Breakthrough: The Double Helix
Two Years Later
Crick and Watson publish a short article announcing their conclusion that the structure of the DNA molecule is a double spiral. They submit the announcement to the general scientific British journal Nature, knowing it will be published quickly.
Molecular Structure of Nucleic Acids
We wish to suggest a structure for the salt of deoxyribose nucleic acid (D.N.A.).Watson, J.D., & Crick, F.H.C. (1953).
Nature, 171, 737-738.
Although the article allows Crick and Watson to officially stake their claim to the discovery, it does not come as a surprise to the other scientists working on the same problem. Informal communication also known as the "invisible college" spreads the news. Crick and Watson tell Wilkins and Franklin about their discovery, and Pauling hears about it from another colleague at Cal Tech.
In a process known as peer review, the editors of Nature send pre-publication drafts of the article to Wilkins, Franklin, and other scientists for review and comments.
Image from (link will open in a new window) DOE Human Genome Program website
Crick and Watson follow up with another Nature article a month later:
Genetical Implications of the Structure of Deoxyribonucleic Acid
Until now, however, no evidence has been presented to show how [DNA] might carry out the essential operation required of a genetic material, that of exact self-duplication.Watson, J.D., and Crick, F.H.C. (1953).
Nature, 171, 964-967.
|General Scientific Journal Article Characteristics|
|AUDIENCE:||Students, professors, or researchers; assumes some knowledge of science but not expertise in any one area.|
|AUTHOR:||Professors or research scientists|
|TIMELINESS:||Announcements like the Nature articles above can be published within a month or two of submission; longer research articles take a year or more from submission to publication.|
|CONTENT:||Report major findings in all areas of the sciences. Articles focus on a specific research question; back up information with footnotes and/or reference lists citing earlier research; may include graphs, tables, and pictures to document findings.|