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article imageScience journal Nature opens up its archives

By Tim Sandle     Dec 7, 2014 in Science
Prestigious science journal Nature has opened up its archives. Users will be able to access articles dating back to 1869 from the journal and its sister titles, but cannot copy, print, or download the materials.
Macmillan, the publisher of Nature, Nature Medicine, Nature Genetics, and more than 45 other titles in the Nature Publishing Group (NPG), has announced that it will make articles in all of its NPG journals freely available to read.
Nature is a prominent interdisciplinary scientific journal. It was first published on 4 November 1869. It was ranked the world's most cited by the Science Edition of the 2010 Journal Citation Reports. Given the long history, its archives are bound to be of interest. However, there are some "catches."
Articles cannot be copied, downloaded, or printed. Furthermore, in order to access NPG articles through ReadCube, the software platform that Macmillan is using to display the content, users must get the read-only link from a subscriber. Institutional subscribers can access and share content dating back to 1869, the year Nature launched, while personal subscribers can share links of content only back to 1997.
This catch is not to everyone's taste. John Wilbanks, an open-access advocate and a senior fellow at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City, Missouri told the science site Nature (connected with the producer of the Nature journal material): "To me, this smacks of public relations, not open access. With access mandates on the march around the world, this appears to be more about getting ahead of the coming reality in scientific publishing. Now that the funders call the tune and the funders want the articles on the web at no charge, these articles are going to be open anyway."
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