Elements of Our Design

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Science  03 Jul 1998:
Vol. 281, Issue 5373, pp. 43
DOI: 10.1126/science.281.5373.43

This issue inaugurates a new look for Science and culminates an effort by the entire staff that began nearly 2 years ago to determine how best to communicate our rich content to readers. Few scientifically trained individuals profess an understanding of magazine design. Some might even scoff at its relevance to the exchange of scientific information. Yet, as this latest evolution in our design will establish, a new logo, a fresh layout, and a uniform design are not simply incremental tinkering. In the view of Art Director Cynthia Faber Smith, who created our new look with Design Director Amy Decker Henry, “A good design always addresses the same question, ‘What is best for the reader?’ The design then becomes the reader's advocate, answering that question with the best tools to navigate the publication.”

After surveying widely in-house and out and considering the most frequently expressed concerns, a thorough redesign process was implemented. The final design will inform the reader of our commitment to provide three explicit categories of information: news, opinion, and original research. The new Table of Contents reflects this tripartite content, while small red arrows denote related items pursued by each of our teams. The redesign further reinforces this categorization by clearly identifying each page with its section.

In the News section, News of the Week provides the time-challenged reader with reports on the most recent important developments in the global community of scientific research, administration, funding, and policy. In News Focus, our worldwide network of correspondents probes behind the news to provide in-depth coverage and analysis of trends and issues throughout the scientific community. NetWatch, a new page launched in April, informs readers about the fast-changing world of science on the Web.

Science will continue to seek new ways to give readers the information they need to do their jobs better

The expanded Science's Compass will continue to orient the reader in the world of scientific knowledge by presenting opinions from scientists, scholars, policy-makers, and other leaders. Their views will help readers place recent developments in broader contexts. To amplify that intent, Compass will now incorporate the week's Editorial and our lively Letters section, where readers and authors exchange opinions publicly. Readers who wish to contact us will now find all necessary information in the Contact Science column next to the Editorial. Leading scientific experts will continue to express their views in the Compass section's Policy Forums and Books and New Media reviews and will provide Perspectives on the most recent research results published in Science or other journals. Compass will also provide invited topical Reviews of rapidly moving fields, and once a month, the latest developments in research technologies will be presented in Tech.Sight, now an integral part of Compass.

For many readers, the key content element of Science is the section containing the week's harvest of significant research papers. Selected scientific Research Articles and Reports are briefly summarized in general language in the continuing This Week in Science feature, a useful tool that will help all busy readers sample the full array of an issue's new information. Although the redesign provides a new typeface to enhance the legibility of the titles, abstracts, references, and figure legends of the original research papers, the focus of our efforts here remains our rigorous, behind-the-scenes, peer-review evaluations. Several ongoing refinements in our internal production process will be invisible to readers. These efforts have reduced the average post-acceptance publication interval to about 7 weeks, and we will strive to keep this interval at a minimum.

Now that the printed Science has been reinvigorated throughout, our creative staffers are concentrating on Science Online and its related daily briefings in Science NOW, as well as the career features and information resources of Science's Next Wave. Science will continue to seek new ways to give readers the information they need to do their jobs better. We hope that readers will not hesitate to express those needs to us. Thanks, Science staffers, for all your efforts to refresh Science's look, from a new logo that builds on the strength of its past to an ever-evolving Web site that looks toward the future.

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