Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Will journals refuse to consider submissions from Nature Precedings?

Andrea Gawrylewski, New site pits 'published' vs. 'posted', TheScientist, June 19, 2007.  Excerpt:

Scientists can now post preliminary, non-peer-reviewed findings on a new Nature Web site, but will doing so help -- or hurt -- their odds of getting published and promoted?

Alma Swan, co-founder of Key Perspectives, a scholarly communication consulting firm, said it's still unclear how other scientists will view data published on the new site, called Nature Precedings. If a candidate is being evaluated by a tenure review board and has a high number of citations on Precedings, Swan asked, how much do those citations reflect on the candidate's merit, in comparison to citations in other publications?

It's also too soon to tell how other journals will treat data that appeared on Precedings -- for instance, if they will consider Precedings data as published, and consequently hesitate to publish any later iterations of the findings, Diane Lang, Vice President of the Council of Science Editors, told The Scientist. "I'm sure there will be a variety of responses [to the site] because there are a lot of different models of how publications handle submissions," she said....

Any findings that have appeared in another journal, or have a digital object identifier (DOI), will not be posted [to Precedings], Brenda Riley, one of the curators for the new site, told The Scientist....Clinical trial data are not eligible for posting.

Nature Publishing Group considers material appearing in Precedings completely acceptable for later peer-review publication, and Nature has always been open to publishing material that has appeared somewhere else in pre-print....

At issue is the Ingelfinger Rule, which states that, as a policy, journals will not consider a manuscript for publication if its findings have been submitted or reported elsewhere.

Don Kennedy, editor-in-chief at Science, said in an Email that it's "too early to make any judgment on" whether Science would consider publishing data posted on Nature Precedings....

"Nature has shown itself to be extremely innovative," Swan said. But the first thing most researchers will say is "'we'll share our data, but for doing that we need some kind of accreditation system, some measurable return.' There isn't a system for that at the moment."

Comment.  These issues have long since been settled for researchers and journals in the fields covered by arXiv and other preprint archives.  The trend is toward the decline of the Ingelfinger Rule and the rise of preprint archiving.  But we'll see how this plays out in the fields covered by Nature Precedings (biology, medicine, chemistry, and geoscience) and whether Nature Precedings itself can affect the outcome.  For example, if researchers take to it in numbers even remotely approaching those of arXiv, then journals will have to accommodate it.