Science (journal)

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Template:Infobox Journal Science is the academic journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and is considered one of the world's most prestigious scientific journals. The journal is peer-reviewed, is published weekly, and has a print subscriber base of around 130,000. Because institutional subscriptions and online access serve a larger audience, its estimated readership is one million people.[1]

The major focus of the journal is publishing important original scientific research and research reviews, but Science also publishes science-related news, opinions on science policy and other matters of interest to scientists and others who are concerned with the wide implications of science and technology. Although most scientific journals focus on a specific field, Science and its rival Nature cover the full range of scientific disciplines. Science places special emphasis on biology and the life sciences because of the expansion of biotechnology and genetics over the past few decades. Science's impact factor for 2005 was 30.927 (as measured by Thomson ISI).

Although it is the journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, membership in the AAAS is not required to publish in Science. Papers are accepted from authors around the world. Competition to publish in Science is very intense, as an article published in such a highly-cited journal can lead to attention and career advancement for the authors. Fewer than 10% of articles submitted to the editors are accepted for publication and all research articles are subject to peer review before they appear in the magazine.

Science is based in Washington, D.C., USA, with a second office in Cambridge, England.


Science was founded by New York journalist John Michaels in 1880 with financial support from Thomas Edison and later from Alexander Graham Bell. However, the magazine never gained enough subscribers to succeed and ended publication in March of 1882. Entomologist Samuel H. Scudder resurrected the journal one year later and had some success while covering the meetings of prominent American scientific societies, including the AAAS.[2] However, by 1894, Science was again in financial difficulty and was sold to psychologist James McKeen Cattell for $500.

In an agreement worked out by Cattell and AAAS secretary Leland O. Howard, Science became the journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1900.[3] During the early part of the 20th century important articles published in Science included papers on fruit fly genetics by Thomas Hunt Morgan, gravitational lensing by Albert Einstein, and spiral nebulae by Edwin Hubble.[4] After Cattell died in 1944, the ownership of the journal was transferred to the AAAS.[5]

After Cattell's death, the magazine lacked a consistent editorial presence until Graham DuShane became editor in 1956. Physicist and Nobel laureate, Philip Abelson, the co-discoverer of neptunium, served as editor from 1962 to 1984. Under Abelson the efficiency of the peer review process was improved and the publication practices were brought up to date.[6] During this time, papers on the Project Apollo missions and some of the earliest reports on AIDS were published.[7]

Biochemist Daniel Koshland served as editor from 1985 until 1995. From 1995 until 2000, neuroscientist Floyd Bloom held that position.[7]

Biologist Donald Kennedy became the editor of Science in 2000.

In February 2001, draft results of the human genome were simultaneously published by Nature and Science with Science publishing the Celera Genomics paper and Nature publishing the publicly funded Human Genome Project.


An article published in Science in 2002 on the neurotoxicity of the drug MDMA ("ecstasy") caused some controversy when a mix-up of vials caused the paper to be retracted in 2003. (see Neurotoxicity of MDMA controversy)

Science encountered another controversy in 2006 when papers by Hwang Woo-Suk on cloning human embryos from stem cell research were withdrawn by Seoul National University due to apparent scientific fraud. A committee set up by Science to study the matter found that the journal's procedures had been followed, and the journal could do little in the face of deliberate fraud. The committee recommended that papers received should henceforth be classified as non-controversial or controversial; controversial papers should be looked at more thoroughly. Science also suggested that Nature may want to take up the same standards it was adopting.[8]

Kennedy defended the peer review system, pointing out that catching fraud would require "costly and offensive oversight on the vast majority of scientists in order to catch the occasional cheater".[9]


Online versions of full-text archive articles are not generally made available to the public. Full text is available online to AAAS members from the main journal website. Individual and institutional subscriptions are also available for a fee (though it is significantly less expensive to simply join the AAAS and receive the magazine for free). The Science website also gives free access to some articles (principally original research articles and editorials) as well as the complete table of contents of the current and past issues, a year after their publication. Access to all articles on the Science website is free if the request comes from an IP address of a subscribing institution. Articles older than 5 to 6 years are available via JSTOR and recent articles older than 12 months are available via ProQuest.

The Science website also gives access to Knowledge Environments, such as the Signal Transduction Knowledge Environment (STKE) and the Science of Aging Knowledge Environment (SAGE KE). Knowledge Environments are an attempt to utilize internet-based technologies to enhance access to scientific information and improve the effectiveness of information transfer.

See also


  1. AAAS, "What is AAAS?"
  2. AAAS, "150 Years of Advancing Science: A History of AAAS Origins: 1848-1899", 2004
  3. AAAS, "150 Years of Advancing Science: A History of AAAS AAAS and Science: 1900–1940", 2004
  4. "AAAS and Science: 1900-1940". American Association for the Advancement of Science. Retrieved 2006-08-27.
  5. "AAAS - History and Archives". American Association for the Advancement of Science. Retrieved 2006-08-27.
  6. "AAAS and the Maturing of American Science: 1941-1970". American Association for the Advancement of Science. Retrieved 2006-08-27.
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Change and Continuity: 1971 to the Present". American Association for the Advancement of Science. Retrieved 2006-08-27.
  8. "Handle with care". The Economist. 2006-11-30. Retrieved 2007-08-05. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  9. Kennedy, Donald (13 January 2006). "Good News-and Bad". Science. 311 (5758): 145. doi:10.1126/science.1124498. Check date values in: |date= (help)

External links

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