Nobel laureate Randy Schekman recently said that he and his lab would no longer be publishing their work in big-name journals like Science, Nature, and Cell. (A number of people pointed out that he'd made his career — and won a Nobel — by publishing in such journals and is an editor of the open-access journal eLife.) Schekman argued that such journals put pressure on researchers to follow flashy fields and controversial topics, rather than less trendy, though, important work.
For young scientists, following that path of avoiding 'luxury' journals may be a detriment to their careers, writes Thomas Livermore, a PhD candidate at University College London, in the Guardian.
"For many of my peers — PhD students and post-doctoral scientists alike — Nature, Science, and Cell continue to represent a major career goal, offering recognition and exposure for their research," he says. Livermore adds, though, that it is more than "selfish personal gratification." When applying for funding and jobs, early-stage researchers are judged not only by the quality of their work, but also by where it is published.
"Young scientists can have no reassurances that by pursuing such action [boycotting luxury journals] they will not negatively affect their careers," Livermore adds.