Professor Randy Shekman, winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, has pledged to no longer publish his scholarship in the “luxury” journals Nature, Cell, and Science because he feels their editorial and publishing practices – which value citation counts, impact factors, and popularity at the expense of scholarly rigor – actually damage science.
Schekman, an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, a Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California at Berkeley, and an editor for the open access journal eLife, writes in The Guardian:
There is a better way, through the new breed of open-access journals that are free for anybody to read, and have no expensive subscriptions to promote. Born on the web, they can accept all papers that meet quality standards, with no artificial caps. Many are edited by working scientists, who can assess the worth of papers without regard for citations.
Funders and universities, too, have a role to play. They must tell the committees that decide on grants and positions not to judge papers by where they are published. It is the quality of the science, not the journal’s brand, that matters. Most importantly of all, we scientists need to take action. Like many successful researchers, I have published in the big brands, including the papers that won me the Nobel prize for medicine, which I will be honoured to collect tomorrow. But no longer. I have now committed my lab to avoiding luxury journals, and I encourage others to do likewise.
For more details, please see the Dec. 9th The Guardian story here.