In the beauty contest that is the annual citation report from ISI, linkurl:Nature; has tripped and fallen off the stage. Having been the top journal in 2004 with an impact factor of 31.9, they slipped marginally behind linkurl:Science; and linkurl:Cell; in 2005. But the latest figures, for 2006, show a gulf in linkurl:impact factors; . Science comes in at 30.0, Cell at 29.2 and Nature at 26.7. The numbers are calculated as the total number of citations in the year 2006 to papers published in the years 2004 and 2005, divided by the number of papers published in 2004 and 2005. That's three-and-a-half fewer citations on average for a Nature paper versus a Science paper. It is hard to say why this gap has opened up. It doesn't necessarily reflect a decline in the quality of papers published. I wonder if any readers have noticed a deterioration in Nature? I...

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