Editor's Note

Life science is all about discovery. From researchers who seek to understand and explain the basic building blocks of the living world to scientists who work to eradicate specific diseases or treat various disorders, the scientific community and its followers are striving to learn more about biology. Every day, The Scientist’s editorial team sifts through dozens of newly reported findings to make decisions about who and what to report on, and how to bring those stories to our audience, which includes Nobel laureates and industry titans alongside aspiring young scientists and science enthusiasts. As we do so, we are ever cognizant of remaining true to our mission: delivering rigorous and trustworthy news about all aspects of the life sciences.

We know that our efforts bear fruit because our web traffic is on the rise year after year, and engagement from our readers and social media followers trends similarly. 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, Science, 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 academic administrators.

But these are challenging times for journalism, especially science journalism. News moves fast, and we must stand out to compete for the attention of our highly educated audience. The Scientist strives to offer unique stories, not only about new research, but about the issues that affect scientists’ careers—policy, ethics, funding, publishing, and more.

In 2019, we reported extensively on a push in academia for open-access publishing, and its unintended consequence of impeding researchers’ access to journals. We exposed the presence of papers from predatory publishers on PubMed, followed the progress in CAR T immunotherapy trials as they expand to more cancer types, and explored what’s known about cannabis exposure in utero. We published special issues devoted to cancer, individualized medicine, artificial intelligence, 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. Our most popular stories include the discovery of a new type of immune cell, an exclusive report on a paper’s retraction, and the influence of ginger on the microbiome. We also have plans to reinvigorate the look and feel of our newsletters in 2020, focusing on modern, sleek design principles that will enhance engagement and drive even more traffic.

In 2020, we will publish issues that focus on cancer, neuroscience, human genetics, the functional mysteries of memory and more. Other plans for 2020 include continued experimentation to grow the number of people who follow us on Facebook (already more than 2 million strong) and on Twitter (more than 60,000 to date); increasing the number of investigative and enterprising stories that involve original reporting by our news team; and using our newly redesigned website and newsletters 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 scientific information to our readers in dynamic, engaging, and accessible ways.

Bob Grant