Archive by category | Publishing

End of the line for print journals?

Are the days of print journals numbered — and if they are, what will that mean for how we interact with the scientific literature? These questions are asked in Nature Chemistry‘s September Editorial (1, 421; 2009). The Editorial is sparked by The American Chemical Society’s announcement that, with the exception of the Journal of the American Chemical Society and two review journals, “ACS titles publishing primary research will be printed in a landscape fashion that puts two article pages side-by-side on a single physical page. These changes are accompanied by new pricing schemes that will eliminate discounts for hardcopy journals, while offering subscribers incentives to upgrade from print to digital formats.” This is inevitably seen by several observers as a precursor to eliminating the print editions of these journals.  Read more

Dangers of scientific publicity machines

A hyped-up fossil find highlights the potential dangers of publicity machines, according to one of the Editorials in today’s Nature (459, 484; 2009 – free to access online). The Editorial describes last week’s publication of paper describing a 47-million-year-old fossil primate with a remarkable degree of preservation, which quickly led to enormous media and internet coverage, including claims that the fossil is a “missing link” in human evolution. The Editorial describes how, “in the paper the authors explicitly state that Darwinius masillae “could represent a stem group from which later anthropoid primates evolved, but we are not advocating this here, nor do we consider either Darwinius or adapoids to be anthropoids”. The authors also refrain from claiming that the fossil changes our understanding of primate evolution.”  … Read more

Using the law to stifle scientific debate

A court case between one of Britain’s leading science writers and an organization representing alternative medicine practitioners is causing renewed concern about the potential for libel laws to stifle debate on scientific issues (Nature News, 13 May 2009).  Read more

Frank Gannon says farewell to EMBO reports

Frank Gannon says goodbye as senior editor at EMBO reports in the journal’s April issue (10, 293; 2009). I shall certainly miss his monthly editorials, which I always looked forward to reading and often mentioned on this blog. On the occasion of his goodbye, he looks back at his contribution:  … Read more

Nature Clinical Practice journals evolve into Reviews journals

In 2000, Nature Publishing Group launched the first three of the Nature Reviews series. By 2002, the series had grown to seven monthly review journals and quickly became the highest impact-factor journals in their fields — gaining a reputation for publishing superbly illustrated reviews written by leading international researchers. The Nature Reviews journals will double in size next month (April), when all eight Nature Clinical Practice journals will be relaunched as “Nature Reviews”. These clinical Nature Reviews journals will be printed in colour and will have the same high production values that have helped make the life-science Nature Reviews journals so successful, and each issue will contain more content, including Editorials, Research Highlights, News & Views, Reviews, Case Studies and Perspectives articles. The clinical journals will not alter their editorial scopes or commissioning strategies and will retain their distinguished external Editors-in-Chief and international Advisory Boards.  Read more

Journal removes article after legal threat

According to an online News story at the Nature website (doi 10.1038/news.2009.99; 16 February), The Swedish Research Council is becoming involved in a row over academic freedom after a peer-reviewed journal removed a published paper — by two Swedish academics — from its website following a threat of legal action from the company whose technology the research criticized. The News story describes how the paper ‘Charlatanry in forensic speech science: a problem to be taken seriously’, was first published in the International Journal of Speech, Language and the Law in December 2007. In it, the authors examine voice-analysis technologies, stating there is no scientific basis for one of them.  Read more

Nature Genetics on teamwork and consortia

For the genetics field as well as others, an increasing number of research papers are the products of research consortia. In its January Editorial, Nature Genetics (41, 1; 2009) reports on how the journal is coping with the effects of team knowledge production on publication, and advises authors of what they can do to expedite the publication of their work.  Read more