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Science, Nature Team Up on New Journal

Science and Nature have ended their historic battle for the world’s best basic science articles, agreeing to cease their respective publications and co-launch an open-access, online-only journal with an innovative democratic peer-review system, sources at both journals revealed this morning.

"The difficult economics of scientific publishing today did play a role in this decision, but we also saw an opportunity to create a Web 3.0 basic sciences journal for the next generation of researchers," says Havel Affe, the geneticist who has agreed to become the journal’s editor-in-chief. "We predict the journal will become the dominant force in scientific publishing."

The new journal will be called either Scientific Nature or Natural Science depending on the result of a text-message vote by the scientific community. (Standard mobile charges may apply and each vote costs $1 or £1 depending on country of origin.)

In a novel revenue system funded by a grant from Facebook, preprints will be posted on a special social networking Web site where scientists registered in the newly created Faculty of a Million (trademark pending) can vote for acceptance by pressing a "Like" thumbs-up button or reject the paper by pressing a “Dislike” button. Each vote will cost $1/£1 and multiple votes are allowed. "There's been criticism that peer review is too elitist, so we're using the wisdom of the crowds," says Aima Jouk, the journal’s new managing editor.

Another innovation will be a ground-breaking iPad application that will allow scientists to view charts, images, and figures in 3-D. And readers will have the option of Skyping authors directly to share their thoughts and feelings about a paper simply by clicking that author's name. As an added incentive, the first 100 new subscribers will get free genome scans.

"It's about time these two publishing powerhouses joined forces," says Rick Rolling, a magazine consultant based in Boulder, Colorado. "I thought I was going to have to buy two iPads," he says. "Now, I just have to buy one."

The new journal officially launches next month, with an issue date of 1 April. Until then, you can preview it here.