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Making "Nature"The History of a Scientific Journal$
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Melinda Baldwin

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226261454

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226261591.001.0001

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“It Almost Came Out on Its Own”

“It Almost Came Out on Its Own”

Nature under L. J. F. Brimble and A.J.V. Gale

(p.145) Chapter Six “It Almost Came Out on Its Own”
Making "Nature"

Melinda Baldwin

University of Chicago Press

This chapter discusses two of Nature’s less prominent editors: Richard Gregory’s former assistants L.J.F. Brimble and A.J.V. Gale. Brimble and Gale led Nature through the difficult wartime years and oversaw the publication of some of Nature’s most famous papers, including several articles that contributed to the development of plate tectonics in geophysics, as well as James Watson and Francis Crick’s 1953 article on the structure of DNA. However, under the Brimble and Gale co-editorship Nature was also known for accepting and rejecting papers based on the advice of a handful of prominent scientists, and was regarded as a respectable but somewhat dull journal that “might print anything” if the right people recommended it. The Brimble and Gale era gives us a chance to examine Nature’s place in the larger postwar publishing landscape. It also gives us a window onto the status of peer review in the mid-twentieth century and shows that as late as the 1960s a scientific journal could be credible even if it did not send all of its articles out for external refereeing.

Keywords:   Nature, L.J.F. Brimble, A.J.V. Gale, structure of DNA, plate tectonics, peer review

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