As you may have noticed, it’s been quite sometime since I’ve blogged… there’s been a small matter of launching a journal that has kept me somewhat busy. Well, the fruits of many, many people’s labour is now out there for all to see – our first advance online publications went live yesterday: a research article from Makoto Fujita and colleagues and an associated News & Views article by Jim Thomas. I won’t go into details about those articles here; I encourage you to go and check them out on our website…
What I would like to point you to, however, is the write up in C&EN about the launch of Nature Chemistry. Obviously Sophie only had a limited number of words for her story and so I would just like to show you the complete Q&A I sent to her. Here it is:
1. Why is Nature launching Nature Chemistry?
Nature Publishing Group (NPG) has launched a small number of journals in the physical sciences (such as Nature Materials, Nature Physics and Nature Nanotechnology) and each of them have very quickly established themselves as recognised venues for the publication of high-impact research in their respective fields. Following on from the success of these other titles and their positive reception within the scientific community, we we are now determined to bring the authority and reputation of the Nature name to the subject of chemistry. Nature Chemistry continues NPG’s policy of only launching new journal titles where we will add genuine value to the literature. Moreover, NPG’s commitment to innovation in online publishing means we are well placed to offer new opportunities for chemistry publishing on the web, such as the display of chemical compound pages and 3D structures — which have already been implemented by our sister journal Nature Chemical Biology.
2. How might the launch of Nature Chemistry affect the chemistry publishing community?
The launch of Nature Chemistry offers authors from all of the sub-fields within chemistry a choice for where they wish their most significant work to be considered for publication. There are actually a surprisingly small number of what can be described as general-chemistry journals — and a high-quality journal alternative, from Nature Publishing Group, that fits this description can only be good for the community. Competition helps invigorate the market, so if the launch of Nature Chemistry spurs other chemistry publishers to look at what they do and try to improve themselves — it is the researchers who publish in and read these journals who will benefit.
3. What is your vision for the journal?
There is a trend to carve up chemistry (and science in general) into smaller and smaller niche subjects and launch very narrowly focused journals that are only of interest to those within that particular sub-field. It is our aim that Nature Chemistry will, as much as it can, transcend the boundaries within the subject of chemistry and its content will appeal to a broad audience in the community. Nature Chemistry will be a place where readers know they can find high-quality research as well as insightful comment and analysis about other aspects of chemistry, such as education, policy, safety, funding and other related issues.
4. What sets Nature Chemistry apart from existing journals?
There are a number of ways. Our team of professional PhD-educated editors play a significant role not only in overseeing the peer-review process, but also in the presentation of the papers we publish. The text of each paper is carefully edited (in collaboration with the authors) to ensure that it is as broadly accessible as possible to the wider chemistry community. Moreover, the editors offer detailed feedback on the graphical material in each manuscript and suggest ways in which it can be improved where appropriate. The editors’ expertise is also invaluable in identifying and commissioning review articles that will serve as authoritative reference works in their areas.
In addition to the research papers, Nature Chemistry will also publish other materials to complement this content, such as editorials, commentaries, research highlights, meeting reports, News & Views, features and regular columns from a small stable of writers.
We are also planning to provide interactive 3D displays of molecules and other compound specific information for substances that are described in the research papers. Links to PubChem will be provided and we are exploring the possibility of including links to other databases. Shortly after launch we also expect to be able to provide text-mined content, where relevant terms are marked-up and linked to databases if appropriate.
Beginning with the publication of the first issue, readers will be able to comment on journal content — in a similar fashion to which one is able to comment on a blog post — including the research papers as well as in other sections of the journal.
5. Librarians often say there are already too many journals on the market. What is your response to that statement?
I agree, there are. There are too many high-cost low-impact narrow-scope journals that divide chemistry into ever-decreasing slices. Nature Chemistry will offer value for money in that the content will be of the highest quality and will be relevant to the vast majority of chemists, rather than just a few members in any given department.
6. What other journals is Nature considering publishing?
I don’t know what other journals NPG are planning to launch, you’d have to ask someone far more important than me! What I do know is that NPG are conscious that budgets are tight for everyone at the moment, so we won’t be launching new journals without thinking really carefully about whether there is a genuine need for them.
7. Anything else you’d like to add?
Readers and authors can also keep up with what Nature Chemistry is doing by checking out NPG’s chemistry blog, the Sceptical Chymist (http://blogs.nature.com/thescepticalchymist/) and also our Facebook page!
If you made it this far, well done! And now go and check out those AOP articles…
Stuart Cantrill (Chief Editor, Nature Chemistry)