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My lab:
Yesterday evening Martin Fenner's blog alerted me to a press release from Nature Publishing Group. The title of his post was 'New journal "Nature ONE" launched today' and indeed the press release said:
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.
This is to be compared with the information from PLoS One:
PLoS ONE will rigorously peer-review your submissions and publish all papers that are judged to be technically sound. Judgments about the importance of any particular paper are then made after publication by the readership (who are the most qualified to determine what is of interest to them).
Even the publishing fees are identical, down to the US$: 1350 per published article.

Someone tell me it's April fool's day, or is Paul Bocuse really opening a McDonaldson fast-food franchise? grin.png

Is this the same Nature Publishing Group that wrote just over two years ago in "PLoS stays afloat with bulk publishing":
Public Library of Science (PLoS), the poster child of the open-access publishing movement, is following an haute couture model of science publishing — relying on bulk, cheap publishing of lower quality papers to subsidize its handful of high-quality flagship journals.
a cash cow in the form of PLoS One, an online database that PLoS launched in December 2006. PLoS One uses a system of 'light' peer-review to publish any article considered methodologically sound.
“There's so much in PLoS One that it is difficult to judge the overall quality and, simply because of this volume, it's going to be considered a dumping ground, justified or not, says John Hawley, executive director of the free-access Journal of Clinical Investigation. “But nonetheless, it introduces a sub-standard journal to their mix.”
See Bora's post for all the reactions back then.

I applaud the scientific attitude of the Nature Publishing Group: go wherever the data leads you! If the data prove you wrong, change your opinion. I for one welcome the move by the for-profit publisher who I think is the most progressive, innovative and forward-looking of all the traditional publishers. Their support of Creative Commons is also to be commended, another piece of evidence that not all commercial publishers are inherently evil.

Unfortunately, Nature Publishing Group doesn't disclose any financial information, so we don't know if they had to launch the new journal to stay afloat, or if they just thought it was a good addition to their portfolio. Given their attempt to hike subscription rates by 400% at the financially beaten University of California, one may speculate that the Nature Publishing Group is facing the same financial problems as much of the publishing industry except Elsevier (solid growth rates and several record profits over the last 5 years - some call it Evilsevier). Or is Nature Publishing Group also trying to maximize profits as everyone else? I guess we'll never know and will be left to speculations.

Full disclosure: I volunteer time as Academic Editor for PLoS One.
Posted on Friday 07 January 2011 - 09:19:04 comment: 0

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