A Fond Farewell

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Science  24 May 2013:
Vol. 340, Issue 6135, pp. 901
DOI: 10.1126/science.1240454

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Half a century ago, Philip Abelson, Science's longtime Editor-in-Chief, made a radical move in the world of scholarly publishing. He launched a new section of the journal, News and Comment, and staffed it with journalists, not scientists. His rationale: Fundamental changes were taking place in the funding and organization of research, and it was becoming increasingly important for scientists to know about and understand events shaping the scientific enterprise. A decade later, he added another journalist-written section, Research News, that would report on new findings and trends in research itself. This time, he reasoned that because research was becoming ever more specialized, scientists needed objective reporting on developments in disciplines outside their own. Under the leadership of early News editors such as Daniel S. Greenberg and Allen Hammond, the News sections quickly became among the most widely read parts of a journal that has continued to publish the very best research papers.