New Journal to Publish Stand-Alone Scientific Observations

Matters website screenshot

An open access journal, Matters, was launched in November with the intention of raising the integrity and speed of scientific publishing by accepting single observations rather than full stories. The “Why Matters” page on the journal’s website reads, “Observations, not stories, are the pillars of good science. Today’s journals however, favor story-telling over observations, and congruency over complexity. As a consequence, there is a pressure to tell only good stories. Moreover, incentives associated with publishing in high-impact journals lead to loss of scientifically and ethically sound observations that do not fit the storyline, and in some unfortunate cases also to fraudulence. The resulting non-communication of data and irreproducibility not only delays scientific progress, but also negatively affects society as a whole. Here at Matters, we publish the true unit of science, the observation.”

A recent Science magazine article about the new journal notes that some worry that publishing single findings will lead to increased fragmentation of scientific communication, a problem arising from the professional incentive to publish as many articles as possible. As Center for Open Science executive director Brian Nosek points out in the Science article, SHARE can help solve this issue of fragmentation by linking “findings, studies, protocols, data, and other parts of the research life cycle.”