Nature makes research papers open-access to the public

Dec 4, 2014

Image: Annthea Lewis / Nature

By ScienceAlert

Publishing company, Macmillan has announced that it’s making 48 of its journals free to access, including Nature Genetics, Nature Medicine and Nature Physics. Citing on-going library and individual subscriptions as their primary source of income, the publishers are now planning on using an iTunes-like online repository called ReadCube to host and display read-only, PDF versions of the journal articles.

The PDFs will only be viewable on a web browser, will be annotatable, and copying and printing will be disabled. Share and repost links will be made available for use in news articles in social media. Institutional subscribers will have access to every paper dating back to the very first edition of Nature in 1869, while personal subscribers get access from 1997 onwards. Those who don’t want to pay for a subscription can access the articles for free via a URL provided by a subscriber.

“We know researchers are already sharing content, often in hidden corners of the Internet or using clumsy, time-consuming practices,” Timo Hannay, the managing director of a division of Macmillan called Digital Science, which has invested in ReadCube, said in a statement. “At Digital Science we have the technology to provide a convenient, legitimate alternative that allows researchers to access the information they need and the wider, interested public access to scientific knowledge, from the definitive, original source.”


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One comment on “Nature makes research papers open-access to the public”

  • Eventually we need a subpenny royalty scheme, so you can view pages on any website, and automatically in the background where the net tracks that and debits your account by subpennies. When other people view your content, your account gets credited. It will be so cheap, there is no real need to avoid reading anything that strikes your fancy.

    You could think of it as the option to buy books and newspapers by the page.

    But on the other hand, it will provide an income for anyone of any size who provides useful content to even the smallest niche.

    The system would be set up with a default cost per page. If you as content provider wanted to charge more,
    then the user would have to ok that, perhaps providing future oks, discouraging readership.

    I leave the details as an exercise for the reader, e.g. mechanisms to help deal with junk or mislabeled content.

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