Scholarly Societies and the Sustainable Development Goals on ScienceOpen

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The unanimous adoption by UN Member States of the Sustainable Development Goals raised hopes that they would serve as a backbone for a global partnership for peace and prosperity. Yet, it is not only a political agenda: delivering the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals has become the focal point for many scientific communities across the globe.

Science, however, is a tremendously diverse practice with efforts always underway on multiple fronts simultaneously. As a result, it often proves difficult to find a unified platform where one could inform themselves in one place how different groups of scientists bring us closer toward accomplishing the sustainability goals.

The Microbiology Society, a leading organisation for research in microbes with over 10,000 publications indexed on ScienceOpen, decided to address this challenge and also highlight the vital role of learned societies in working together towards a sustainable future. The Society’s one-of-a-kind initiative culminated in the creation of the ScienceOpen Collection ‘A Sustainable Future’. This selection of research goes beyond the scope of microbiology and integrates contributions from nine scholarly organisations across topics such as ecology, medicine, social policy and welfare, environmental studies, and biochemistry. Offering this kind of unified learning experience is unprecedented, but this is not the only thing that makes this Collection unique!

A Sustainable Future’ is proof that the spirit of collaboration and the sense of a common goal are both visible at the level of scholarly networks. It also shows the willingness by learned societies to experiment with new streams of scientific communication which would transcend traditional disciplinary boundaries. Since the pursuit of knowledge is often domain specific, presenting scientific findings and raising awareness of contributions by individual societies risks being equally fragmented. A new approach acknowledging a shared mission and emphasising the continuity of knowledge is required.    

The sponsor of the Collection, the Microbiology Society, recognized this issue and opted for an alternative way to inform researchers and the public about its contributions and those of other learned societies. The focus lies on bringing together many scholarly organisations in a truly interdisciplinary fashion. The result of this collaboration is a selection of 91 must-read articles from 9 renowned learned societies and membership charities: Microbiology Society, Biochemical SocietyBritish Ecological SocietyBritish Society for ImmunologyFederation of European Microbiological SocietiesIWA PublishingThe Physiological SocietyRoyal College of Psychiatrists and Royal Meteorological Society.

Combined, these organisations bring together thousands of scientists. Of course, such an integration requires an appropriate environment and tools to work with. Thanks to the robust Collections infrastructure and a suite of features for publishers and researchers, ScienceOpen is a perfect home for this one-of-a-kind project. Members of the societies now have an easily accessible platform to communicate their work and inform others about their important function for the advance of science.

The purpose of this Collection is also to become a bridge for scientific communication and a forum where researchers contribute by commenting and reviewing research and by disseminating the publications further via their own researcher-led Collections. As the partnership of the societies under the aegis of the Microbiology Society shows, delivering Sustainable Developments Goals ultimately is a collaborative effort. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to ensure that individual researchers have a place where they can follow the lead of the societies and get to know each other’s work, exchange ideas and co-operate.

ScienceOpen, an active supporter of society publishing, proudly fulfills this role. This is also why on ScienceOpen working together towards a sustainable future is accessible to everyone. Every reader can use the resources of ScienceOpen free-of-charge, register to follow their favorite Collections, and share their reads with others. Researchers working towards accomplishing the Sustainable Development Goals, highlight your research via own Collection! It’s free and convenient. You can learn more here or contact Stephanie Dawson to apply for Editor status.

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