Of Schemes and Memes Blog

Nature Network becomes a community archive

We started Nature Network back in 2007, as an experiment in using social media for science, and to provide a home for researchers to communicate with each other. Social media is now part of our day-to-day lives, and services like WordPress, Facebook, Twitter and Google+ now provide capabilities far beyond what was available in 2007, and what we built for Nature Network. These services evolve constantly, as technology and creativity make new things possible. Our site has dated and, like many social media services, has suffered from spam in recent months. We know that it is no longer fit for purpose nor provides the level of service that we wish for our users.

In 2012, we moved our bloggers to a new home at www.scilogs.com, where they continue to thrive as part of the Nature Publishing Group family. Scientific American has also fostered a lively network of bloggers over on the Scientific American Blogging Network. Nature Network has become primarily a home for spam, with discussions and collaborations happening elsewhere. We have concluded that we should close the remaining pieces of Nature Network to form an archive site, hosting our users’ past conversations and collaborations, but removing the ability to create new discussions. We will withdraw the Workbench, along with the ability to log into the site to update a user profile or post to the forums and groups.

We will put Nature Network into archive on December 17th. If you have a Nature Network account and wish to make any final contributions to the site, such as updating or removing your profile, we recommend that you log in before that date to make any changes. We can suggest several alternatives for groups and forums. You can also request that we deactivate your Nature Network account by emailing network@nature.com, using the registered email address and stating ‘deactivate account’ in the subject line.

Saying goodbye to Nature Network feels akin to moving out of the house where we grew up, and hosted some fabulous parties through the years. Bittersweet, but with happy memories and lots to be proud of – in many ways Nature Network was trail-blazing especially in the early days. We have learnt much from our 6-year experiment and we are building on that knowledge to develop new products and services to improve scientists’ workflow, and to help you collaborate and build your careers. In the meantime, we want to continue the conversation, making the best that technology has to offer us all today. Sometimes that will be here on nature.com, and often on third party social media websites. You can find us, and many of our journals and products, on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest. We host a number of editorial blogs and regularly run events like the SpotOn series to discuss the communication of science online. If you are looking for a dedicated social network for researchers, there is a vibrant and growing community on the Frontiers Research Network. Frontiers is now part of the Nature Publishing Group family – we recommend that you join us in the conversations there.

Nature Publishing Group’s sister business, Digital Science, now provides a growing suite of tools to help scientists make the most of technology in their workflow. We also want to continue to encourage researchers to build their own tools, and encourage you to check out our developers portal and our linked data platform.

Thank you all for your support and contributions to the Nature Network community.


  1. Report this comment

    Eva Amsen said:

    Not unexpected, but still the end of an era. I was a graduate student when I first joined Nature Network, and having my blog there for a few years has opened many doors that eventually led to where I am today, with a career in science communication and outreach – so thank you!

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    Michael Kenward said:

    “We started Nature Network back in 2007, as an experiment in using social media for science…”

    And the experiment failed.

    The area that I watched – also science communication – was spammed from day one.

    It never looked like something that Nature took seriously. Why should it? No way of making money.

  3. Report this comment

    Anthony Aiya-Oba said:

    Thank you for leading the way.

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    Scott Keir said:

    I think that’s a little harsh, Michael – it worked for a while, but yes, in time, other products took its place. Such is the way of the web (you and I are old enough to remember Altavista, I’m sure, and could come up with many other examples).

    I enjoyed participating in Nature Network, and found it of some use for work, and for fun – I made some good friends here, for which I’m grateful.

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    Dante Picchioni said:

    Thank you very much for your thoroughness by notifying us of this impending action. I have two questions. First, in this blog, you mention that I can remove my profile. This is very helpful because I do not want others to continue to view my profile when I cannot update it. How do I do it? Second, if I deactivate my account, does that mean I will not be able to submit articles to Nature journals, or is that a separate account. I guess I should remove my profile but maintain my account. Is that correct?

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      Admin said:

      Hi Dante
      If you send a mail to network@nature.com requesting that your account be deactivated by putting “deactivate” in the subject line, your profile will be removed as you request. Please use the same mail address that you have registered with Nature Network.

      Your ability to submit to Nature journals will be unaffected because it is a separate system.

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    Tom Hennessy said:

    It was a chore from the beginning, posts taken down, threatened by editors, medical studies removed, just one big clusterfck.

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