Author services, Issue 7 March 2011

SpringerBriefs: A New Way to Publish from Springer

SpringerBriefs is a new publishing initiative that allows authors to produce concise summaries of cutting-edge research, policy initiatives and practical applications in a format that incorporates elements of both journal articles and books. Comprised of compact volumes of 50 to 125 pages, SpringerBriefs cover topics across a variety of subject areas, including Business and Economics, Computer Science, Human and Behavioral Sciences, Life Sciences, Mathematics and the Physical Sciences. SpringerBriefs are published as part of Springer’s eBook collection and are made available to millions of users worldwide via SpringerLink. The print versions are offered in are also available through MyCopy, Springer’s print on demand service for eBooks.

Author Zone spoke to Nick Philipson, Editorial Director, Business, Economics & Statistics (US) and a member of the SpringerBriefs Steering Committee, during a break in his SpringerBriefs road show to present the new product line to colleagues in several Springer locations.

What prompted the decision to introduce SpringerBriefs?

We were sensing a need among authors and customers for a new vehicle through which research could be presented. Traditional methods of publishing (i.e., journal articles and monographs) can take a long time to develop and publish. This means that the window of opportunity to communicate “hot” new ideas or discoveries as they emerged was potentially being missed.

A team of colleagues, led by Paul Manning, Executive Vice President Computer Science, and with editorial representatives from all of our STM publishing units, was formed, and began working on an idea that would allow authors to publish research much more quickly. Building on our experience, we worked closely with advisors from other areas, including marketing, sales, contracts administration, production, and operations to develop an initiative that would “plug” the research gap. Now the SpringerBriefs publishing model is available to authors across almost all of our subject areas, from microbiology to political science.

How do SpringerBriefs differ from other methods of publishing research?

SpringerBriefs offer a flexible medium for authors to communicate their ideas. With traditional publishing models, authors can be restricted as to what they can write and how it can be structured; for example, journals often mandate very strict content and presentation guidelines, and require several rounds of revision before an article is accepted, while at the other end of the spectrum, a full-scale monograph requires a significant investment in time.

Everything about the Briefs is designed to streamline development and publication timelines, while reinforcing our high standards of editorial quality. Series editors and advisory boards have been established to recommend and review projects. To help authors publish a Brief, Springer has prepared easy-to-use guidelines for manuscript preparation and formatting, as well as introducing standard publishing contracts, terms and expedited publishing schedules. Authors can expect their Briefs to be published within 8-12 weeks of acceptance of the final manuscript.

What key benefits will SpringerBriefs offer to both authors and end-users?

For authors, Briefs provide the opportunity to present new ideas and concepts in a relatively flexible format that complements more traditional presentations. For example, we encourage authors to consider Briefs as a medium for experimenting with ideas and getting feedback from colleagues before embarking on a more traditional article or monograph. And because they are primarily an online product, included in our eBook packages via SpringerLink, they reach the same global audience as journals and eBooks.

For end-users, SpringerBriefs present the opportunity to learn about the latest developments in their field of expertise (or other fields) in a concise and engaging format. They provide opportunities to explore new avenues of research, in a relatively short amount of time, and because they adhere the same editorial standards as other Springer publications, users can be confident that they are of the highest quality.

Under what circumstances might an author choose to publish a Brief?

Depending on the context of the particular field, typical scenarios might include:

  • Producing a report on state-of-the-art analytical techniques
  • Providing a bridge between research results published in journal articles and a broader literature review
  • Presenting a snapshot of a hot or emerging topic
  • An in-depth case study or clinical example
  • Introducing core concepts to students

Can any author choose to publish a Brief?

Yes, with the current exception of our Clinical Medicine and Architecture programs. SpringerBriefs have been rolled out across all Springer offices so that authors around the world have the opportunity to explore this new publishing option.

Finally, what is the next step for SpringerBriefs?

We published the first titles at the end of 2010 and we are now building momentum among authors and customers as we increase output across subject areas. We are seeking opportunities to collaborate with societies and institutions to co-brand series. We plan to submit the series to abstracting and indexing services to promote usage and citations. The Steering Committee continues to meet, and we welcome feedback.

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