Newsletter | 12.10.2013

In the Spotlight: Oncology & Hematology

Introducing Richard Lansing, Editorial Director, Clinical Medicine

I am an Editorial Director in New York. I manage a group that acquires Clinical Medicine book content, although we still manage a few journals as well. I have been in various areas of publishing for 25 years. I joined Springer in 2006 when it acquired Humana Press, where I was an Executive Editor since 2002.
In my group we are acquiring content across the full range of therapeutic areas, including surgery, radiology, oncology, endocrinology, neurology, and all other specialties and subspecialties where patient care occurs. We focus on acquiring content that will be of value to academic physicians and community-based physicians as well.

This year we will publish 182 titles and acquire about 200 new publishing agreements. There are 14 outstanding staff members in my group.

Where is Springer's strenght in Oncology & Hematology?

Breadth, depth, and quality characterize our content in oncology and hematology. Springer publishes books and journals across the entire spectrum of oncology, from basic science to clinical content and is a strong publishing presence in the field. In oncology we publish the American Joint Committee on Cancer Staging Manual and its smaller, more concise AJCC Cancer Staging Handbook, two gold standard products that are relied on by a range of health providers who treat patients with cancer. In the oncology book program there is depth in the areas of medical oncology, breast cancer, drug treatment, lung cancer, surgical oncology, dermatology, and epidemiology and prevention. In my group, none of this would be possible without the Springer editors who work diligently with many of the leading physicians and physician-scientists from around the world whom we are fortunate to count among our authors and editors (the Springer staff in New York managing oncology are Senior Editor Shelley Reinhardt and Rebekah Amos, Editor. In hematology, it is Valentina Tursini, Editor).

In regard to hematologic malignancies, the main thrust of clinical research is moving toward “personalized medicine” where genetic data or other information is used to tailor treatment to a patient in a very targeted manner, leading to optimal clinical outcomes. Our books are trying to achieve the challenging goal of providing a comprehensive review of the status of the clinical understanding of hematologic diseases while at the same time offering an individualized approach to diagnosis and therapy through case studies.

What is important to buil up a publishing program of interest to your community?

To build a program that appeals to our various clinician target audiences, we need an understanding of the educational interests and gaps that physicians have in all the areas in which we publish; then we must have smart, talented, aggressive acquisitions editors who have a basic, solid understanding of the clinical area and the disorders and patient-presentation and treatment issues surrounding those disorders. This allows editors to communicate better with prospective authors and editors and enhances their chances of acquiring book projects. It all comes down to establishing relationships – working hard to build them with leading academic physicians and using those relationships to explore and develop content that works for the broader community in that clinical field.

From your perspective what developments over the last years would you rate positive or negative in the Oncology & Hematology area?

New pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic treatments, outcomes reporting, meta-analyses studies, and basic science advancements have led to greatly improved diagnosis and treatment for patients with cancer and blood disorders. This is the case at all levels -- adult, adolescent and pediatric.

These advancements have impacted oncology especially and have translated into many more people surviving cancer. As a result, the unique health care requirements of these patients are receiving increased attention. Interestingly, we have an established presence in cancer survivorship publishing and are in a strong position to meet the growing information needs in this area. Hematology is one of the areas of medicine that has progressed the most in recent years and emerging areas of subspecialty emphasis offer new opportunities. For example, the field of bone marrow stem cell transplantation is emerging as a separate subspecialty due, in part, to the acuteness of care provided.

What kind of background do your Authors have?

Our authors are primarily medical doctors (MDs) or MD/PhDs. Occasionally we will have a PhD author or editor but that person usually is paired with an MD co-editor. The majority of our authors and editors are affiliated with leading academic institutions where they teach, treat patients, and conduct research. A smaller number of our authors and editors work in the private sector, such as in solo or group practices, in community hospitals, or sometimes in pharmaceutical or biotech companies.

When you talk to them, what are they complaining about? (And how does Springer address these concerns)

Time to market is a major concern in oncology and hematology. The basic science that underlies how cancer patients are diagnosed and treated moves so quickly that the traditional book publishing model is struggling now to be as responsive as needed. Springer’s solution, evolving in our group right now, is to adopt an “online first” publishing approach: once approved by a book’s volume editor, a chapter is immediately published online rather than held for the arrival of all the other chapters. You can see this model in action now on and, soon, in Springer Protocols; we hope to launch this approach on SpringerLink in 2013 with the new, multi-volume edition of Atlas of Cancer edited by Maurie Markman, MD, and new and revised volumes in the Current Clinical Oncology series, for which Dr. Markman also serves as editor.

In hematology, some of the major publications in the field, especially reference works, focus a great deal on laboratory tests and exams rather than on a holistic approach and interpretation of the discipline. Hematologists believe that the discipline of hematology has emerged only recently as a primarily clinical specialty; for decades, hematology had been considered a purely laboratory subject. We are committed to closing this gap by publishing books that provide a wider interpretation with clinical input and expertise.

How do you think your program will develop in the future?

We will publish more titles using the “online first” approach; it is an absolute requirement for competing successfully in the oncology book market. In hematology, we have published a range of titles, from cross-disciplinary to very specialized titles; and those with a focus on clinical management are the most successful titles. We will continue to publish these kinds of books and focus on topics that require new material because of the enormous advances taking place. Additionally, as it is expected that the number of hematologists will remain a relatively low percentage of the internal medicine community, we think that both Springer and the treatment community will benefit from producing interdisciplinary titles that target larger cross-over markets (for example, fertility preservation for cancer survivors, coagulation disorders and pregnancy issues, and cancer treatment–related rheumatic disorders).

T-Cell Lymphomas, edited by Dr. Francine Foss from the Yale School of Medicine, will publish at the end of this year as part of our successful Contemporary Hematology series. The series is published under the Humana Press imprint and is led by Dr. Judith Karp of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins University. Forthcoming standalone publications in Hematology include Neoplastic Diseases of the Blood, edited by Dr. Peter Wiernik et al. Now in its fifth edition, this classic text is recognized as the definitive reference on this topic.

How important to your program are society partnerships and collaboration? Can you provide us with a few examples?

Society partnerships are extremely important for our program. The revenue that stems from these society-related products – journals and books – is very good, and the prestige that comes from these partnerships leads to greater visibility for Springer and other journal and book publishing opportunities, both society and non-society in nature. I’ve already mentioned our partnership with the American Joint Committee on Cancer. Publishing their flagship products has led not only to excellent revenue but also book projects from physician-editors or authors who recognize us as an experienced and prominent publisher for cancer-related topics.

The same is true for our relationship with the American Society of Colorectal Surgeons (ASCRS) and the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES). The ASCRS is a prestigious society of colorectal surgeons. The Springer program in Surgery benefits from this relationship as we publish both the ASCRS Textbook of Colorectal Surgery and The ASCRS Manual of Colorectal Surgery. Both volumes are highly successful and new editions are planned every 4 years. The ASCRS’s membership awareness of Springer has resulted in the acquisition of other volumes in Colorectal Surgery. The Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons is a prestigious society of surgeons. Springer publishes their official journal, Surgical Endoscopy. The book program benefits from the regular publishing of SAGES Manuals, which are highly successful in sales. Other societies with an awareness of our partnership and publications with both the ASCRS and SAGES have approached Springer to propose projects whereby they are looking for a similar relationship. For example, we soon will be publishing a two volume set for the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS).

Additional examples include our relationship with the Neurocritical Care Society, for whom we publish their bi-monthly journal, Neurocritical Care. That has also led to a range of other successful book projects in the last nine years. A final example of a strong partnership is our relationship with The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, world renowned for its leadership in patient care, research, education, and prevention. We have two book series affiliated with them – the MD Anderson Cancer Care series and MD Anderson Solid Tumor Oncology series. The books in these series are profitable, well-received in the community, and the arrangement provides a consistent flow of material into the program and thus into Springerlink.