An Unholy Trinity?

The "big three" journals, Nature, Science, and Cell, undoubtedly have some say in the development and perception of science. But what exactly is their impact? How long-lasting is it? Is it helpful or damaging? The story on page 59 of this issue considers how competition among these journals for high-profile breakthroughs may harm the scientific process, and another on page 76 profiles one of the architects of the current state of affairs. Is it now time, in the best interests of science, to d

Richard Gallagher
Oct 13, 2002

The "big three" journals, Nature, Science, and Cell, undoubtedly have some say in the development and perception of science. But what exactly is their impact? How long-lasting is it? Is it helpful or damaging?

The story on page 59 of this issue considers how competition among these journals for high-profile breakthroughs may harm the scientific process, and another on page 76 profiles one of the architects of the current state of affairs. Is it now time, in the best interests of science, to dismantle the hegemony? Here are my thoughts, but bear in mind that having spent the past decade at Science and Nature, I may be institutionalized.

Among the charges brought in our stories are that too much power is concentrated in the hands of a few individuals; that these individuals, namely the editors, don't know what they are doing; or that they do know what they...