In March 2020, in accordance with COVID‑19 lockdowns enforced around the world, many researchers and students couldn’t access offices, classrooms and libraries. For some, this made it difficult to access content on websites like SpringerLink, or nature.com via institutional subscriptions.
We rapidly created a technology solution to authenticate users on their devices so they could seamlessly access institutional subscriptions from anywhere.
This solution – Persisted Access – had a significant positive impact on the research and academic community during the COVID‑19 pandemic. The change to the authentication method happened automatically, without users having to take action, leading to fewer customer service calls about access issues. Nearly one in three institutional users now authenticates to our content delivery platforms using this newly developed route, and over 13 million researchers have benefitted from Persisted Access.
Prior to the pandemic, we were the first publisher to implement SeamlessAccess.org and in addition, alongside four other publishers developed an enhanced technology solution, GetFTR, to enable faster, streamlined authentication for users, wherever they are accessing content from.
By using new technology, we are streamlining the submission process for authors, already reducing the time it takes for researchers to submit a manuscript by 33%, down from 90 minutes to 60 minutes.
To maintain the academic quality and rigour of manuscripts we have invested in enhanced quality control processes to partially automate the experience. We support the author by assisting during the submission process, for example extracting details from the manuscript to auto-fill the submission form, and enabling transfers for papers to more suitable journals to reduce duplicated efforts. Our rights process and payments for open access (OA) authors is completely digital and set up to automatically match authors with agreed funding bodies to simplify and speed up the workflow.
Since 2018, we have reduced the time to publication by 25%. Our intention is that through this investment in advanced technologies, the publishing experience will continue to improve for researchers, becoming automated and flowing straight from acceptance to publication, immediately reaching hundreds of thousands of researchers.