Talk:Scientific journal

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This article is within of subsequent release version of Natural sciences.


Nature is more of a "general science" journal than a biology journal. A number of astronomical papers have been published there. -- April


Use template:JSTOR for archives of scientific journals. It takes the parameters, "no" and "name". e.g. for Biometrika:


JSTOR ISSN 00063444

Dunc| 09:47, 14 Apr 2005 (UTC)</nowiki>

Astrophysical Journal[edit]

While I can see the distinction being made, saying that the Astrophysical Journal will take anything so long as it's not "hopelessly and fundamentally flawed" seems a bit of a slur. Not being an astronomer, I can't be entirely sure that it's not some bottom-feeding journal that really does fit this criterion, but either way it does seem harsh. And it gives the reader the impression that all journals other than Nature and Science will take practically anything. Oddly enough, since Nature and Science aim to be at the cutting-edge, they occasionally take onboard something that ultimately turns out to be "hopelessly and fundamentally flawed" (e.g. cold fusion). Anyway, unless anyone objects, can I alter the text around this subject? --Plumbago 09:30, 22 September 2005 (UTC)

I'm glad this was changed (long before I joined), for ApJ is not an example of a journal that will take anything so long as it's not "hopelessly and fundamentally flawed." It's the most prestigious journal in its field and will indeed take all articles from first-rate scientists at the research frontier of astrophysics, but that's not quite the same thing. There are plenty of other nominees for the "will take anything" category, but it would be invidious to mention only a few. Perhaps the comment was made because of its immense size,. but thats true of the top journals in some other fields. DGG 18:59, 25 September 2006 (UTC)

Journal covers[edit]

I've reverted 'cos the new image includes a journal (Phil. Trans.) that, while highly esteemed, isn't mentioned in the article. Phys. Rev. is mentioned in its place. Also, aesthetically, the previous version looked better (well, to me at any rate!). Fatter images (like that added) squash the text horizontally a bit much.

On an unrelated note, what's with the alterations to the journal ordering (Nature, Science, PNAS) that happens from time to time? Is an anonymous editor working for PNAS???

Cheers, --Plumbago 17:58, 27 January 2006 (UTC)

What about the new image? The loading time is reduced significantly and all three journal covers nicely fit into the first section. The other three images are very large (not everyone has a dsl connection, there is quite a difference...) The fact that PNAS appeared in the second section and could not be seen at the first glance was maybe the reason the anonymous editor tried to alter the ordering. Nobbie 13:14, 28 January 2006 (UTC)
I thought the new image was fine, but it included a journal not referenced in the article. Also, as I noted above, it's shape somewhat distorted the article, but that's a personal observation. Another reason for keeping the single images is that periodically people update them with more recent journal covers. That'd would make altering the new image somewhat complicated. You're definitely right about the download time though - presumably smaller original images would be better? As for the PNAS thing, the anonymous changes affected the journal ordering throughout the article - it wasn't just to bump it up the page so it could be seen. Cheers, --Plumbago 15:27, 28 January 2006 (UTC)
Like the new image! Much better. Still has the problem re: updating, but that's not a huge deal. Nice work. Cheers, --Plumbago 16:45, 29 January 2006 (UTC)

Academic vs. scientific[edit]

I am confused with the difference between this article (scientific journal) and the academic journal article. Academic journal refers to scientific journals as a subfield (in relation to the natural sciences, see scientific journal), wich is confirmed by that article: or a broader class of publications, which include scientific journals, see Academic journal. Therefore what leaps to mind is that scientific journals are for natural sciences only, and academic journal is for social sciences. If this is not a correct conclusion that those articles need to be redefined. Second I note that we have a List of scientific journals which lists journals both from natural and social sciences, and that the List of academic journals is a red link. Curiouser and curiouser, but not necessarily more logical. Finally, the difference between a scientific journal and a science magazine should probably be also explain in the lead, as this is yet another dimension of possible confusion.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 16:54, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for the note. I will work on this. The distinction is that the "hard" social sciences work like the sciences, with a reliance on journal articles and a citation network. In the humanities, it's altogether different, of course. Iask, though, whether it is appropriate to have an article on social science journals, or a refer to a discussion of them on the science journals page.

Volumes, issues and pages[edit]

Scientific journals seem to have their own rules for sorting editions of their magazines. For example, ACM SIGGRAPH's Computer Graphics [1] sorts by volumes (currently volume 39), in which there are issues (usually four per volume, always beginning with issue 1 when a new volume starts). Science Magazine on the other side has currently 312 volumes, and the issue numbers are consecutively adding up. Pages are also weirdly enumerated, with starting page number in one issue taking off where the previous issue left (for example Science mag's issue 5771 starting with page 155.

So to come up with my question: Why are scientific journals split in volumes and issues? --Abdull 14:59, 1 June 2006 (UTC)

Volumes are often annual or semi-annual, and are usually composed of several issues. Issues are the means by which papers are regularly published, volumes are a convenient way of grouping issues, usually into a single tome per year (or a few at most). Issues, however, are usually not relevant when it comes to citing work. While some journals still use the issue number, most simply refer to the volume and the page number (since the latter are continuous between issues in the same volume). As for how we got here, I think this structuring is almost certainly a historical artifact of the paper publishing industry. It wants regular output, hence frequent issues (as an aside, scientists want regular output too, but their concerns are usually secondary to those of publishers). I suspect these were then bundled into annual volumes for simple convenience, although it may be so that one could tell a journal's age from its volume number. However, if a historian of science could help us here ... --Plumbago 15:25, 1 June 2006 (UTC)
It's tradition from print. The issue is what gets mailed, the volume is what gets bound. This is a useful distinction in print, for the two have to handled differently in a library--the uunbound issues go in somewhere from which they won't disappear, the bound volumes go the the stacks. In our e-journal period, they serveas convenient chunks--people usually want to look at a reasonable sized batch of articles at a time. But many journals now publish the individual articles on line as they come out. This should all be discussed, but it belongs with academic journal because its general. DGG 08:01, 19 September 2006 (UTC)

No history[edit]

We need a section on the history of the journals, mentioning Philosophical Transactions, one of the first.

That's a very good point. Karol 09:34, 6 August 2006 (UTC)
we certainly do, but its an immense topic, and will take some planning. In the meantime we do have pages on the individual journals, most ofwhich are stubbs.

BTW, what's thecriterion for which ones get an article--historicaly important ones of course, but there are 6,000 current major ones --major enough for web of Knowledge. Now that all journals have websites, I ask how much is necessary. There's usually not much to add to the publisher's description. If we put them in, we have to keep them up to date. DGG 08:01, 19 September 2006 (UTC)


Do we have permission for the images shown? If we do, is it the policy to say so? if we don;t we could probably get, but I am not sure about GFDL. I am open to the position that thumbnails are fair use, .DGG 08:01, 19 September 2006 (UTC)

role in education[edit]

Expanded previous addition of Journal clubs to include role in scientific education more generally, and slight cleanupDGG 19:18, 27 September 2006 (UTC)

Cost and Copyright[edit]

Added mentions of free-access journals (PLoS, JHEP) and gave example of "friendly" copyright transfer policies. 01:31, 29 September 2006 (UTC)

we seem to beworking towards the same purpose, which is good. (pls e-mail) DGG 02:01, 29 September 2006 (UTC)

Do you think it makes sense to mention the Proceedings of Science here? It's an electronic "journal" for conference proceedings, not regular articles, but authors retain copyright to their contributions and the content is published under a Creative Commons licence. This is the first scientific publication I've seen that uses CC. HEL 16:15, 30 September 2006 (UTC)

Why askif you should do it, after you put it in a few hours previously? I happened to see your qy before I saw the new article. -- see talk there for some necessary changes. DGG 03:50, 1 October 2006 (UTC)
Sorry, I don't understand.... I meant, "does it make sense to mention PoS in the Cost and/or Copyright sections of the Scientific journals article?" (since it is a publishing forum for conference proceedings, not primary journal articles). Thanks for the cleanups in the PoS article, BTW. HEL 04:46, 1 October 2006 (UTC)


why is there a lock symbol on JHEP? It's a journal worth its own article, but this is an external link not marked as such; how does one get it removed, so it can be replaced by a appropriate reference and link. Or does the symbol have some other meaning?DGG 04:53, 29 September 2006 (UTC)

I believe the lock is there just because it's an https (encrypted) link. I'm new at this and haven't figured out how to make new pages yet. 13:08, 29 September 2006 (UTC)
I made JHEP its own Wikipedia entry and changed the link. (Had to create an account first.) HEL 04:17, 30 September 2006 (UTC)

change in paragraph about Nature Science et al.[edit]

On what basis was the change made. Nature and Science do look for interest beyond their own specialty, and say so. PRL does not. ?? DGG (talk) 13:01, 11 October 2007 (UTC)

first paragraph[edit]

The first paragraph of the current version states: "they [= scientific journals] generally must supply enough details of an experiment that an independent researcher could repeat the experiment to verify the results". This articulates an extremely narrow and biassed view of what constitutes 'science'. It is not a necessary condition of science that a study is based on an "experiment" and that the experiment can be "repeated". This kind of definition simply strikes out such scientific fields as evolutionary biology from the definition of science - not to even mention many other well-established disciplines such as archaeology, linguistics, etc. Even many current theories in cosmology have not been tested and cannot be tested through an "experiment", but this does not mean that they are not science. Please rephrase this in an unbiassed manner. -- (talk) 23:01, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

I have made some changes to reflect this and also to point out that if calculations are being described, enough information must be provided for others to repeat the calculation. I also edited the paragraph below that. The use of single articles in graduate education is common in the USA, but it less common in others countries where there is often more emphasis on getting students to review a whole area. --Bduke (talk) 23:26, 13 December 2007 (UTC)
I certainly agree with these more inclusive changes. DGG (talk) 04:34, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

Rating in scientific journals[edit]

Hi, how can one identify what authority a certain journal has in a specific field of interest? I'd like to classify a certain amount of articles in my possession, and heard rumours that there is a certain rating system on scientific journals, but I couldn't find anything on such a rating so far. (talk) 12:24, 2 June 2009 (UTC)

You might be thinking of a journal's impact factor. This is a metric of how many times (on the average) articles that appear in a particular journal are cited by other articles. Hope this helps. --PLUMBAGO 12:36, 2 June 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for your help! I think it's just what I was looking for. (talk) 12:56, 2 June 2009 (UTC)

First authorship[edit]

Can we have a section on first authorship? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:23, 15 April 2011 (UTC)

  • Why? Doesn't seem to have anything to do with this article. --Crusio (talk) 20:52, 15 April 2011 (UTC)
    • Back when I was in biology research, the tradition was that the graduate or post-doc student who did most of the work, and wrote the first draft of the article was first author, the senior scientist in who's lab the work was being done and who had provided the funding for the work was last author. The names in between either had something to do with the study (statistical analysis, specialty lab work, etc.) or sometimes just people the senior scientist owed a favor. If the study was industry funded, some companies insist that at least one of their in-house scientists be a co-author, but other companies have policy of no authorship. Nowadays, some journals insist that each authors' contribution is described. David notMD (talk) 13:12, 24 August 2017 (UTC)

RFC: Representative article image[edit]

The image below, of a Nature Physics journal cover was originally placed in the introduction to represent a scientific journal: File:Nature physics nov 2010.gif (deleted as WP:CSD F5; Orphaned non-free media)

It has just been replaced by the current image:

The Nautilus 88.jpg

It appears to me that the second image (Nautilus) is inferior to the first image (Nature Physics cover). I would like to keep the Nature Physics image in the introduction. Comments please (below)--- Steve Quinn (talk) 04:48, 21 April 2011 (UTC)

Rfc comments section[edit]

  • The Nature Physics one seems on the face of it to violate Wikipedia:Non-free content: it is a copyrighted image, used not in any irreplaceable way but merely as a representative. And the fact that it has been replaced by a free image demonstrates conclusively that it can be so replaced. That said, the replacement is a bit plain; maybe we can find something else that is appropriately free but also a bit more decorative? —David Eppstein (talk) 05:12, 21 April 2011 (UTC)
  • I absolutely agree that the Nautilus cover is not very representative and that the Nature cover is vastly preferable. However, I think that the Nature cover was replaced because it is a fair use image and our copyright tag for these images states that they can only be used to illustrate the article on the journal in question, so its use here may be a copyright infringement (I don't know much about these things, so I just say what's in the copyright tag...) If the Nature cover cannot be used, I'd prefer a free image of another high-profile journal, or if that is not available, not an image at all might be better than this. Perhaps somebody could make a picture like this one: File:Research Journals.jpg (but with sci journals instead of the economics journals in that pic)? --Crusio (talk) 05:20, 21 April 2011 (UTC)
  • As mentioned, the Nature Physics image is not usable under fair-use in this article and should probably be deleted. Why the Physics-specific journal cover was included when a primary nature cover is available (or that of science) is also strange... but anyway none of them can be used here. I'll search for a free alternative but I find it unlikely that even open-access journals won't copyright their front covers. Potentially a cover of Science or Nature from a long time ago (whose copyright has expired) could be used, it's worth looking into Jebus989 16:16, 24 April 2011 (UTC)
Actually PloS Biology covers have been uploaded to commons, e.g. PLoS Biol., but it's pretty uninspiring. Better options are a Nature Materials cover (That's been OTRSd) or something a bit quirkier? Jebus989 18:16, 24 April 2011 (UTC)
  • Thanks for suggesting both of these covers. I didn't even think of the ORTS idea, or realize that the first "Nature" cover would be availble at Wikicommons. Hopefully both of these can be used in the first part of the article. This is certainly better than the idea I had in mind. And yes it's kind of cool. Just to be clear - I am not attached to the "Nature Physics" cover above. Furthermore, it will have to be deleted anyway because it is a non-free image. ---- Steve Quinn (talk) 22:12, 24 April 2011 (UTC)
  • The Nature Physics cover is certainly superior to the Natilus cover, for the same reason we wouldn't want to use a childhood picture as the main image for a living adult. However, if there are copyright issues we should avoid it. Certainly there is an open-access journal like PLoS Biology that would have a modern-looking cover but wouldn't have the same copyright issues, isn't there? –CWenger (^@) 02:18, 25 April 2011 (UTC)
I linked to a PLoS Biol. cover above, but it's pretty bland. The majority of their readerbase is online, I've never even seen a print issue, though I know they exist Jebus989 08:26, 3 May 2011 (UTC)
  • This discussion has stalled, but it seems that the consensus is to change the picture. I am therefore, without endorsing it as a permanent solution, changing the picture to the 1st issue of Nature, just because it seems more acceptable than the status quo. Awickert (talk) 08:11, 3 May 2011 (UTC)
I support that move. A historic journal which is presumably out of copyright by now. Martin Hogbin (talk) 17:58, 7 May 2011 (UTC)
Good outcome. John Vandenberg (chat) 21:53, 20 May 2011 (UTC)
  • Clearly the freely licensed and out-of-copyright images can and should in this case be used instead of the non-free images (which by the way, responding to what Jebus989 said, don't have to be deleted if their use in other articles is OK, they only have to be removed from the articles where their use is not justified). But the fundamental misunderstanding here seems to be the idea that such a thing as a "representative image" exists or should be used at all. There is no requirement for articles to have a lead image at all. For an article such as this, I would expect there to be either an 'example' image (no one image can really be truly representative, but you can have an example image), or no lead image at all and appropriate images throughout the article and maybe a small gallery at the end, with a link to a larger gallery on Commons, plus links to whatever resources exist on the internet for galleries of images related to scientific journals (which is not, of course, limited to images of the covers). These galleries, though they would have to license the images in question, would be truly representative of the topic, as they would not be limited to just freely licensed images. I'll say more on this below. Carcharoth (talk) 10:22, 21 May 2011 (UTC)
You seem to not understand non-free image use, which is concerning for an administrator. Images uploaded with fair-use rationale which are not used in any articles must be deleted (as the image was after it was removed here), see WP:FUC Jebus989 11:24, 21 May 2011 (UTC)
I'm aware of how non-free image use works. I had presumed that the image in question had been in use on the article on the journal in question. It should never really have been used here in the first place, as any rationale for its use here should have been contested much earlier. May I suggest that if you want to continue this, you raise any concerns at my talk page and we can discuss things there, and I can then point you to the previous work I have done on non-free images, which will hopefully allay your concerns. Carcharoth (talk) 11:56, 21 May 2011 (UTC)

Other images[edit]

The lead image now currently used is (as Awickert said above) a title page image, which shows that you don't have to limit yourself to cover page images. If I was thinking outside the box here, I would suggest the following as other possibilities for images to be used in this article: (i) a montage of early scientific journal editors; (ii) a picture of an early meeting of a scientific society that resulted in a 'proceedings' that was published as a journal; (iii) some pictures related to the journal production process; (iv) a screenshot of some sort to illustrate electronic publishing. Such extra images would eventually be expected as this article develops. Indeed, the idea that general articles on the topic of journals (rather than on specific journals) can only be illustrated by cover images is a bit quaint. It seems what is needed is to illustrate the whole article more, rather than focusing on whether a lead image is strictly needed. Another example of how to illustrate the topic of journals is showing how they are used: e.g. an academic reading a journal (it sounds corny, yes, but it is standard to show in general topic articles how the subject of that article is used), or a series of journals on library shelves, and individual issues versus bound issues, and a meeting of an editorial board (if they still have physical meetings), and so on. Some of these ideas are more suited to the academic journal article, and it is possible to go too far and illustrate merely for the sake of it, but I do think there should be more than just images of journal covers being considered. I'll try and see if we have any such images already. Carcharoth (talk) 10:22, 21 May 2011 (UTC)

While I agree that images of editors and meetings could have a place in the article, common sense requires the lead image to be a picture of a scientific journal. I don't think anyone has suggested the only images to be allowed on this page are covers, just that the lead image of the 'scientific journal' article would be of a 'scientific journal'. The distinction you make between title page and cover page is trivial; it appears that in the first issue of Nature they are one and the same. Some of the image suggestions you make could be useful, but others add nothing to the text. A photo of a meeting, which personally I would find interesting, aids the reader little in understanding the concept of a scientific journal Jebus989 11:15, 21 May 2011 (UTC)
I sometimes work with title pages and frontispieces in old books (15th to 19th centuries), so forgive my pedantry there in contrasting those with book cover (the closest equivalent we have to journal covers). Not sure what they were for the first issue of Nature. There is also a technical term for a piece of artwork used at the top of an initial chapter page, which is similar to what we are seeing on that Nature title page, but I forget what that term is. I agree that some of my suggestions would add nothing to the text, but that takes us in the direction of a discussion of decorative images versus illustrative images vs encyclopedic images. I'd be happy to have that discussion, but this is probably not the best place for it. I still think that other images, if carefully considered, would enhance this article (once it is expanded), and that no lead image is required. The obvious one, if a lead image is needed, would be a montage or picture of journals on a library shelf, rather than a single journal. Example images of specific journals would come later in the article. But that leads on to a discussion of montage images and when to use those. Carcharoth (talk) 11:38, 21 May 2011 (UTC)
I agree a montage would be nice and (as suggested by Crusio above) a fanned selection of prominent scientific journals could be near ideal (similar to this). I would certainly not want to remove any image similar to those you suggest, even if purely illustrative, as it is not suffering from an excess Jebus989 11:53, 21 May 2011 (UTC)
If the journals covers are individually copyrighted, that impacts on the licensing and non-free use rationales needed for montages. It has been discussed at WT:NFC before. I disagree with some of the restrictions on montages of individually copyrighted items, but things may have changed since the last time I saw a discussion there. See older discussions here for examples. Carcharoth (talk) 12:06, 21 May 2011 (UTC)