Covering the life sciences is exciting work. Every day, The Scientist’s editorial team sifts through dozens of newly reported research results, making hard decisions about who and what to report on, and how to bring those stories to our audience. As we do so, we are ever cognizant of remaining true to our mission: bringing our readers—who range from Nobel laureates and industry titans to aspiring young scientists and science enthusiasts—rigorous and trustworthy reporting about all aspects of the life sciences.
We know that our efforts bear fruit because more than 60 percent of our readers return again and again to access our articles. The Scientist continues to win publishing industry awards from Folio and from the American Society of Business Publication Editors, for both the print magazine and online news. And our original content is picked up by other news outlets, including Nature, STAT News, The Washington Post, RealClearScience, and Retraction Watch, among others. Our stories are also shared around social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and LinkedIn by researchers, business people, lawmakers, and administrators at academic institutions.
But these are challenging times for journalism and especially science journalism. News moves fast these days, and we must compete for the attention of our highly educated audience. The Scientist always strives to offer unique stories—not only research news, but articles about the issues that affect scientists’ careers: policy, ethics, funding, publishing, and more.
In 2018, we reported in depth on science policy developments and cabinet changes in Washington, DC, and the attendant uptick in activism by scientists and science advocates. We broke news about failed negotiations between scholarly publishers and academic libraries, stories that resonated with our readers, as evidenced by their popularity. At the same time, we never lost sight of the science itself. We published special issues devoted to the science of pain, cancer, rare diseases, muscle research, and neuroscience, all containing a mix of articles written by leading life-science researchers, freelance writers, and The Scientist’s talented group of dedicated journalists. Other popular articles dove into the toxicity of Roundup, the brains of transgender individuals, and the genetic remnants of Neanderthals in modern humans’ genomes. We also launched a freshly redesigned website in 2018, and we hope to use its enhanced look and function to push ever further into the cutting edge of interactive infographics, video, and dynamic design.
In 2019, we will publish special issues that focus on artificial intelligence, human genetics, and precision medicine. Other plans for 2019 include growing the number of people who follow us on Facebook (already more than 2 million strong) and on Twitter (more than 55,000 to date);2 increasing the number of investigative and enterprising stories that involve original reporting by our news team; and using our newly redesigned website to make the presentation of our articles more visually stunning.
As an editorial staff, we will rise to any and all journalistic challenges to deliver complex and nuanced information to our readers in dynamic and engaging ways.