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Science Journal Nature Makes Its Archives Free to Read and Share Online

Nature

Image credit: Annthea Lewis/Nature

Nature, the very popular scientific journal, has made it possible to have all its articles to be shared and read online freely, which is considered to be a big step towards the open access. All the articles, including the earliest ones published in 1869, will be provided to its subscribers and some media outlets by kind of format in which they could be read and annotated rather than copied, downloaded and printed.

According to the recent announcement made by Macmillan,the journal’s publisher, the pilot trial of two initiatives would last for one-year.

The first initiative will let the subscribers, universities and scientists included share papers from Nature and the 48 other journals owned by Macmillan’s Nature Publishing Group, such as Nature Neuroscience and Nature Physics. Subscribers will be offered the chance to be linked with a read-only version of the paper’s PDF, which will be hosted by a software platform known as ReadCube. And Institutional subscribers will be even accessible to the papers published in 1869, when the journal started its publishing work. However, as far as personal subscribers are concerned, they are only allowed to share papers from 1997 onwards.

The second initiative will allow 100 influential news outlets and blogs all over the world, for example, the BBC and The New York Times, to provide their readers with links to full text of Nature papers, but in read-only versions. As a rule, only subscribers and media outlets are capable of establishing the links, and then anyone who comes across these links can repost them online freely, for instance, to share them in social media outlets such as Facebook or Twitter. This will allow people all over the globe to be accessible to some biggest scientific discoveries and breakthroughs today, including structuring the world-famous DNA, finding HIV to be the causative agent of AIDS and the first animal cloning of Dolly the Sheep in the world.

While readers can not print or copy the papers, they can annotate them, which will help them share their notes so as to encourage scientists and researchers to be engaged in collaboration through exchanging ideas and comments. In addition, readers are able to save files on to desktops on a free version of ReadCube, therefore these files could be accessible time and again.

The purpose of this initiative is aimed to encourage more people to be engaged in science on one hand, and to try to end the so-called “dark sharing ” on the other. Most people in academia are aware of its existence, but can not possibly stop it. What all subscribers need to do is download or print a paper and put it on a shared folder, thus ensuring people access the work without paying for a subscription.

Although this trial is not necessarily meant that all journals owned by the Nature Publishing Group will be openly accessible, it is actually a move towards the right direction. It is hoped by Macmillan that other science publishers might do the same if his pilot is proven to be successful, which would offer much easier access to the more scientific research in the future.

Source: NatureMacmillanScience and the Guardian

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