“Springer Storytellers” launched to empower authors, humanize research

New website features the real life stories of researchers and discussions on storytelling in communications

New York | Heidelberg, 30 April 2015

Springer has launched “Springer Storytellers,” a project to help its authors tell their personal stories about being researchers via a new website, beforetheabstract.com. The site is open and accessible to the public.

Springer has partnered with The Story Collider to host events throughout the year where researchers get on stage and tell their true, personal stories in front of a live audience. These 10-minute talks are recorded as podcasts and appear on the new website alongside written submissions from other scientists. The Story Collider pioneered these live events and has been holding them for more than four years, and has now joined with Springer to bring these events to the publisher's community of authors.

The site will also feature pieces on how to craft a narrative, and storytelling’s place in scientific communications, through posts from outside contributors and Springer staff. All of this is being done to help researchers communicate wider and more effectively about their work.

Alex Brown of Springer Corporate Communications, one of the project’s architects, said, “Since the beginning of civilization humans have used narrative to make meaning and pass on information. As the need grows for researchers to engage in dialogue with audiences outside of their immediate circles – with funders, policy makers or the general public – they can benefit from learning how to use storytelling to connect. And that is really the goal of Springer Storytellers: human connection.”

“It is important for us to constantly offer new tools for our authors, especially to amplify the impact of their research,” remarked Sarah Garfunkel of Springer Author & Partner Marketing and Services, the other half of the Springer Storytellers team. “This kind of practical skill development is not necessarily part of the formal training our authors receive, so we wanted a way to bring storytelling to this community.”

The response from audience members and storytellers alike has been overwhelmingly positive.

“In our field, an event like this where people open up and do so in a very understandable, presentation-quality manner, is extremely rare,” said Dr. Kaspar von Braun, astrophysicist at Lowell Observatory and speaker on the website’s first featured podcast. “In my opinion, this should be done a lot more. You don’t just go into astronomy, or any science, really, in a boring or predictable way, so there are bound to be lots of good and excellent stories.”

Another Springer Storyteller, Dr. Uzma Z. Rizvi, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Urban Studies at Pratt Institute of Art and Design, added, "More and more there is a separation between academic researchers and the public. Storytelling develops empathy and allows our research to be in, and of, the world. I think it is important to come back to what makes us human – people need a way to feel like they are still in it together.”

The new website began posting content two weeks ago and has already seen an impressive number of visitors. It is a unique offering that Springer is hoping enriches the way research is communicated. For more information or to hear these stories, visit beforetheabstract.com

Springer Science+Business Media (www.springer.com) is a leading global scientific, technical and medical publisher, providing researchers in academia, scientific institutions and corporate R&D departments with quality content via innovative information products and services. Springer is also a trusted local-language publisher in Europe – especially in Germany and the Netherlands – primarily for physicians and professionals working in healthcare and road safety education. Springer published roughly 2,400 English-language journals and more than 9,000 new books in 2014, and the group is home to the world’s largest STM eBook collection, as well as the most comprehensive portfolio of open access journals. In 2014, Springer Science+Business Media generated sales of approximately EUR 959 million. The group employs some 8,500 individuals across the globe.

More information

Before the Abstract

About The Story Collider

Contact

Alexander K. Brown