Nature is one of the most prominent scientific journals, first published on 4 November 1869. Although most scientific journals are now highly specialized, Nature is idiosyncratic (along with other weekly journals such as Science and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) in still publishing original research articles across a wide range of scientific fields. In most fields of scientific research, many of the most important new advances each year are published as articles in Nature while significant work published elsewhere is often reported in Nature as letters.
Research scientists are the primary audience for the journal, but article summaries and accompanying articles make many of the most important articles understandable for the general public (and to scientists in other fields). Toward the front of each issue are editorials and news and feature articles on issues of general interest to scientists, including current affairs, science funding, business, scientific ethics and research breakthroughs. There are also sections on books and arts. The remainder of the journal consists mostly of research articles which are often dense and highly technical. Due to strict limits on the length of articles, in many cases the printed text is actually a summary of the work in question with many details relegated to accompanying supplemental material on the journal's website.
Nature was first established in England in 1869 by Sir Norman Lockyer. Although prior to the existence of Nature several scientific journals were in circulation in England in the second half of the 19th century, Nature was the only journal to survive. The relatively progressive, controversial nature of the journal’s first articles and writers may have contributed to its success, as many early publications included evolutionary theory and Darwinism, at the time a divisive issue due to its radical nature and its religious implications. Former editor Sir John Maddox has suggested that it was Nature’s more journalistic style of writing and publication that allowed for its triumph.
Nature family of journals
In addition to Nature itself, there are three families of Nature-branded journals published by the Nature Publishing Group:
- Nature research journals:
- Nature Biotechnology
- Nature Cell Biology
- Nature Chemical Biology
- Nature Genetics
- Nature Immunology
- Nature Materials
- Nature Medicine
- Nature Methods
- Nature Nanotechnology (started October 2006)
- Nature Neuroscience
- Nature Photonics (Launching in January 2007 ; ISSN 1749-4885 ; EISSN 1749-4893 ; website)
- Nature Physics
- Nature Structural and Molecular Biology
- Nature Reviews journals:
- Nature Clinical Practice journals:
- Nature Clinical Practice Cardiovascular Medicine
- Nature Clinical Practice Endocrinology and Metabolism
- Nature Clinical Practice Gastroenterology and Hepatology
- Nature Clinical Practice Neurology
- Nature Clinical Practice Nephrology
- Nature Clinical Practice Oncology
- Nature Clinical Practice Rheumatology
- Nature Clinical Practice Urology
- European Journal of Human Genetics
- Browne, Charles Darwin: The Power of Place, p. 248
- "The Nature Centenary Dinner," p. 13
- (1953). "Richard Arman Gregory, 1864-1952." Obituary Notices of Fellows of the Royal Society 8(22).
- (1970). "The 'Nature' Centenary Dinner." Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London 25(1).
- (2006). "Nature Publishing Group: History." Retrieved November 15, 2006, from http://npg.nature.com/npg/servlet/Content?data=xml/02_history.xml&style=xml/02_history.xsl
- (2006). "About the journal: Nature." Retrieved November 20, 2006, from http://www.nature.com/nature/about/index.html
- Barton, R. (1996). "Just Before Nature: The Purposes of Science and the Purposes of Popularization in Some English Popular Science Journals of the 1860s." Annals of Science 55: 33.
- Browne, J. (2002). Charles Darwin: The Power of Place. New York, Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.
- Siegel, R. S. a. G. E. (2006). "A Cooperative Publishing Model for Sustainable Scholarship " Journal of Scholarly Publishing 37(2): 13.
- The Nature website
- An electronic version of the first issue from 1869
- The Nature Reviews website
- Nature Clinical Practice website
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