Peer review and scientific publishing

Nobel winner declares boycott of top science journals

Randy Schekman says his lab will no longer send papers to Nature, Cell and Science as they distort scientific process
Randy Schekman
Randy Schekman, centre, at a Nobel prize ceremony in Stockholm. Photograph: Rob Schoenbaum/Zuma Press/Corbis

Randy Schekman, a US biologist who won the Nobel prize in physiology or medicine this year and receives his prize in Stockholm on Tuesday, said his lab would no longer send research papers to the top-tier journals, Nature, Cell and Science.

Schekman said pressure to publish in “luxury” journals encouraged researchers to cut corners and pursue trendy fields of science instead of doing more important work. The problem was exacerbated, he said, by editors who were not active scientists but professionals who favoured studies that were likely to make a splash.

The prestige of appearing in the major journals has led the Chinese Academy of Sciences to pay successful authors the equivalent of $30,000 (£18,000). Some researchers made half of their income through such “bribes”, Schekman said in an interview. Read more.

More: How journals like Nature, Cell and Science are damaging science The incentives offered by top journals distort science, just as big bonuses distort banking”