An advertising colleague asked a potential client if he was familiar with The Scientist. "Yes, of course," the man responded. "It's the only real scientific magazine, a kind of Playboy for geeks."
I have to admit to being delighted with this description. While I do not consider our readers geeks, nor am I an avid fan of Hugh Hefner, the phrase has connotations of a "wanna read," and that's exactly our aim with The Scientist.
Plenty of science publications around have aspirations and pretensions of being "must reads." We won't be joining them. Our aim is to entertain, enlighten and occasionally surprise. And with the material that we work with--the biological sciences--that shouldn't be too hard. Starting with this issue, we're introducing numerous features to help keep you hooked, to make you "wanna read."
In the new UpFront section, you'll find some of the liveliest presentations of scientific material anywhere. It's an eclectic mix of surveys, quotes, charts, dates, guides and stories--some serious, some lighthearted. Also new is the Feature section, which will highlight topics of special importance. The inaugural: the 50th anniversary of the discovery of the DNA structure, with distinguished writers taking personal angles on historical, current, and future aspects of nucleic acids, genetics, and genomics.
The guts of each issue will continue to be the Research, Lab Consumer, and Profession sections. Research is where you'll find the latest discoveries in context; Lab Consumer is where to look for cutting-edge laboratory technologies; and Profession brings you the whole story on personal and work issues that affect life scientists.
Each issue now finishes with Closing Bell; a wry, personal view of science. Among the regular contributors will be award-winning journalists, the head of research at a major pharma, and at least one Nobel laureate.
We're just as excited about the continuing changes on our Web site, www.the-scientist.com. If you haven't been following our daily news service, you're missing out. I believe that The Scientist's coverage is the best there is. For several months, we've been publishing three to five analytical, research, and policy stories each day, in many cases breaking important news not covered elsewhere. You can sign up for free daily or weekly news updates by going to our Web site and editing your account preferences.
Although much has changed over the years, the magazine essentially stays true to the original vision of founder Eugene Garfield. In the launch issue (October 20, 1986) he wrote: "... up to now scientists have had no equivalent to the trade papers of other professions. Physicians and attorneys have access to such papers, which keep them up to date on developments that affect their professional lives. Don't scientists need the same kind of information, in the same kind of format? We think the answer to that question is Yes, and so we are publishing The Scientist."
The resounding response is still "Yes."
As ever, I am interested in feedback on the content, as well as proposals for topics and sections that you'd like to see us cover. Best wishes for the new year!
Richard Gallagher, Editor (firstname.lastname@example.org)