A new rapid review open source sci-journal from Nature

Maybe we won’t need the other new journal announced yesterday after all.

From Slashdot.org:

“Nature’s Publishing Group is launching a new journal, Scientific Reports, announced earlier this month.

The press release makes it clear that it is molded after PLoS ONE: ‘Scientific Reports will publish original research papers of interest to specialists within a given field in the natural sciences. It will not set a threshold of perceived importance for the papers that it publishes; rather, Scientific Reports will publish all papers that are judged to be technically valid and original. To enable the community to evaluate the importance of papers post-peer review, the Scientific Reports website will include most-downloaded, most-emailed, and most-blogged lists.

All research papers will benefit from rapid peer review and publication, and will be deposited in PubMed Central.’ Perhaps readers may find it ironic that PLoS ONE, first dismissed by Nature as an ‘online database’ ‘relying on bulk, cheap publishing of lower quality papers to subsidize its handful of high-quality flagship journals’ seems to be setting the standards for ‘a new era in publishing.’

Here’s what they say on the website:

Online and open access, Scientific Reports is a brand new primary research publication from the publishers of Nature, covering all areas of the natural sciences — biology, chemistry, physics and earth sciences.

Scientific Reports exists to facilitate the rapid peer review and publication of research that is of interest to specialists within any given field in the natural sciences, without barriers to access.

Scientific Reports is:

  • Fast — rapid review and publication
  • Rigorous — peer review by at least one member of the academic community
  • Open — articles are freely available to all and authors retain copyright
  • Visible — enhanced browsing and searching to ensure your article is noticed
  • Interlinked — to and from relevant articles across nature.com
  • Global — housed on nature.com with worldwide media coverage

According to the Guide to Authors, it seems they will do any paper for a flat fee of $1350USD. I’m sure this will inspire somebody to do a test case for the “money talks, BS walks theory”.

===============================================================

Here’s the press release in full:

Announcing Scientific Reports, a new open access publication

PRESS RELEASE FROM NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP
6 January 2011

Contact: Grace Baynes (Corporate Public Relations)
Nature Publishing Group
T:+44 (0)20 7014 4063
g.baynes@nature.com

Nature Publishing Group (NPG) today announces the 2011 launch of Scientific Reports. An online, open access, peer-reviewed publication, Scientific Reports will publish research covering the natural sciences – biology, chemistry, earth sciences and physics. Scientific Reports is accepting submissions from today, and will publish its first articles in June 2011. More information is available on the Scientific Reports website (www.nature.com/scientificreports).

All articles published in Scientific Reports will be open access and subject to an article-processing charge (APC). The 2011 APC rate will be US$1350/GB£890/ EURO1046 per accepted manuscript*. Authors will have a choice of two non-commercial Creative Commons (CC) licenses. NPG will make an annual donation to Creative Commons equivalent to $20 per APC paid for publication in Scientific Reports.** Authors of the research paper concerned will be eligible for complimentary membership of the Creative Commons network, an international online community of people who support open access and open educational resources.

“Creative Commons is delighted to have NPG’s support for our activities,” said Cathy Casserly, CEO of Creative Commons. “We welcome the launch of Scientific Reports, and NPG’s growing open access offering.”

Scientific Reports will publish original research papers of interest to specialists within a given field in the natural sciences. It will not set a threshold of perceived importance for the papers that it publishes; rather, Scientific Reports will publish all papers that are judged to be technically valid and original. To enable the community to evaluate the importance of papers post-peer review, the Scientific Reports website will include most-downloaded, most-emailed, and most-blogged lists. All research papers will benefit from rapid peer review and publication, and will be deposited in PubMed Central.

“Our rationale is to provide authors with a choice of where to publish,” said Jason Wilde, Business Development Director at NPG. “Scientific Reports will leverage the tools, technology and experience of NPG, bringing this knowledge and insight to a broad-based, open access publication. Through increased competition and innovation, we hope to give authors great service, functionality and visibility for their research.”

Scientific Reports will be led by a team of 15 Editorial Advisory Panel members, supported by an editorial board who will make all editorial decisions. Unlike Nature Communications, Scientific Reports will not have in-house editors, and will not offer the developmental editing associated with the Nature titles.

“This is a completely new venture for NPG,” says David Hoole, Director of Intellectual Property Policy and Licensing at NPG. “Scientific Reports adds to our growing portfolio of journals providing open access options, but until now NPG has not offered researchers an open access home for solid scientific research. We continue to see increasing commitment by research funders to cover the costs of open access, and interest from authors in this publishing route.” Scientific Reports joins more than 40 titles published by NPG offering an open access option. More information about NPG’s open access activities and policies is available in NPG’s January 2011 open access position statement (www.nature.com/press_releases/statement.html).

Editorial Advisory Panel members as of 6 January 2011
(see www.nature.com/srep/eap-ebm for more detail and Editorial Board members)

Astrophysics, Avi Loeb, Harvard University, USA
Cancer, Ronald DePinho, Harvard University, USA
Cell Biology, Suzanne Pfeffer, Stanford School of Medicine, USA
Chemical Biology, Stuart Schreiber, Harvard University, USA
Chemistry, Andrew Holmes, The University of Melbourne, Australia
Earth and Environmental Sciences, Lee Kump, Penn State University, USA
Genetics and Genomics, Aravinda Chakravarti, Johns Hopkins University, USA
Immunology, Ronald Germain, NIAID, USA
Molecular Biology, Shelley L Berger, University of Pennsylvania, USA
Molecular Biology, John Diffley, Cancer Research UK, UK
Neuroscience, Trevor Robbins, University of Cambridge, UK
Plant Cell Biology, Ueli Grossniklaus, Institute of Plant Biology, University of Zurich, Switzerland
Physics, Shik Shin, University of Tokyo, Japan
Stem Cells and Development, Fiona Watt, Cancer Research UK/Cambridge Research Institute, UK

*Scientific Reports will offer a 20% discount on the APC for manuscripts accepted for publication before 31 December 2011. From January 2012, the APC will be US$1700/GB£1112/EURO1308

** Total annual donation from NPG will be up to $100,000

-ENDS-

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39 thoughts on “A new rapid review open source sci-journal from Nature

  1. @teh article
    > The 2011 APC rate will be US$1350/GB£890/ EURO1046 per accepted manuscript*…

    I thought “open source” meant “free”. Seems like most of the “processing” would include reviewing any received manuscript, so charging only for the “accepted” papers sounds like a money-making business to me.

    Having said that, I see nothing wrong with that. It’s not really a new idea, it’s a “vanity press” for scientists, who for one reason or another can’t get their ideas published.

    I wish them success.

  2. All articles published in Scientific Reports will be open access and subject to an article-processing charge (APC). The 2011 APC rate will be US$1350/GB£890/ EURO1046 per accepted manuscript. . .

    Can anyone say “Vanity publishing”?

    /Mr Lynn

  3. The older I get the less surprised I should be, however it would seem my level of cynisism just can’t keep up with this new century. So much to say but too dumfounded yo articulate it.

  4. Scientific Reports will publish all papers that are judged to be technically valid and original

    Plenty of room for censorship then.

  5. Yep. Gatekeepers are waiting to “protect the integrity of climate science”.

    Editorial Advisory Panel members as of 6 January 2011
    (see http://www.nature.com/srep/eap-ebm for more detail and Editorial Board members)

    ….
    Earth and Environmental Sciences, Lee Kump, Penn State University, USA
    ….

    Check out Lee Kump’s home page at PSU and sure enough:

    Mann, M. and Kump, L., 2008. Dire Predictions: Understanding Global Warming. DK Publishing, New York, 208 pp.

    Nature are taking no chances with the scientific consensus. None

  6. Earth and Environmental Sciences, Lee Kump, Penn State University, USA

    That would be Mann’s current work place indeed his worked with him on a book
    ‘Mann, M. and Kump, L., 2008. Dire Predictions: Understanding Global Warming. DK Publishing, New York’

    So anyone want to guess how that is going to work out?

  7. I was about to make thirty or so posts, when I read the cost of each one.
    Sorry world.
    My extraordinary, novel, brilliant, important findings will just have to perish, unknown and unloved.

    Ah! Woe is me!
    Back to square one.

  8. Man,
    That One reviewer must be a master in ALL sciences!
    Sounds like top quality science to me!

    NOT!!!!

  9. John A says:
    January 26, 2011 at 3:58 am

    “Nature are taking no chances with the scientific consensus. None.”

    Yup. The good buddy peer review system lives on…

  10. John Day

    I thought “open source” meant “free”. Seems like most of the “processing” would include reviewing any received manuscript, so charging only for the “accepted” papers sounds like a money-making business to me.

    Actually, open source (usually applied to software) doesn’t mean free, it means the source is freely available, and can be modified, customized, and redistributed as long as you follow the terms of the license. Most people still pay for open source because they want the software support.

    MikeEE

  11. Gosh Michael Mann’s sidekick gets to vet earth and environmental science reports! What a coincidence! I wonder how that could have come about?

    Just as well all of those jolly thorough inquiries cleared all the nice climate scientists from any wrongdoing, like gate-keeping and corrupting the peer review process, for instance, or some people might have jumped to bad conclusions.

  12. US$1350 is steep unless you write it into the grant. What’s so costly that the article processing charge has to be so high? It looks like Nature is trying to subsidize its other operations by selling quick publication. And if the authors retain copyright, why can’t some entrepreneur emulate the effort at lower cost? What value do they add besides some name recognition?

  13. *Rigorous — peer review by at least one member of the academic community
    (One academic who, in his best interest, surprisingly agrees with the author)

    Looks like a fast-track, backdoor way to keep the AGW crapola express at full speed.

  14. I don´t like PLoS one.

    First, submitting a paper is costly. Only rich labs can afford.

    Second, some papers have dubious quality. I recall reading a couple of papers from PLoS about models that predict extinction of species in like 50-100 years due to global warming. No empirical data was shown, obviously. It was feeding a computer model with the output of another computer model. The negation of science as an experimental discipline.

    I think one of those PLoS papers made an article at WUWT not long ago.

  15. I once read a paper by a total QUACK… called, “On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies”. Published in some obscure journal. Made a bunch of radical claims.

    The MORON didn’t cite any references, and it was published because the EDITOR of the “Journal” thought it had merit!

    I’m having a hard time remembering the name of that QUACK, but I recall his theories. Pretty radical. He said you gained weight if you were moving. Any clue as to the author???

    Max

  16. Huckleberry Finn never gave away his “huckster” secrets . . . that took Mark Twain who had to use a pen name to do it.

  17. You can’t pay to publish in the best journals. If its not up to it, it doesn’t get in.
    So this is bottom fishing for funds.
    Just because there’s a book in all of us doesn’t make any of them worth reading.
    Peer review by experts in the field or by anon?
    I predict a barrage of trivia and small mindedness.
    Have they learned nothing from Wikipedia?

  18. “I once read a paper by a total QUACK… called, “On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies”. Published in some obscure journal. Made a bunch of radical claims.

    The MORON didn’t cite any references, and it was published because the EDITOR of the “Journal” thought it had merit!

    I’m having a hard time remembering the name of that QUACK, but I recall his theories. Pretty radical. He said you gained weight if you were moving. Any clue as to the author???

    Max”

    Come on, Einstein, I’m not buying that story. You sound like a Planck, Max.

    ;-)

  19. Oh goodie, now Nature is advertising that science is for sale. Gee, I wonder if the people who pay this bribe (esp. repeatedly) will be fast-tracked for publication in Nature too?

  20. AngusPangus says:
    January 26, 2011 at 9:18 am
    “I once read a paper by a total QUACK… called, “On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies”. Published in some obscure journal. Made a bunch of radical claims.

    The MORON didn’t cite any references, and it was published because the EDITOR of the “Journal” thought it had merit!

    I’m having a hard time remembering the name of that QUACK, but I recall his theories. Pretty radical. He said you gained weight if you were moving. Any clue as to the author???

    Max”

    Come on, Einstein, I’m not buying that story. You sound like a Planck, Max.

    ;-)

    I found a copy of that paper here:
    http://ftp.fourmilab.ch/etexts/einstein/specrel/specrel.pdf

  21. To my mind the “borrowing” of the term “Open Source” identifies them as self confessed charlatans.

  22. @ thegoodlocust

    I think the use would more likely be, if it was turned down by a quick review process, then getting into a longer process (a real peer review) means the initial reviewer will have to be included to explain why it was rejected and communicate that to the larger group.

    As pointed out, if that person is on a certain Team, then it will a) increase their standing as a reviewer and b) put them in a position to see where really ‘dangerous’ papers are, invest time in blocking them so they will not see publication in well read journals.

    None of this would be a problem if Nature (etc) did not have standing orders to promote certain viewpoints. Same thing with the BBC and New Scientist (which appear to have identical editorial policies: include a genuflection to AGW or it doesn’t get into the medium.).

    I am co-authoring a paper now (as a contributor) and it is replete with all sorts of GW phrases (not AGW) to ensure easy passage into print. They are not my words but clearly there is a general consensus by academics how to play the system. I think it was always there it is just that this time they want control and control of your wallet.

    The best answer is of course to create new and reputable journals without bias or or an overweening agenda tied back to pressure groups punching above their weight.

  23. “Earth and Environmental Sciences, Lee Kump, Penn State University, USA”

    Like others here have noted, this is the first and only tip off required to reveal that this thing is a total joke.

  24. All of those whom have significantly advanced scientific knowledge were considered to be “quacks” in their day. “Consensus science” has never been right, matter of fact.

    Scientists proclaim, engineers and inventors disdain such proclamations by scientists.

  25. Great. At the first glance I like their ideas to renew scientific publishing. Keeping the papers behind the pay wall is not a good idea. Published papers should be open for everyone. Review fee encourages the reviewers to be faster and good professors have an incentive to take part in the peer-review process. There is obviously a moral hazard for the reviewer to accepts bad papers, but the publishing company can select the reviewers and avoid lazy and dishonest ones.

    Originality and technical validity are exactly the points that must be addressed. To get your research report published you must have done some real research and done it properly. That is enough. Ad hominems and plain opinions should be rejected. Evaluating the contribution is subjective and trying to keep a tight filter does not add value in a World of search engines. Good research will be found from larger masses of papers.

  26. So that’s what they’re gonna try to redeem ’em self to not be seen as “popular nature”. :p

    At least with popular mechanic the reader could actually try the validity of popular stuff in their own homes.

  27. Obviously many people here have never published a scientific article.

    “You can’t pay to publish in the best journals. If its not up to it, it doesn’t get in.
    So this is bottom fishing for funds.”
    “Oh goodie, now Nature is advertising that science is for sale. Gee, I wonder if the people who pay this bribe (esp. repeatedly) will be fast-tracked for publication in Nature too?”
    “Can anyone say “Vanity publishing”?”

    It is VERY COMMON for journals to charge a fee to offset their costs. Google “page charges” journal and you will get pages of hits about the costs of publishing in various journals.

    For example, Wikipedia comes up as one of the first links: ” Many academic journals are subsidized by universities or professional organizations, and do not exist to make a profit, however, they often accept advertising, page and image charges from authors to pay for production costs. …. Currently, there is a movement in higher education encouraging open access, either via self archiving, whereby the author deposits his paper in a repository where it can be searched for and read, or via publishing it in a free open access journal, which does not charge for subscriptions, being either subsidized or financed with author page charges.”

  28. It’s actually very easy to setup a scientific journal site complete with publication and peer review. It can all be done on open source (and free) software.

  29. Reed-Elsevier (REN on Amsterdam, REL on London, ENL on NYSE) is the largest publisher of scientific and academic journals in the world. With a market capitalization of $9 billion USD, and annual profits of $300 million, it shows there is a huge market for vanity publishing of the publish or perish kind.

    Publishing can be done cheap. However, if peer review is desired or needed: if you figure a senior US PhD.s time is worth $50-$200 USD per hour, and 10-40 hours to review and correct, that comes to $500-$8,000 USD for one reviewer. I’m sure one could find PhDs willing to review academic papers for $10-$20 USD per hour, and if you add in the subscription income, one could seriously undercut Elsevier and Nature’s rates. Any venture capitalists out there?

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