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.