R.I.P. The Scientist. Economics Kills Another Magazine

The Scientist

Biomedical researchers have lost a respected source of information—and science journalists have lost yet another publication for which they can write—with the news that The Scientist will stop publishing immediately. The news comes just after the magazine celebrated its 25th anniversary with a special issue.

The Scientist was launched as a bi-weekly newspaper in 1986 by Eugene Garfield, founder of the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI, now Thomson Reuters). Based in Washington, D.C., it soon moved to Philadelphia, where ISI was located, and later was transformed into a monthly print magazine accompanied by daily online news. But Vitek Tracz, the scientific publishing entrepreneur who bought the publication and who remains its CEO, confirmed today to ScienceInsider that with "great sadness, … we had to close The Scientist." In an e-mail, Tracz further writes:

The only reason is economic - we simply could not find a way to make it pay. There is no other reason. It has wonderful and talented staff, an audience that likes it, and it succeeded in keeping high editorial and production standards for many years. The world is turning away from traditional magazines, and our dependence on page advertising brought us to this point. There is alas nothing much more to say, except to acknowledge the original vision of Eugene Garfield, and the work of the many wonderful people over the last 25 years.

One of the original champions of the open-access movement, Tracz has previously said that he bought The Scientist in part to help promote that effort, although the editor at the time, Richard Gallagher, largely resisted advocacy. In recent years, Tracz has focused much of his attention on the Faculty of 1000 Web site, an effort to apply "post-publication peer review" to scientific literature using selected researchers in a myriad of disciplines. Just this week, the website launched the F1000 Journal Factor, a new attempt to rank scientific journals that offers a potential alternative to the traditional and controversial metric known as impact factor. Over the past year or so, Tracz had sought to more closely integrate the Faculty of 1000 with The Scientist.