Nature mission statement update

Since I spend a fair bit of time excoriating publishers, it’s only fair that I take note of those who act in good faith. In response to the blogospheric reaction to the Nature mission statement, Maxine Clarke asked the appropriate persons to update the NPG web page (as you remember, Bob, the journal site already made clear the necessary distinction between the original and updated statements). Accordingly, the NPG page now reads:

Nature’s original mission statement was published for the first time on 11 November 1869. The journal’s original mission statement was revised in 2000. The original mission statement is reproduced below:

and there follows the same version of the original that was on the page last time I looked.
It’s nitpicking to note that I prefer the way the journal does it, with the updated statement immediately visible and a link to the pdf of the original. The new page removes any confusion as to which mission statement now obtains.
Maxine also asked for the print edition of the journal to follow the online version and make both versions of the mission statement obvious. This will necessarily take more time than updating a web page, and I don’t have the latest Nature to hand so I don’t know if the print change has gone through yet. I will update again as soon as I find out.
So, many thanks to Maxine for responding to somewhat barbed criticism in such a constructive manner.

3 thoughts on “Nature mission statement update

  1. Thanks for your gracious post, Bill, much appreciated!
    Today I posted about Word 2007 — I don’t know if you are interested in that topic, but if so you may know that W2007 is incompatible with many publishers’ automatic editing tools and tracking systems. Microsoft were not being responsive to our admittedly highly technical questions (W2007 was probably not designed with the average ecological or astrophysical model in mind). Well, now they have started talking, thanks to Howard Ratner of NPG who set up a meeting between various of the parties. I hope the end result will be that we will be able to process W2007 manuscripts pretty soon. Howard has posted on Nascent blog about this, which I picked up today for authors on Nautilus.
    here’s Howard’s post: http://blogs.nature.com/wp/nascent/2007/08/microsoft_and_stm_publishers_m.html
    It is nice when people talk instead of shout — well I think so anyway, but I would, wouldn’t I, as I seem to be in the “being shouted at” mode more often than the other way round 😉
    thanks again,
    Maxine.

  2. Maxine, you’re welcome. The blogosphere does generate a lot of heat, but I stick around because (and I guess you feel similarly) it also generates considerable light.
    I didn’t really follow the Word story since (as you might guess) I’m no fan of Microsoft. I use their products as seldom as possible — for instance, these days I use Google Docs for most of my word processing. (Incidentally, you know why they call it “word processing”, right? You’ve seen what a food processor does to food…)
    Despite that (and the fact that I’m not likely to be sending Nature a manuscript any time soon, in Word or any other format!), I’m always happy to see people co-operating instead of competing. Kudos to Howard for making that happen with a famously un-cooperative company!

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