Science journals, from the perspective of a science writer

Chris Lee, of Nobel Intent, writes an opinion piece about science journal rankings and scientific importance:

This system would be fine if it did not ignore the fact that performing science and reporting scientific results are two very different skills, and not everyone has both in equal quantity. The difference between a Nature-worthy finding and a not-Nature-worthy finding is often in the quality of the writing. How skillfully can I relate this bit of research back to general or topical interests? It really is this simple. Over the years, I have seen quite a few physics papers with exaggerated claims of significance (or even results) make it into top flight journals, and the only differences I can see between those works and similar works published elsewhere is that the presentation and level of detail are different.
I see this problem as seeping out beyond the scientific community, because articles from the big three are much easier to cover on Nobel Intent than articles from, say Physical Review D. Nevertheless, when we do cover them, sometimes the researchers suddenly realize that they could have gotten a lot more mileage out of their work. It changes their approach to reporting their results, which I see as evidence that writing skill counts for as much as scientific quality.

There’s more there; I found it a good read, after thinking about journals from the scientist’s perspective for so long. I wanted to quote the passage above because there are two possible reactions to take away:

(a) If you want to publish in a field-specific journal, for whatever reason, you should work on publicizing your work yourself. In other words, make your own news.

(b) Be a better writer. Sure, doing better science is more important, but if you don’t spend time thinking about how to communicate it clearly, you are missing out.