.

Find out more on the Springboard blog

Case study

Driving global impact

We work to recognise and support researchers who are making a difference on issues of global importance.

In 2020, the Nature Research Award for Driving Global Impact, in partnership with Tencent, was given to global health researcher Josh Vogel. His work addresses challenges in maternal and newborn health, such as how to prevent preterm births (babies born before 37 weeks of gestation) and centre maternal care around women’s experiences.

Read more about Josh’s work.

Shiva Goudar - Before COVID‑19, global-health researcher Joshua Vogel (sixth from left) would meet his international collaborators, helping them to set up trials and conduct site visits at hospitals.