The urge to start a science journal strikes often—often enough, if stretched out over the course of a year, for one to be launched every working day and most Saturdays as well. In 1987, according to the Institute for Scientific Information’s Current Contents selection staff, at least 302 new science publications first saw the light of day. The staff says “at least” on the presumption that there were some that they didn’t see.

Many of these new ventures, of course, come from such giants of science publishing as Pergamon, ier, and so forth. But with careful attention to marketing and a lot of fussing with printers, it is certainly possible for an individual working scientist (like me) to indulge the journal urge and start a publication (like mine, Science Software), keep it alive for a couple of years, and eventually sell it to a big publishing company. Unlikely as it...

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