Juimiin has recently placed a subscription to the famous journal Nature. While it’s oriented toward practicing scientists, it also supplies fodder for TV talking heads. What it does not supply, is satisfaction of regular delivery.

In a pattern vaguely reminscent of the hotel soap joke, this putatively weekly publication has instead delivered issues on a schedule roughly as follows:

week issues expected actually delivered
1 1 1
2 1 0
3 1 0
4 1 2
5 1 0
6 1 1
7 1 3
8 1 0
9 1 8

The astute observer will notice the difference between columns two and three. A university library may not much care, as long as their collection is complete. But a private citizen, reading this stuff for interest, can’t be expected to handle material with such ebbs and flows. Each issue is something like a hundred pages of dense scientific text. One has to pace oneself to consume so much of the stuff.

Customer service has been contacted several times. They don’t seem to realize the attraction of the recycling bin that their irregularity begets. They try to “help” by sending back-issues that may at one point have been missing, but refuse to cancel the remainder of the subscription. Maybe they will one day achieve regularity with some publishing laxative of the sort that The Economist uses so successfully. Until then … sigh.