Introduction to Nature
The Nature family of journals publishes cutting edge scientific research. It is one of the most read scientific publications in the world. According to Journal Citation Reports, Nature family journals were among 5 of the top 10 most cited journals in 2020. Its flagship journal, Nature, has an impressive impact factor of 42.8.
The language used in most of its publications is deliberately simple and easy to understand. This makes Nature ideal for high school researchers. Nature enables researchers across a field as diverse and broad as biology, to catch up on the latest advances. In many ways, the editorial decision to make the journal as accessible as possible is what also enables Nature to be a great resource for high school students who are interested in biology.
Biology requires an extremely broad knowledgebase, and one way to develop a broad understanding of biology is to read Nature. Although the material presented may seem difficult to understand at first, repeated and constant exposure to research articles will build a foundation for your scientific understanding. It’s therefore paramount for aspiring young biologists to keep up to date with the scientific literature, using resources such as Nature or even our own journal, the National High School Journal of Science (NHSJS). Without a solid background in biology, it may be challenging to understand complex concepts in the future.
What does the Nature Publish?
Nature is a weekly international scientific journal based in London England. It has been publishing authoritative and insightful scientific academic journals since 1869. Articles are chosen for publication and peer review based on relevance, originality, accessibility and elegance. Besides research articles, Nature also publishes news and discusses trending scientific topics. Its main objective is to ensure that the results of scientific research are quickly disseminated to the public.
Here are some of their top journals:
This is Nature’s flagship publication. It is a weekly publication that publishes important scientific papers with great potential impact. Nature has many benefits to high school students and anyone pursuing scientific research. It also features editorials, correspondences, opinions, and much more.
Nature Communications publishes a wide variety of research areas, including the chemical, biological and physical sciences. It is also one of Nature’s open access journals. Nature Communications gives authors broad readership and efficient peer review.
The increasing number of primary research journals makes it challenging for high school biology students to find useful information quickly. Review journals can help in this respect, as they are typically longer form articles that cover a specific topic or subfield. These can serve as broad overviews for any research area that you might be interested in.
Topic specific subjournals:
Nature also publishes a variety of topic specific sub-journals including Nature Chemistry, Nature Neuroscience, Nature Immunology, Nature Biotechnology, Nature Materials, and Nature Cancer to name a few. These can be particularly useful if students have a particular scientific interest.
Why should high school students read Nature?
Nature is a prominent voice in scholarly communications. As such, high school students can gain a lot of scientific insights by simply reading Nature.
1. Understanding the scientific landscape
Because Nature publishes broadly in the area of biology, the journal exposes readers to a wide variety of subfields, complete with different techniques and motivations for their research. This can be particularly useful early on in one’s scientific career, as it allows readers to explore a wide variety of subject areas.
2. Learning by example
By reading Nature, students can learn the scientific process from top researchers in the field. Research articles are great resources for understanding how to plan and execute experiments. When it comes time for students to write their own scientific papers, they can use these articles as a reference, noting how experiments are designed and controlled to obtain the information necessary to support scientific claims. By reading the research of top scientists, students develop the ability to think about research, and learn to ask questions regarding whether the data is sufficient to support the claims. Students can see first hand what researchers are working on, what experiments they set up, and importantly, how they obtain and analyze data.
3. Nature promotes active reading thus reinforcing knowledge
Nature journals are essential because it promotes active learning among young scientists. Because much of the text may be difficult for the student to understand, the student will have to constantly fill in gaps in their knowledge. This active reading promotes constructive thinking in readers, as they learn new concepts and connect novel ideas.
4. Nature has several subjournals
As mentioned previously, Nature subjournals cater to more specific interests including: Chemistry, Chemical Biology, Neuroscience, Immunology, Cancer, etc. Additionally, another possible starting point might be Nature Reviews, which help give broad overviews of entire fields. These are particularly useful for helping high school students quickly get up to speed about specific topics and areas they might be interested in.
While school libraries might pay tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to get access to Nature family journals, individuals can subscribe for $200/year. However, they’re currently running a 3-week promotion, where you can subscribe to Nature for just $99/year. Offer expires September 23, 2020.
Key example papers from Nature in 2019
Nature published over 5000 articles in the life sciences and biological sciences in 2019. These articles showcase valuable research from authors from all over the world. Here are 3 papers published by Nature in 2019.
Socio-economic status is a construct that is influenced by various physical, socio-cultural, and environmental factors. The research analyzed over 200,000 participants from the UK Biobank and identified intelligence as a likely cause of partially heritable phenotypes that bridge the gap between phenotypic consequence and molecular genetic inheritance in terms of income differences. The results show the effects of genetics in socioeconomic inequalities in modern Britain.
Roopkund Lake is situated at over 5,000 meters above sea level in the Himalayan Mountains. It is the home of skeleton remains of people of unknown origin. An analysis of 38 skeletons from the lake reveals that they belong to three distinct ethnic groups. These three ethnic groups are: present day South Asians, Eastern Mediterranean ancestry, and Southeast Asian related ancestry. The study also revealed a distinct dietary profile in the groups.
This research examined the long-term effects of early career setbacks using applicants for National Institutes of Health R01 grants. The researchers focused on proposals that narrowly missed funding and those that narrowly won. The study showed that applicants that narrowly missed the grants outperformed those that narrowly won in the long run. It revealed that early setbacks in a career improve the performance of those who persevere.
Nature is an ideal resource for young scientists and researchers. Join the many high school students who are already reading Nature. Subscribe today for $99/year. Offer expires September 23, 2020.