Interviews, Issue 8 June 2011

New Springer Team in São Paulo, Brazil

In late 2010, Springer opened an office in São Paulo in response to the tremendous growth in scientific output from Latin American countries. Of these, it is Brazil which represents the greatest opportunity.

With an approximate spend on research of 1.5 percent of its USD 2 trillion GDP (representing an annual growth rate of 15 percent in peer-reviewed science articles) this territory offers an excellent opportunity for Springer at the same time as opening up a global audience for the research outputs of scientists in Brazil.

Author Zone spoke to Harry Blom, Editorial Director Astronomy and Brazilian Market Development at Springer, about his hopes and expectations for the new office.

Could you tell more about the São Paulo office? What is the main focus of this office?

We have been active in Brazil for many years, globally distributing books and journal articles written by prominent Brazilian researchers. Of course we also deliver international content to Brazilian universities and institutions. But by opening an office in São Paulo on Avenida Paulista, we are aiming to enhance these activities in recognition of Brazil's growing output and importance in scientific research.

Who are the main contacts and what are their roles?

The main local contact is Mariana Biojone, Senior Business Development Editor. She is responsible for enhancing the number of publishing projects Springer does in collaboration with Brazilian scientists and to increase our local contacts with researchers, universities, societies, funding agencies and companies relevant to our business.

Our local Licensing Manager Marcio Gama is working to sell Springer’s content in Brazil and closely collaborates with Mariana to cease new opportunities in sales.

Both are well connected with the other Springer offices to quickly tap into the company’s global resources and experience. It is one of my main roles to form that bridge between the global Springer organization and Springer Brazil.

Why is there such an interest in Brazilian publications and research?

We are interested in making high-quality research results from Brazil available worldwide and we have built a strong infrastructure and network to do this. We offer excellent service to Brazilian authors and publications. Our goal is to create maximum international visibility and usage of scientific results. This goal is completely in alignment with that of the research community in Brazil.

Do you think it will be important for the international scientific community to know more about Brazilian Science?

Absolutely. There is enormous talent in Brazil, which benefits from increased funding for high-tech research. Brazilian scientists collaborate and compete with the rest of the world and the results are of interest to scientific communities everywhere.

What kind of science do you think is going to interest the international public?

Frankly, all discoveries that are unique and peer-reviewed. We would like to work with all researchers who have world-class expertise to share. Traditionally, Brazil has produced valuable research in the areas of life sciences, agriculture, and mining. However, the country is rapidly building a reputation in other areas of science, which is why Brazilian journals in mathematics, physics and computer science, for example, are finding a growing audience in the rest of the world as well.

How has Open Access been received by Brazilian scientists / authors? Do they see it as an opportunity or a threat?

Brazilian scientists are used to free access, because most of their journals managed by local societies receive government funding for posting articles on a public repository. However, they now recognize that this does nothing for them in terms of an active global outreach, journal development, generating income for the society, marketing, or paying for innovation.

In fact, looking at what has happened in Brazil so far tells you what sort of value we add. Springer and BioMed Central bring valuable experience with publishing business models to the table and we see that the strongest journals are interested to work with Springer / BMC on the implementation of an Open Access model or a traditional subscription model. The fact that they are now seeking a business model is our big opportunity and it is interesting to see that there is no strong preference for either model.

It was recently announced that Springer and the Brazilian Physical Society will work together to publish Brazilian Journal of Physics. How did this collaboration come about?

The Springer editors in physics have had good contacts with the Brazilian physicists for many years and both sides steadily grew towards each other. When Springer opened an office in Brazil, it was the final step to convince the Brazilian physicists that we are serious about collaborating on the successful development of their journal.

What other Brazilian society and partner collaborations can authors expect to see in the near future?

Less than half a year after opening our office, we have submitted collaborative proposals for more than 10 journals by leveraging the internal global editorial know-how of both Springer and BioMed Central. Of course, negotiations and subsequent fine-tuning take time, but I am very confident you are going to see more press releases within the coming months.

In addition, we have very solid plans to co-publish book titles first published in Portuguese by local university presses and now translated into English for global dissemination.

Could you tell us more about Springer’s plans in Brazil and other Latin American countries?

We welcome collaborations with Brazilian learned societies, research institutes and companies with R & D departments. We anticipate that we will need more local staff to provide the best service to our customers, so you may count on the growth of our office in São Paulo.

Brazil is clearly the leader in scientific research in South America, with the most resources for research. But talent springs up everywhere, so we do not want to forget about Brazil's neighboring countries. We expect our new office in São Paulo to become a hub for the other scientific communities on the continent as well!

Thank you very much for this interview!