“Providing access to verified, evidence-based knowledge sits right at the heart of our mission to open doors to discovery. In 2021, we invested in new technologies to further protect research integrity and to improve workflows, enabling researchers to work more efficiently.”Stefan von Holtzbrinck, Chairman
Transform publishing and access
- 2.5million+ daily visits to our platforms.
- 96,000 researchers attended Nature Masterclasses online throughout 2021, across 52 countries.
- 465,000+ authors supported by our digital editing service American Journal Experts (AJE).
- 500+ machine-generated literature overviews produced in 2021.
- 26% reduction in average turnaround times for articles (from submission to manuscript acceptance) in 2021, according to early analysis of Snapp, our new publishing platform.
The power of AI: truth and responsibility
As communicators of often complex science, we have a responsibility to be aware of and understand the potential of new platforms and media that can be dangerous if misused. Scientific American recently contributed to and documented the Deepfake Project, ‘In the Event of a Moon Disaster’. The film includes a synthetic video of President Nixon posthumously delivering a speech prepared in the event of a fatal moon landing, half a century after the subject it addresses, which crucially he never had to make. The creators of the project - media artists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, two artificial intelligence companies (Canny AI and Respeecher) and Scientific American - won an Emmy for Outstanding Interactive Media Documentary.
Revolutionising access to research for all
Websites have to work for all users, including those with a disability. One approach to accessible website design is regression testing: allowing developers to automatically check if they have introduced accessibility errors to their site – such as forgetting to include alternative text for images or creating problems navigating a site using a keyboard.
When Springer Nature technologists realised in 2013 that regression testing software for accessibility did not exist, they decided to develop it. The software was free and open source, so anyone could use or amend it, and named it Pa11y (‘a11y’ is the numeronym for accessibility).
Over the years Pa11y has steadily grown in popularity, and is now included in over 1,600 information repositories. It is now the default accessibility testing tool in both Netlify and Gitlab, meaning that more than 3 million people and businesses can easily access automated accessibility testing – greatly expanding Pa11y’s reach and effect.
Impact on education in India
Changing conditions require quick adjustments to ensure that interruptions to education are minimal, as experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. Macmillan India worked with the Foundation for Innovation and Technology Transfer (FITT) to produce an online learning solution. The result is ALTURA (‘Advanced Learning and Teaching using Resources and Assessments’), a blended integrated learning solution that won the Best Classroom Tech Solution of the Year 2021 at the Ed Tech X Indian Education Awards 2021.
ALTURA helps schools enhance the academic performance of learners through continuous assessment, performance analytics and data-driven decision-making. Through ALTURA, technology has freed up teacher time, meaning greater teaching efficacy, and resulted in higher engagement among learners, with a focus on learning outcomes.
Snapp: enabling more efficient publishing
The process of publishing research can be complex and time-consuming for researchers. In 2021, we developed Snapp – a new article-processing platform that enables more efficient and effective publishing. Developed in-house and with the community, the new platform includes single-click transfers, the integration of systems for rights, waivers, payments and funding options, and reviewer finding tools. It also adopts machine learning and AI models with the aim of streamlining and improving the entire submission-to-publishing experience, so that it is more efficient for researchers.
As an in-house system, we have full control over ensuring high-quality research is published and available to our audiences quickly, fulfilling one of our key business commitments: to advance discovery.