Since Nature Genetics was founded in 1992, 17 Nature-branded research journals have been launched. Most are devoted to specific disciplines (such as immunology or materials research) ranging across all the natural sciences. Some, such as Nature Photonics, also have a strong technological component. Others, such as Nature Nanotechnology, touch on all the disciplines, sometimes extending into social-science discussions. And one, Nature Communications, sets itself, like Nature, at no particular discipline or theme.
Nature Climate Change, launched this week, is something of a distinct venture. Climate change is a phenomenon that is relevant, in principle, to all research disciplines. This journal focuses as much on the impacts of climate change as on its origins and mechanisms. And for the first time within the Nature-branded stable, the journal is explicitly set up to include the social sciences within its remit, with a trained social scientist on its staff, and a panel of social-science advisers to help us to penetrate territory that lies beyond our traditional zones of engagement.
The first issue of the journal (see http://www.nature.com/nclimate) reflects this inclusive strategy. It covers research on aircraft contrails' impact on climate, the effects of climate change on agriculture and health, and how experience of flooding can affect public attitudes to energy use. The issue also includes journalism and commentary on decision-making and on data sharing.
In tackling such issues, Nature Climate Change sits alongside Nature Geoscience and Nature. But this is a complementary relationship and, in line with 'family' tradition, all the journals are editorially independent of each other. Nature will continue to publish the most scientifically significant research, and discussions with the broadest impact. Nature Geoscience will focus on the relevant Earth and Solar System mechanisms. And Nature Climate Change will offer new avenues for those interested in the long-term changes in our atmosphere and their impacts.
Both individually and as a group, we hope the content and influence of these journals will significantly help our planet's inhabitants to anticipate and cope with the global changes ahead.