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Nature Publisher Launches PLoS ONE Competitor 62

linhares writes "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.'"
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Nature Publisher Launches PLoS ONE Competitor

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  • by JanneM ( 7445 ) on Monday January 24, 2011 @06:26PM (#34987526) Homepage

    It being Nature group is no guarantee of success or high impact. And we have no idea if they are in it for the long haul or if they'll bail in a few years if the uptake is low. I'd just wait a couple of years and see what happens to it before submitting a paper there. Meanwhile, PLoS has a good impact factor, large readership and doesn't have a limit on the number of accepted papers so that's a better option for now.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Oldtimers gonna love PLoS' response: []
    • Re:Wait and See (Score:5, Informative)

      by linhares ( 1241614 ) on Monday January 24, 2011 @07:43PM (#34988436)
      Another problem that lots of people have brought up is the CC non commercial license that Nature is using. This could hamper the Open Access movement (and an author's ultimate impact). Some people go as far as to claim that non-commercial licenses aren't Open Access at all [] and can indeed hinder progress down the line. At any rate, ONE has at least three years until Nature gets its report card (=impact factor). PLoS ONE is already the largest journal in the world (by volume), and if it can maintain quality, the Public Lib of Science should be safely sustainable in the long run. But make no mistake, Nature is coming here with guns blazing [].
      • Another problem that lots of people have brought up is the CC non commercial license that Nature is using.

        Whoa, I just read through the license terms - what do these actually mean? It is unclear to me whether the license only covers the text itself, or the scientific results described in the text. In other words, if I work at a private biotech company, and someone publishes a new and interesting technique relevant to my current research, am I not allowed to download the paper and apply it to my work? Or

        • Copyright in a journal never extends to preventing others using the work - only to using the particular presentation & formatting used in the journal. You can read it, go "huh, that's interesting" and use the technique to your heart's content, on any of the licenses NPG offer, even their classic, non-CC versions. Any suggestion otherwise is pretty clearly FUD. Of course, your rights to reuse techniques are potentially covered by patents and the like, if the authors have sought them before publishing the
          • Okay, that makes more sense. So, basically, the argument over whether NPG's use of "non-commercial" licenses is truly "open-access" or not is indeed one of those Stallman-esque battles over purity, and not something that affects the vast majority of users (i.e. scientists). I'm not sure this contributes anything to the debate over scientific publishing models; the real problem with the current system is extortionate subscription (or per-article) costs, which put much of the literature essentially off-limi

        • This isn't an "FSF-style ideological crusade", it's Nature Publishing Group saying "if we can't make money off of this no one else should either". If they had used the FSF Free Document License [] commercial use would be permitted.

          In other words, if I work at a private biotech company, and someone publishes a new and interesting technique relevant to my current research, am I not allowed to download the paper and apply it to my work?

          The process the researcher used may or may not be covered under a patent or other license; however, that has nothing to do with the license of the document itself. To quote the most restrictive CC-NC license:

          You may not exercise any of the rights granted to You in Section 3 above in any manner that is primarily intended for or directed toward commercial advantage or private monetary compensation.

          To translate the legalese slightly:
          "You may not [distribute the work] in a

      • by JanneM ( 7445 )

        Well, almost all journal papers out there are under strict copyright - you have no rights whatsoever to use those texts, commercially or not, other than the normal exceptions for citation and commentary. So as far as the paper itself goes, this is already more permissive than almost any other journal out there.

        And the licence applies to the paper itself, and Creative Commons in general applies to creative works, not scientific results - that kind of thing is generally covered by patents. So the results them

    • That's all that's really needed.
    • It being Nature group is no guarantee of success or high impact.

      Given the press release which mentions that the publication is supposedly for "natural sciences" which includes physics, geology, chemistry etc. but then goes on to say that all articles will be deposited in PubMed Central which is for "biomedical and life sciences". If that is the level of thought behind this journal then I have to say that it is remarkably unimpressive.

  • by Palmsie ( 1550787 ) on Monday January 24, 2011 @06:45PM (#34987794)

    It seems journal editors have finally entered the technological age. Congrats. A similar idea they have yep to adopt (at least in social science) is a journal for null findings. The closet drawer problem still hasn't gone away. []

    • I don't think having a publication in which to submit those results is going to change much though. For one thing, no one wants to be the guy who expected one thing, got a few results to the contrary, published that negative result, and then it was later proven that result was wrong and the researcher was right initially. Especially when it can negatively impact your results. "We have this grand model, and we may have disproven part of it."

      Moreover, the number of controls you're willing to do to ensure y

    • I think you're right on the mark. This paper, ""Positive" Results Increase Down the Hierarchy of the Sciences" [], seems to show that people in, say, Physics or Chemistry have been publishing negative results, while Social Scientists haven't. Truly the time to open up those closet drawers.
  • Sorry Nature (Score:5, Insightful)

    by blind biker ( 1066130 ) on Monday January 24, 2011 @06:45PM (#34987796) Journal

    ...but fuck you. Will you make your oldest articles available for download? I still can't get over that 1928 article on capillary effect that is STILL BEHIND A PAYWALL! Nature embodies all that is wrong with scientific journals. Not the worst, but definitely emblematic.

    • Nature embodies all that is wrong with scientific journals.

      Well, have you heard of the PRISM fiasco? Nature PG is a saint compared to those guys. You can get some starting pointers here: []

      • My understanding was that Nature had its dirty fingers deep in the PRISM initiative. So it's not better or worse - Nature is a supporter of the same.

    • it's worse. This systems appears to require a $1350 "Article Processing Charge" for the authors. Talk about milking it.
      • by Timmmm ( 636430 )

        So does PLoS One. In fact most journals allow you to pay $2k or so to make your article open access. PLoS One hasn't fixed the system at all, and neither will this.

        I would suggest:

        1. A more reasonable fee - $100 maybe.
        2. Allow commenting, annotating and rating articles.
        3. 'Trusted reviewers', i.e. people who are experts in the field (as far as it is possible to tell). Their comments would be highlighted and their ratings more significant.

  • by DriedClexler ( 814907 ) on Monday January 24, 2011 @06:53PM (#34987888)

    I thought PNAS was stupid because it looks like you're supposed to pronounce it P-NAS, which sounds like "penis", but no one listened to my warning.

    • In that case it's a damn shame that the seminal paper on Proton Enhanced Nuclear Induction Spectroscopy was actually published in Chemical Physics Letters. This is probably because they never bothered submitting it to Science. As we all know, PNAS = Papers Not Accepted by Science

      • I for one find it awesome that many people are trying Science, Nature, or PNAS, then, if rejected, go for PLoS ONE. Here's a case of an, IMO, awesome paper that was originally submitted to PNAS [] (may have to google the url to get through) but ended up in PLoS ONE []. This is the sort of paper that shows the power of computer science applied to social science.
      • In that case it's a damn shame that the seminal paper on Proton Enhanced Nuclear Induction Spectroscopy was actually published in Chemical Physics Letters.

        You just had to, didn't you?

    • I don't know if it's hilarious or says something about me (or both), but I read that as "no one listened to my wanking."

      I was puzzled why you seemed upset.

  • So this is mainly a long-awaited response to BioMed Central and its subsequent acquisition by Springer ( and others like it (there are a few) using the Open Access model prototyped by Gene Garfield, Vitek Tracz and others, surely. Nothing new, merely late bandwagon-jumping, surely.
  • At least in the fields I pay attention to (mainly statistics) the best open access journal is []. I thought it was also the highest profile free computer science journal.

    Most people use it for publishing articles while they get them published in a peer reviewed journal, but they have been the main publisher for some very high profile work, such as Perelman's papers [] proving the Poincare conjecture.

    • ArXiv is not an open-access journal. The phrase "open-access journal" has a very specific meaning, and using arXiv as an example of such does nothing but muddy the waters. Specifically, putting an article up on it doesn't really count as publishing -- you don't put "deposited on arXiv" on your CV. Open-access journals such as those published by PLoS and BMC have the same editorial and peer-review standards as traditional journals (higher standards, in many cases) and their success has scared the hell out

      • by Z8 ( 1602647 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @01:30AM (#34990778)

        YourI take your point that is not peer reviewed and the PLoS journal are. However, is definitely "open access". Besides obviously meeting the definition [], even their web page [] advertises it as open access. Also, not all journals are peer-reviewed.

        Maybe you are arguing that "open access journal" means something different than "open access"+"journal", but who is muddying the waters at that point? It's easier just to say that is not peer-reviewed while some other open access sites are.

        PRISM may be wrong that open access = no peer review, but it's also a mistake to assume open access = peer review. Open access and peer review are just two different things.

        • Of course arXiv is open-access, but only in the same sense as everything on the internet that isn't deliberately locked up. And in terms of academic publishing, "journal" pretty much implies "peer-reviewed" -- while it is true that not every journal is peer-reviewed, those that aren't peer-reviewed really aren't a meaningful part of the discussion. In short, arXiv isn't a journal at all (by any definition) and I don't think anyone involved with it would claim that it is. OTOH, it wouldn't surprise me at

        • I read his argument to be more along the lines that ArXiv is not a "journal" rather than it being a debate about open access. On their main page (the one you linked to) they describe themselves as an e-print repository (i.e a collection of preprints) rather than a Journal.

          I'm surprised to see that PLoS-one is peer-reviewed. I thought that it wasn't last time that I checked. Is that a policy that they've changed, or is my memory just crap?

      • This is kinda a side note, but I'm in physics and I certainly DO list papers posted to the arXiv on my CV. Especially when they're under review at a journal. I list published papers both with journal references and arXiv numbers and obviously those that are 'pending' I give arXiv references for. I agree that it's NOT the same as a peer reviewed journal, but it certainly offers better access for a lot of people.

        The problem with the lack of open access is that it means that researchers more and more often wil

  • by Garwulf ( 708651 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @12:49AM (#34990604) Homepage

    If this is the future of academic journal publishing, I'll take the past, please. I don't mind accessibility, and I don't mind creative commons, but I do mind it when the journal reaches a point of being a parasite. I'm talking about author fees.

    As far as I know, most journals pay for their publications via subscriptions from university libraries. They don't do it using a vanity press model, where they take money from the authors for publication. Both of the online journals mentioned here - PLoS and Scientific Reports, are charging scientists over a thousand dollars for publication.

    I'm sorry, but speaking as an author, a researcher (who has co-written a peer reviewed journal article waiting for publication in a Classics journal), and a publisher, this is just wrong. It's taking advantage of academics who are desperate to publish in a "publish or perish" environment, and relieving them of their money. And, because the journal article authors are paying for publication, it will likely carry a taint that may undermine the legitimacy of any peer review the article passed.

    Frankly, if this sort of parasitic business model is the projected future of academic publishing, I think it's best if it's skipped. The old model was better.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Lots of the commercial journals charge page fees. Academic researchers (it doesn't sound like you are one, even though you have a paper in press) get those fees paid by their departments. They don't come out of pocket. For the research institutions, it's just one of the many expenses associated with research, including lab equipment, secretarial support, photocopying, scotch tape, etc, more than retrieved by the subscriptions savings fees at the other end. Also, PLOS One waives the publishing fee for au

  • FTA:

    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

    So, I'll pay (roughly) my net income for a single month to publish, of which $20 goes to CC? This is ridiculous!

  • Would it really have hurt to explain what PLoS ONE:stands for just once?
  • 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.'

    Yes! It is ironic.

  • The importance of the PLoS is that the content is freely available. This is invaluable for anyone interested in trying to understand scientific advances, but not interested, or not able, to pay $30+ per article. The PLoS means that I can review complete text articles with supporting documents, rather than rely on press releases for information. This means I can write a better review ( [] - focussed on marine science), which I hope makes for better public understanding and access

To write good code is a worthy challenge, and a source of civilized delight. -- stolen and paraphrased from William Safire