Natural Sciences, the portmanteau journal touted as part of the breakthrough transformative deal inked in January 2019, has finally published its fourth article. This marks the journal’s second research article, and only its second article not authored by one of the editors. The article arrives more than two months after the journal’s last article was published.
The paper deals with the folding and assembly pathways of short peptides, so it looks incremental and specialized, which is fine, but it’s nothing special, a fact which also bears on a larger point.
Factors that may be perceived as difficulties for Natural Sciences — its lateness, having arrived more than a year after it was due, and its pace of publication — aren’t causing anybody any heartburn, it appears. Launching at this limpid pace is unusual, especially for a publisher like Wiley, which you would think would have journal launches down pat by now.
But why does nobody seem to care? Therein lies the tenor of our publishing times.
The laissez-faire approach to Natural Sciences seems to confirm that we’re on the other side of the Product Age — and in this new era, deals are more important than products. (I wrote about this last week.)
Also, measuring the gap between words and deeds is always a worthwhile pursuit, and the initial boasting about Natural Sciences’ importance is reminiscent of the boasting that preceded eLife. Turns out both are “all hat, no cattle,” as a Texan might say.
In any event, here’s to Natural Sciences — two research articles in four months may be a memorable milestone. But the more notable milestone is that it may be the tombstone on the grave of the Product Age it represents, signaling how little people care about anything but getting complicated publishing deals signed.
Other coverage of this nascent journal’s struggles can be found here:
- The DEAL Flagship Journal Is Late
- The Projekt DEAL Journal Surfaces
- The Projekt DEAL Journal Stagnates