The Journal “Scientific Reports”, published by the Nature publishing group, is gaining popularity with time (impact factor now around 5.2). It highlights its editorial policy as one that is focused on scientific rigour and validity, rather than perceived impact.
My question is: how well regarded is this journal in the academic community compared to other more-traditional ones, especially in the physical sciences and engineering? Also, does the fact that it imposes article processing charges and publishes only open-access articles reduce from its perceived rank as a journal? Is its high impact factor a result of these factors, or is it actually due to high quality articles published in it? Many researchers know that some well-regarded specialist journals might have relatively low impact factor, but their reputation is still top-ranked. Say, for example, that I have a paper in physics or engineering, and I could either publish it in a specialised Physical Review or IEEE journal versus Scientific Reports, which one would be more well-regarded (assuming the first two have less impact factor than Scientific Reports)?