If you're not familiar with Nature Journal, you should be. Like it's USAian counterpart, Science, Nature is one of the most prestigious scientific journals in the world. Not that you should use authority as value; as the joke goes, in Nature and Science, there is little of either. However, they are the most widely read and cited journals in the world, meaning they have a high impact value, which is the stupid yet true way universities and other research institutions measure publication success. And I'll admit, historically they have some of the most important papers.
One of the long running sections in Nature is called Futures, where a fiction author is invited to write a piece of science fiction for every issue. Never mind right now the issue of whether science fiction actually belongs in a science journal, or whether anyone actually reads that section. The issue at hand is a Futures from September 2011, which has received an incredible amount of flac and fallout but months after it was published.
', you can read it in full here.
As the author says in the comments below, it was originally meant as tongue in cheek, but it's such a blatantly sexist piece of fiction that Nature Journal editor Henry Gee commented, "I'm amazed we haven't had any outraged comments about this story."
And now the angry letters have started, and the comment sections are filling up. You see, women scientists know and remember what it was like to be a woman scientist even just 30 years ago; catcalls when a woman professor entered a classroom were the norm, as was sexual harassment at professional meetings. It's a laugh against Nature that most people ignored the piece until 2 months after it was published, since apparently no one reads Futures. http://all-geo.org/highlyallochthonous/2011/11/dear-nature-you-got-a-sexist-story-but-when-you-published-it-you-gave-it-your-stamp-of-approval-and-became-sexist-too/
The title says it all. http://www.paulanderson.org.uk/2011/11/an-open-letter-to-nature/
You get the idea.
In fact, the whole blowout has a hash tag on twitter now, #womanspace. https://twitter.com/#!/search?q=%23womanspace
The highlight is the parody coming out of this, the chief example being a mockup of "Nature Publishing Group's new journal: Womanspace" by insect photographer Alex 'Myrmecos' Wild http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/compound-eye/2011/11/17/nature-publishing-groups-new-journal/
And all the possible article titles posted in #womanspace.
This mess is really only just getting started. Nature and Science have been declining in quality for years now, despite the insistence of some institutions that publications in those journals are the only items worth considering on an application, and people are raring for a tearing.