Web focuses


Science and politics archive



In World View, Nature's twice-monthly column collected here and launched in November 2009, two seasoned insiders comment on the interaction between science and politics. Daniel Sarewitz, Director of the Consortium for Science, Policy, and Outcomes at Arizona State University, writes in the first issue of every month. Colin Macilwain, formerly editor of Research Fortnight/Research Europe and before that news and business editor of Nature, writes in the third issue of each month.

Meetings that changed the world cover

Meetings That Changed The World

This series covers six scientific meetings that had such a great impact, they can be said to have changed the world. Each piece is written by an expert who attended the conference in question. The authors recall what it was like to live through these momentous occasions, and reflect upon the events' broad and lasting legacies.

Innovation cover


What's both radical and incremental? Aimless and goal-oriented? Process and product? Innovation — now the subject of a monthly series of Nature Commentaries. Expert authors from business, economics, law, policy and research look to define innovation and explore how it arises and how it can be managed, encouraged and facilitated. The commentaries reveal that the idea of a single innovator or inventor is fading, and probe how innovation is increasingly the product of an entire ecology which includes both basic and applied research but also the venture capital system and external motivating forces coming together in the right mix.

Russian science cover

Russian Science

On 4 October 1957, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1. Fifty years on, Nature explores the current state of Russian science and celebrates the beginning of the space age with a special package of news and comment. Three News Features report the experiences of those who have lived and worked in Russia, and on the modernization of the 300-year-old Russian Academy of Sciences. A Commentary from former Russian science minister Boris Saltykov sets out the opportunities for innovation today. Alexei Kojevnikov's Essay argues that Sputnik spawned the modern international research community. William Burrows reviews Matthew Brzezinski's book Red Moon Rising about how the space race grew out of Cold War tensions, Giovanni Bignami reflects on two new related documentaries and Martin Kemp analyses the immortality of space dog Laika.

science and politics essays cover

Essays: Science and politics

In a series of nine weekly essays, experienced advisors on science policy, including to the US, UK and Swedish governments, reflect on the highs and lows of being at the intersection of science and society. Do scientists devalue their advice to government by emphasizing uncertainty, the series asks, or is there a need for greater humility when science meets public disquiet?

Party of one

Party of One

For the past 20 years, David Goldston has been at the heart of forging US science and environmental policy. His Nature column ran from 2007 to 2009 and provided a seasoned insider's take on the interaction between science and politics. From stem cells and energy policy to climate change and space exploration, Goldston has a unique perspective on why things work-or don't work-in Washington DC.

peer review trial and debate

AIDS medics in Libya

Lawyers defending six medical workers who risk execution by firing squad in Libya on charges of deliberately infecting more than 400 children with HIV have called for the scientific community's support. After Nature published articles on the issue in late September 2006, the blogosphere amplified the lawyers' initial call for independent scientific review of how the children became infected. Follow developments in this web focus, post your thoughts on this case to the Nature Newsblog, and see what bloggers are saying about this case via Connotea.

Nature Peer Review Trial and Debate

Nature is undertaking a trial of a particular type of open peer review. In this trial, authors whose submissions to Nature are sent for peer review will also be offered the opportunity to participate in an open peer review process. The trial is optional for authors; it will continue in parallel with Nature's usual procedures, and does not affect the likelihood of eventual publication of the submitted work. At the same time as the trial, Nature is running a web debate on peer review, to which we welcome comments from readers.

Access to the literature: The debate continues

The Internet is profoundly changing how scientists work and publish. New business models are being tested by publishers, including open access, in which the author pays and content is free to the user. This ongoing web focus will explore current trends and future possibilities.

US visa restrictions

US visa restrictions

Immigration controls introduced under the 'war on terror' are restricting the flow of foreign researchers into the US. With other countries moving in on this pool of talent, will the balance of scientific power shift? Read our special report from the Nature news team.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict

In recent weeks, the 'roadmap for peace' between Israelis and Palestinians has been all but torn up, thanks to suicide bombings and Israeli army raids in the occupied Palestinian territories. Amid this cycle of violence and despair, can scientific links between Israeli and Palestinian labs survive?