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Archived Comments for: When bigger is better

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  1. Bigger Can Be Better, But ...

    Robert Woodman, Quanta BioDesign, Ltd.

    27 May 2010

    I despair of keeping up with all the journals that are available to me today. I most certainly agree with Gregory Petsko that the proliferation of specialty journals is not a good thing. I sometimes see this proliferation as a pestilence. I welcome the fusion of BMC Biology and the Journal of Biology, and I hope that the resulting journal will retain high quality while publishing more, and more varied, papers.

    My concern, though, is that bigger journals will tend to shut out tiny sub-fields. Given that publication is a prerequisite for tenure in academia, the consolidation of publication venues could hurt young professionals trying to obtain tenure by denying them the ability to publish somewhere. Large, general journals could stifle the expansion and development of tightly focused sub-fields (and sub-sub-fields) unless the staff at the large, general journal diligently seeks to expand (and then maintain) its coverage of all fields and sub-fields, not just a chosen few.

    Competing interests


  2. Competition between publishers results in more journals

    Quentin Vicens, Aarhus University

    27 May 2010

    I agree that fewer and more general journals is a better way to go, and that a good strategy to achieve that aim is to fuse together existing journals. To the list of factors that lead to journal proliferation mentioned in the article, one could add the competition between publishers for authors. I find the recent launching of Nature Communications to be an example of such practice, as it constitutes a copy of recent and innovative journals such as BMC Research Notes and PLoS ONE. In that case however, the main difference is that access to Nature Communications will not be free, perhaps a major motivation for launching it. Now we can only imagine librarians getting more grey hair out of trying to find funds to afford yet another journal subscription...

    Competing interests

    None declared