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 


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