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From small Berlin bookshop to large international publishing house

A driving force in academic publishing: Springer celebrates 175 years since its founding

Berlin | Heidelberg | New York, 10 May 2017 

Springer celebrates 175 Years © SpringerScientific publisher Springer is celebrating its 175th company anniversary. The foundations for today’s company were laid on 10 May 1842 when Julius Springer, at the age of 25, opened his bookstore and publishing house in Berlin. His aim was to bring current and accurate scientific findings to the wider public. The publishing house remained a family business for four generations. Now Springer is an international scientific publisher with over 50 locations worldwide, and it belongs to the publishing group Springer Nature.

Initially, the “Julius Springer Publishing House” chiefly published political caricatures and treatises reflecting the spirit of Germany’s Vormärz period, but it also increasingly specialized in literature from the natural sciences and engineering. In 1904, the publishing house began to expand its publications in the field of medicine. Among the numerous renowned Springer authors are names such as Werner von Siemens, Rudolf Diesel, Albert Einstein, Paul Ehrlich, Emil Fischer and Ferdinand Graf Zeppelin. 

After the Second World War, Ferdinand Springer founded a further office for medical and natural science publishing in Heidelberg. In the 1960s Springer began to expand internationally. In 1964, the first office was opened in the USA, in the Flatiron Building in New York. Further offices were opened in London (1973), in Tokyo (1983), in Paris (1985) and in Hong Kong (1986). 

Springer revolutionized the publishing business in the 1990s with its innovative ideas and concepts. In the summer of 1996, it set another milestone in the long company history and steered the course for the future. As one of the pioneers of digitalization, Springer presented the online platform LINK (today SpringerLink) which allows scientific publications to be purchased and read online. 

“As part of Springer Nature we are very forward-thinking, but we never lose sight of the Springer tradition,” explains Derk Haank, CEO at Springer Nature, the key to the success behind Springer. “In the course of digitalization in the 90s, e-publishing quickly became a central theme at Springer. For example, in the past, the fact that Springer published more books than journals was seen as a disadvantage. But we successfully reinvented the book through our innovative projects, such as the Springer Book Archive, and we are very proud of this. We connect tradition and innovation, and can rightly say: our books never go out of print – even not important historical works” 

The characteristic company logo remains the knight chess piece, which was chosen by the Springer family in 1881. The logo symbolizes the company founder’s (Julius Springer and his sons) passion for chess. Today, Springer publications are clearly marked with this logo as the company’s brand. 

“If we have to describe what the legacy of Springer means, we of course think of the renowned authors and publications, but also the knight chess piece which is highly memorable,” says Heinz Weinheimer, Managing Director Springer Research Group. “The core of the legacy is the brand Springer: our employees, whether in sales or editorial, are immediately associated with the long company history. With the name Springer it is immediately clear that we are talking about one of the most important voices in scientific publishing, and that the publications are always of outstanding quality.”

Springer has been part of the publishing group Springer Nature since 2015. Worldwide, Springer Nature has around 13,000 employees and a turnover of 1,624.7 million Euro in 2016. Springer publishes annually around 12,000 new books and around 3000 academic journals. Including the Springer Book Archives, over 110,000 titles dating back to the 19th century are available on SpringerLink. 

Springer is a leading global scientific, technical and medical portfolio, providing researchers in academia, scientific institutions and corporate R&D departments with quality content through innovative information, products and services. Springer has one of the strongest STM and HSS eBook collections and archives, as well as a comprehensive range of hybrid and open access journals. Springer is part of Springer Nature, a global publisher that serves and supports the research community. Springer Nature aims to advance discovery by publishing robust and insightful science, supporting the development of new areas of research and making ideas and knowledge accessible around the world.
As part of Springer Nature, Springer sits alongside other trusted brands like Nature Research, BioMed Central and Palgrave Macmillan. Visit and follow @SpringerNature and #springer175

Further information

More information about the history of Springer can be found here

Official anniversary website with numerous activities


Elizabeth Hawkins | Springer Nature | Communications
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