Wednesday, April 29, 2009


There's a couple of interesting editorials out in from the Rockefeller University Press, which publishes the fine journals Journal of Cell Biology, Journal of Experimental Medicine, and one of my personal favs, Journal of General Physiology.

In the first, the Press's Executive Editor, Mike Rossner, discusses the practice of bundling large numbers of journals by the mega scientific publishers, and the effects on university libraries. Unsurprisingly, the current economic climate is affecting not just newspapers (do you hear that Boston Globe? the sound of inevitability), but will have big impacts on science publishing. And that doesn't even take into account moves towards Open Access. Check it out here.

Here's one very interesting tidbit from the editorial:
"The Rockefeller University library subscribes to bundles of online journals from several megapublishers. For one of the bundles, the top 10% of journals garner over 85% of the hits to the bundle from users at the University. Over 40% of the journals in the bundle had no hits at all from the University in 2008!"
In the second editorial, from the May issue of JGP, Editor Edward Pugh takes on one of my personal hobby horses: Supplementary Data. Now in principle there's nothing wrong with Supplementary data; it's just currently there seem to be few standards about how they should be dealt with, both in review and archiving. Pugh clearly sets out at least JGP's position on them:
"Several pressures now call for a review of policy on Supplemental Material. One pressure comes from the growing use of such material by other journals as an omnibus substitute for publishing scientific material. Increasingly, methods, theory, and even primary results are offloaded to supplements. As a community, we need to question such practices, asking whether they are dictated by the goals of science or by financial expediency, and inquire as to the short- and long-term consequences of such practices for science."
So go check that out too. Oh, and while you're there, check out a modest little paper by Blair, Kaczmarek and Clapham. All 14 figures of it that is!


Dr. Jekyll and Mrs. Hyde said...

Congratulations on the publication! That's wonderful news.

Is your middle author any relation to Len?

Comrade PhysioProf said...

Editor Edward PughHoly fucknoly!!!! When did Olaf step down!?!?!? He has the great distinction of being one of the first journal editors to commit to digitizing the entire historical archive.

Nat Blair said...

@CPP - Olaf stepped down one year ago today. And yup, it's definitely cool that when you check the Archive section of the Journal, it starts at 1918.

@Dr.J- Thanks. Though somewhat modest in significance, it was a tough road, and to see it finally come to completion is a matter of great personal satisfaction.

I'll have to ask Stefan, but I don't think he's closely related to Len. Strange though that that never even crossed my mind.