Society & Partner Zone Issue 15, Regional Highlights

Springer in Korea

Growing Research Output from Society Partners in Korea

Society & Partner Zone spoke to JB Park, Country Director for Springer Korea and Mark de Jongh, Senior Publishing Editor, to find out about the latest Springer office and how it is supporting and growing research output from society partners in Korea.

What is the main focus of the Korean office? When was it established?

The Korean office was established in 2005 with the main focus of establishing a sales, marketing and editorial presence in the region.

In 2006, work began on our editorial program as both JB Park and Liesbeth Mol, Editorial Director, met frequently with Korean Societies to discuss co-publishing opportunities. Our first agreement was signed in 2007 with the Korean Institute of Chemical Engineers to co-publish their journal, Korean Journal of Chemical Engineering.

Soon after this initial signing, we found that other Societies were interested in collaborating with us. Today, we are proud to say that we co-publish 40 journals with our Korean partners.

How many are in the team? Who are the key contacts and what are their roles?

Based in Korea we have:

JB Park, Country Director for Springer Korea - JB Park was instrumental in the development and growth of the publishing program in Korea. He now focuses on our sales drive but still advises and manages the publishing program from a local perspective.

Ellen Seo, Production Process Controller - Ellen coordinates all editorial and production activities with our Societies and provides advice and support on all aspects of the production process. She also facilitates communication between society partners and Springer’s publishing editors and production teams.

Ray Kim, Senior Sales Executive - Ray is our senior sales executive and supports JB Park in our sales activities.

Kelly Ko, Office Manager - Kelly is responsible for the day-to-day running of the Seoul office and also provides sales support.

Outside Korea we have:

Mark de Jongh - our dedicated coordinator for the Korean publishing program, Mark is based in Dordrecht, Netherlands. He is also working to launch and grow the Korean book program. Korea is recognized internationally as being a strong player in Physical Sciences & Engineering and we see great potential for book publishing in these areas.

Cindy Zitter – also based in Dordrecht, Cindy is a senior assistant and helps Mark with the day-to-day publishing activities.

Philipp Kammerer – Based in Heidelberg, Germany Philipp takes care of all our production related issues.

Ulrike Graiff – also in Heidelberg, Ulrike is our Society Marketing Manager, responsible for promoting our society publishing program to customers around the world.

What particular challenges have you experienced in publishing content from Korea?

Language remains a key challenge, although we work with our societies and authors to help them overcome this. In this respect, the Springer Seoul office provides great support in mediating between Society authors and journal editors and Springer’s publishing editors.

A further challenge is encouraging authors to submit papers to journals that are not yet well established. Academics in Korea are very focused in publishing their work in ISI ranked journals. This of course is very important for them as it influences their reputation, their careers, funding, etc. However, to raise a journal’s impact factor rating, articles need to be discoverable to be cited so it’s really about managing expectations. Most of our Society partners are keen to know what effect publishing with Springer will have on their journal’s Impact Factor rating. Whilst we cannot and do not promise that we can influence this rating, we try to demonstrate how publishing with Springer and taking advantage of our vast distribution networks and publishing capabilities, can positively impact their journal’s discoverability, increase its usage and ultimately improve the chances of being cited.

What are your publication processes? For example, is content published in both the local language and English? How do you ensure that the content is discoverable by the global scientific community?

The Society journals that we co-publish are published in English only. Collaboration is through one of three models: distribution, full production or Open Access. The majority of our partners publish through the distribution model, which means that the Society oversees all editorial and production aspects while Springer distributes the final journal.

Our Korean book program is also starting to gain momentum. To date, the majority of these publications have been in the Physical Sciences and Engineering fields which are areas in which Korea is particularly strong. And as with our journal program, all books are published in the English language, in both electronic and print format.

Have you found that research output is particularly strong for certain subject areas? Are you seeing any particular areas of growth or decline?

In terms of growth, the Physical Sciences & Engineering attracts over 70% of all journal papers, and to date the majority of all new book titles. Additionally, Biology and the Life Sciences are key research areas in Korea. There is also great interest from the corporate market in electronic and communications research, although output from these areas is low as the research is predominately owned by the companies and regarded as confidential.

Scientific research output from Asia has seen a rapid increase over the last decade (e.g. China is now only second to the US with regards to output of scientific papers published in English). What do you think has triggered this increase?

Economic development of the region has fuelled government spending in R & D and academia in certain areas. As is often seen, countries which are undergoing strong economic development grow mainly in the hard sciences first with competition for funding, jobs or places in the best universities also fuelling academic output. Additionally, Korea has no natural resources to export, so our main “export” focus is R & D. As such, there is higher investment in R & D which in turn leads to higher article output.

Have there been any significant developments in the region that you can tell us about? How are libraries in Korea coping with the current economic conditions?

Libraries are suffering from government budget cuts and are of course affected by the global economic downturn. That said the Korean government has invested in a science complex called ‘Science Belt’ which contains basic science research institutes.

Finally, what is the ultimate goal for the team? Do you have any plans to extend the team and the numbers of partners that you work with?

We want to be THE leading international publisher in Korea. To date we have been successful in this mission, co-publishing approximately 40 Society journals.

We want to help our Society partners grow the quality and quantity of their journals. We believe that these journals should be international in scope from both the author, readership and editorial board perspectives, and that they should be included in the leading abstracts & index resources, and achieve strong and growing Impact factors.

With regards to the book program, we are working at building a quality book program and publish annually books from all disciplines, across all formats, in the English language.

Ultimately, we want to publish high quality, valuable content from around the world and make it accessible to the widest possible audience.