I want an answer to this question. If the answer was to engender controversy, then it worked; but if it was to reinforce Nature's “own positive views and engagement in the issues concerning women in science” (Nature 505, 483; 2014), then it failed. Here is the context: two weeks ago, Nature published a Correspondence from Lukas Koube (Nature 505, 291; 2014), which in my view implies that journals' pursuit of scientific quality will logically and inevitably result in women's invisibility. On the day that I read it, I was scheduled to do an interview about my research for the Careers section of Nature. I declined the interview.

Declining this interview was a strategic decision. Every young scientist is told that publication in Nature is a valuable prize, a harbinger of 'glory, laud and honour' and of job security. Thus, the assignment of a Nature DOI (digital object identifier) is a powerful force of reification, one that endures far beyond any squabbling that may precede or follow it.

Nature states that the correspondence it publishes does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the journal or its editors (Nature 505, 483; 2014). However, people have a deep-seated tendency to associate the Nature brand with a stringent selection process for publication. Out of the many letters it receives, why did Nature want its readers to read Koube's? It is unclear why you should publish his Correspondence at all in an age when people's comments already have multiple outlets for mass distribution. My interview cancellation was meant to provide concrete evidence that at least one reader wants an answer.

Nature is a powerful institution in which its editors, reviewers, authors and readers invest a monumental amount of effort and care. For this very reason, it is also an institution at which each editorial choice merits exceptional scrutiny.