“If you were stranded on a desert island,” as the proverbial question goes, “which 10 books would you want to have with you?”
The Scientist recently asked itself this question, but with a twist: “Which 10 journals publishing orig nal research reports would a cast-away life scientist wish to have regularly air-dropped to his or her island?”
Certainly, the answer depends on the individual scientist, but one method of pursuing a general answer might be to identify those journals that exhibit the highest impact, a measure of how frequently the “average article” in a given journal is cited.
The accompanying table lists the 10 highest-impact journals in 1988. (Review journals, such as those in the Annual Review series, were excluded in this survey. For a variety of reasons, review journals, which contain articles summarizing the work of many investigators, tend to be cited more frequently than journals publishing original research,...