News in brief and features in New Scientist magazine and the biomedical research papers that they cite, August 2008 to July 2009
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New Scientist is a British weekly magazine that is half-way between a newspaper and a scientific journal. It has many news items, and also longer feature articles, both of which cite biomedical research papers, and thus serve to make them better known to the public and to the scientific community, mainly in the UK but about half overseas. An analysis of these research papers shows (in relation to their presence in the biomedical research literature) a strong bias towards the UK, and also one to the USA, Scandinavia and Ireland. There is a reasonable spread of subject areas, although neuroscience is favoured, and coverage of many journals—not just the leading weeklies. Most of the feature articles (but not the news items) in New Scientist include comments by other researchers, who can put the new results in context. Their opinions appear to be more discriminating than those of commentators on research in the mass media, who usually enthuse over the results while counselling patience before a cure for the disease is widely available.
KeywordsNews stories Health research Cited papers Popular science writing
Much of the analysis was made possible by means of Excel macros written by Philip Roe, whose contribution is hereby appreciatively acknowledged. We are also grateful to Shaoni Bhattacharya for a very helpful discussion on policy and practice at New Scientist magazine.
- ABC (Audit Bureau of Circulation) (2009) Data available at: http://www.newscientist.com/data/pdf/ns/mediacenter/us/ns_worldwide_abc.pdf.
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