Field of Science

A nagging suspicion of evophobia

Every week I get emails with the table of contents from both Nature and Science1, those high impact journals that careers are built on. What I always do, being waaay too busy to read all of it (i.e. the tocs), is to search through them with the term 'evol', and check out the papers and other articles that are about evolution (avoiding stellar and galactic evolution, as well as all things revolutionary). What I have now observed week after week for years is that Nature consistently has many more matches, and thereby articles on evolution, than Science does. Most often Science have none (like this week), whereas I don't recall Nature ever having none. Only once have I seen Science having more matches than Nature.

So what does that mean?

Does it it mean that Science, being an American journal, is more evophobic2 than the British Nature? Just like Americans are (still) more evophobic than the Brits?

I just really, really hope not, but the numbers I have given you showing significantly fewer evolution papers in Science than Nature counted per number of articles in each journal over the last 100 weeks are hard to ignore. Oh! Make that "the numbers that I have not given you."

1 I'm subscribed to several others, but you can go crazy with Bonferroni dealing with that, if you so please.

2 Don't forget where you saw that term first!
Update: Of course the term already exists. I had a (nother) nagging suspicion as I was authoring the above. A quick search turned up more than 300 hits.


  1. I guess it is mostly due to its content. In general I would put nature more on the biology shelve, wheras science ends up mostly being engeneering, physics.

    So maybe this is just due to general interest of the editors???

    I know the picture I am painting is a little black/white physics/biology. But nevertheless the tendency is there...
    Cheers Arend

  2. Okay, there is that, but evophobia is a much more intriguing explanation.

  3. I look at the subject collections:

    there was a paper on evolution this week without the word evolution in it:

    Rapid and Accurate Large-Scale Coestimation of Sequence Alignments and Phylogenetic Trees
    Kevin Liu, Sindhu Raghavan, Serita Nelesen, C. Randal Linder, and Tandy Warnow
    Science 19 Jun 2009; 324: 1561-1564.

  4. Damn it, Todd! I was so fond of this hypothesis.

    Evophobia hyp R.I.P.

  5. Then again: The "famous" 2003 Lenski et al. Nature article: FIRST REJECTED BY SCIENCE!


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