Striking iPS cell research publishing trends: what do they mean?

The young iPS cell field has published a truly massive number of papers in just 4 years.

Searching ISI Web of Knowledge for papers with titles reflecting iPS cell research (not just those that mention iPS cells), we find 424 total iPS cell articles from 2006-present.

Interestingly, 32 of them (7.5%) were published in a single journal, Cell Stem Cell.  Cell Stem Cell appears to be the “go to” journal for iPS cell work.

A close second is Stem Cells, with 6.1% of all iPS cell articles. It has been catching up.

Cell Stem Cell’s sister journal, Cell, published 2.4% of all iPS cell articles so far.

This means that Cell and Cell Stem Cell have together published a whopping 1 out of 10 articles in the entire iPS cell field.

Nature family journals (Nature Biotechnology (12), Nature (10), Nature Protocols (10, Molecular Therapy (5), Nature Methods (4), EMBO Reports (4), Nature Genetics (2), Nature Reviews in Drug Discovery (2), and Nature Reviews in Molecular and Cell Biology (2) ) have published 51 iPS cell articles, representing 12% of all such articles in the field. Nature has so many journals now I’m probably missing 1 or 2 too.

This means between the Cell and Nature families, almost 1/4 of all iPS cell articles have been published in their journals.

This is striking, right?

Just as surprising is that most top journals in the Biology field have few or most often no iPS cell research or review articles at all!

*The amazingly good journal Science has carried just 1.6% of iPS cell articles and the trend is steeply downward.  In 2009, Science only had 4 iPS cell papers and 3 of them were not research articles. So in 2009, Science had just 1 iPS cell research article.  If you can believe it, Science has no iPS cell papers of any kind at all in 2010. So from 2009-present, Science has had just 1 lonesome iPS cell research article.

*One of my favorite journals, Genes and Development? This particular search turned up 0 iPS cell articles.

*Molecular Biology of the Cell? 0.

*Journal of Cell Biology?  Also 0.

*Journal of Cell Science? Also 0.

*JBC? Also 0.

*Molecular and Cellular Biology? Also 0.

*Development? Also 0.

*PLoS Biology? Also 0.

And so on…

So what the heck is going on?  You tell me.