Interested in a career with one of the top journals in science publishing? Nature Communications is going through a phase of intense growth, and we are now recruiting an editor to join my team in the physical sciences. This is an exciting career opportunity. To me, reading up on exciting scientific discoveries on a daily basis, and being able to discuss these with scientists in the field, is a huge privilege and motivation.
As for this particular position, the ideal candidate should have a background in any area of physics. As the job advert states, a broad scientific knowledge and training, excellent literary skills and a keen interest in the practice and communication of science are important, as are excellent communication and interpersonal skills.
To apply, please do so via our recruitment web site below. Closing date is July 9th.
Please note that the position is based in London, and we do require a pre-existing work permit for the UK.
In case you have further questions, please feel free to contact me at any time.
The purpose of the editorial process at scientific journals is to select the papers that fit the editorial scope of the journal, and – within the limited means of the review scheme – try to make sure that published papers are technically correct and a fair representation of the scientific results presented. For most modern scientific journals, peer review has been a crucial element of this process: manuscripts are evaluated by other scientists (peers), who then send their assessment of the work to the editor. If these comments are passed on to the authors, it is anonymously. The authors won’t know who reviewed their manuscript. [...]
I haven’t been very active on this blog, as I’ve been quite busy settling into my new position at Nature Communications, which is more stimulating than I imagined it to be, but also time-consuming. In future I do plan to continue to blog from time to time. However, the web address for this blog is changing. I managed to get the domain name heber.org and have moved this blog to http://allthatmatters.heber.org/
The old address will still be valid for a little while, but please remember to update your bookmarks. More importantly, please also update any RSS subscription you may have to http://allthatmatters.heber.org/feed/
Thanks a lot!
It has now been more than seven years that I left active research and joined Nature Materials as an editor in March 2005. I still remember my first day as an editor, and one of the very first papers that I handled. A brush made from carbon nanotubes that made it to the Guinness Book of World Records as the smallest brush ever made.
Since then, time just flew by. I learned a lot of new science, published exciting research, and most of all, made many new friends. But for me, the time has come to take up new challenges and to broaden my experience in science publishing even further. I am therefore very happy to be able to announce that I will join Nature Communications in October as the Managing Editor (physical sciences). There I will lead a great team of editors across the entire spectrum of the physical sciences.
Nature Communications is a successful online journal that publishes across all areas of the biological, physical and chemical sciences. In particular its open access option has proved to be very popular. Working further on the development of the journal is a tremendous opportunity that I very much look forward to. The team is expanding rapidly, and if you are working in physics or materials science and are interested in a career as an editor, why not join me at the journal, as there is a job opening.
So thanks for your interest and reading this far on this more personal blog post. It is sad for me to leave Nature Materials after such a long time at the journal, with such great colleagues. At the same time, I hope to see you all again as authors, reviewers and readers at Nature Communications!
Should scientific journals publish high-risk scientific research that could in the wrong hands be disastrous for us all? Although it might be sensible to keep certain results secret for a while, I argue that eventually it does not make sense to withhold results in the long-term.
What is this all about? Yesterday saw the publication in Nature of the controversial mutant bird flu paper. Bird flu (H5N1) is highly lethal, more than 50% of those known to be infected have died from it, although such figures need to be treated with caution. There might be plenty of more benign cases that went undetected so this is more of an upper limit. Still, this is scary. The good news – so far at least – is that H5N1 in the wild doesn’t spread easily between humans and unlike other forms of flu does require physical contact.
Researchers in the US/Japan and separately in the Netherlands have now studied whether H5N1 can mutate to become highly contagious, which would be a real nightmare scenario: a lethal virus that transmits easily. And as these two papers show, using ferrets this requires only a few genetic mutations. What at least the US/Japanese group has done (the other paper has not been published yet, see below), is to use genetic variants from the highly contagious swine flu virus (H1N1) to modify the H5N1 virus accordingly. These genetic modifications, however, have not been successful on their own. It is interesting what happened then: after only two further rounds of infections of ferrets the virus mutated by itself to become highly contagious! Ed Yong has more details of this on his blog. But I like to emphasize that the contagious H5N1 variant as published now appears much less lethal than the original virus.
The publication of both papers has been withheld for months out of fear such knowledge could be used by terrorists or other mad individuals to create a deadly pandemic. Given also a reversal of opinion from a US biosecurity board, the US/Japan paper has now appeared in Nature, and the Dutch paper is expected to appear in Science shortly. Eventually, the decision was in favour of publication, because knowledge of the mutations and their effect on the biology of the virus are so crucial to combat this disease and to possibly develop vaccines. It is not terrorists we need to be afraid of, such mutations can easily happen in nature any moment. In an interview with the BBC, Nature‘s Editor-in-Chief Philip Campbell further rationalises the decision to publish.
Other than not publishing such research at all, two further options were debated: redacting the papers, or to make them available to selected trustworthy scientists only. In an editorial, Nature has now declined such possibilities out of principle and announced this important publishing policy: [...]