Re: Credibility of SciAm?
Wed, 25 Feb 1998 14:45:21 EST

Anders Sandberg <> On 25 Feb 1998 Wrote:

>I have begun to worry about Scientific American.

>Me too, and it's very sad.

>I learnt some of my english from trying to read my father's copies
as a child),

I have been noticing this very phenomena for well over a year now, and
even wrote about this very issue in a rebuttal article about their now
nanotechnology piece, which I subsequently published in the November 1996
(Vol. 7, No. 4) issue of Midnight Engineering.

Scientific American was actually purchased by a German publishing consortia,
one of the senior corporate officers of which I met recently at a trade show /
conference. My sense is that, after some bit of conversation with this
they were hoping to gain new marketshare by converting S.A. into more of
a "popular science" kind of publication, injecting more tabloid style "fringe
types of articles, etc.

What they have really done is alienate their traditional reading audience, who
at one time (including myself) held S.A. in the same esteem as peer reviewed
scientific journals such as Nature, or Science. Now, however, they have
alienated their core constituency, while not gaining the market demographic
they were theoretically targeting.

How very sad indeed. I think these foreign publishing investors just didn't
"get it" then, and still don't. S.A. is now a shell of its former self,
searching for a new identity.

Such is the fickle nature of the publishing business . . . I should know, as
this is
a world with which I am all too familiar

Charles Ostman

>It's a small world, exactly the same was true for me, I have every issue of
>Scientific American from 1966 to today. I still read it but It's only a pale
>reflection of its former glory. The really odd thing is that they started to
>dumb it down just about the time the magazine was sold to the same company
>that publishes Nature. Go figure.