Archive by date | February 2010

Making your mark on the journal cover

Making your mark on the journal cover

The Editorial in the March issue of Nature Chemistry (2, 147; 2010) provides some advice for authors keen to feature on the cover of a Nature journal. From the Editorial: Journal covers provide a convenient focal point for the content that lies inside them and are often used in marketing campaigns — whether in simple adverts, or as posters and calendars. It is not only the publisher that benefits, however, and it is quite common to see journal covers feature prominently on slides during talks or on the walls of offices and corridors in academic institutions. They are a source  … Read more

How Nature selects papers for publication

How Nature selects papers for publication

This is a shortened version of an editorial in Nature ( 463, 850; 2010 ; free to read online). One myth that never seems to die is that Nature‘s editors seek to inflate the journal’s impact factor by sifting through submitted papers (some 16,000 last year) in search of those that promise a high citation rate. We don’t. Not only is it difficult to predict what a paper’s citation performance will be, but citations are an unreliable measure of importance. Take two papers in synthetic organic chemistry, both published in June 2006. One, ‘Control of four stereocentres in a triple  … Read more

Editors’ advice on writing scientific papers

Editors' advice on writing scientific papers

Nature Structural & Molecular Biology (17, 139 ;2010) provides some writing advice for scientists: “less is more when it comes to writing a good scientific paper. Tell a story in clear, simple language and keep in mind the importance of the ‘big picture’.” Editors and reviewers regularly have to slog through papers that seem to go on forever and, more dishearteningly, have the main points and interesting bits inexplicably hidden, when they assess them for possible publication. NSMB provides some pointers, a few of which are provided here: Tell a story. We all love listening to a good story. And  … Read more

Nature Medicine on access to and integrity of data

Nature Medicine on access to and integrity of data

Everybody agrees that ensuring the integrity and accessibility of research data is crucial for scientific progress. Agreeing on the best way to do so is the hard part, says Nature Medicine in its February Editorial ( 16, 131; 2010). Technological advances have enabled researchers to tackle questions that involve generating vast amounts of data, posing challenges concerning data analysis, manipulation, annotation, sharing and storage that researchers, institutions, funders and journals have not yet fully grasped. How should data be annotated before being stored in a database so that it can be as useful as possible to other researchers? Should data-sharing  … Read more

Nanotechnology and food

Nanotechnology and food

The food industry will only reap the benefits of nanotechnology if issues related to safety are addressed and companies are more open about what they are doing. This ethical question is addressed by Nature Nanotechology in its February Editorial (5, 89; 2010), an excerpt from which follows. So far nanotechnology has largely escaped becoming ‘the next GM’ — which is shorthand for the rejection of genetically modified food by the public in the UK and elsewhere in Europe — but this has largely been because many applications of nanotechnology have been inherently non-controversial: who can object to stain-free trousers or  … Read more

A climate of constructive communication

A climate of constructive communication

February’s Editorial in Nature Reports Climate Change looks over the past two months, an unnerving time for the international climate community. Once seen as one of the most esteemed scientific organizations in the world, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has suffered some serious blows to its reputation. First, ‘Climategate’ saw thousands of emails obtained illegally from the University of East Anglia posted on the Internet. Carefully timed ahead of international climate policy negotiations, the emails showed apparent attempts by a handful of IPCC climatologists to withhold data from climate deniers and to exclude contentious information from the panel’s report.  Read more

Science books to inspire new generations

Science books to inspire new generations

Five leading writers of science books are offering advice for budding authors in a series of interviews running from 4 Feb to 4 March in Nature‘s Books & Arts section. Researchers should be recognized for writing books to convey and develop science, according to an Editorial in Nature last week ( 463, 588; 4 February 2010, free to read online). Here is an extract: “As the era of the electronic book dawns, perhaps hastened by Apple’s much-touted iPad, researchers should prime themselves to take advantage of the spacious book format. Unlike a tweet, blog or research paper, a good book  … Read more

Nature Events directory available as free digital edition

Nature Events directory available as free digital edition

This year’s Nature events directory is now available as a digital edition. Nature events is the premier resource for scientists looking for the latest scientific conferences, courses, meetings and symposia. It is an essential reference guide to scientific events worldwide: for delegates discussing hot issues and opinion, through to networking and collaboration, events provide a platform for learning and advancement. To help plan which events to attend in the year ahead, Nature events publish an annual directory of global scientific events in the last Nature issue of every year. The annual Nature events Directory is also available as a print  … Read more

Dimensions of scientific diplomacy

Dimensions of scientific diplomacy

As scientists working in a range of disciplines come under fire in some sections of the media, Nature Physics in its February Editorial (6, 75; 2010) explains why science diplomacy matters. The Inter-Academy Panel (IAP) counts 103 of the world’s scientific academies as members, most recently the Academies of Science of Afghanistan, Mozambique and Nicaragua, and assembles once every three or four years to discuss issues, like climate change, biodiversity or nuclear proliferation, of global significance that hinge crucially on scientific knowledge, and the gaps in that scientific knowledge. The Nature Physics editorial continues: “The IAP initiative is typical of  … Read more

Mentoring matters, says Nature Cell Biology

Mentoring matters, says Nature Cell Biology

Sound mentorship can contribute significantly to the intellectual and professional development of mentees, but mentors also stand to gain strong leadership skills in this process, and the ability to draw the best from a team can only aid in the overall success of one’s research agenda, according to February’s Editorial in Nature Cell Biology (12, 101; 2010). While picking the appropriate problem and the right approaches is fundamental to a running a successful research programme, capable mentoring of laboratory members and new faculty members is also crucial. What are some of the objectives of good mentoring? The goal is to  … Read more