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The Media Science

Nature Makes All Articles Free To View 97

An anonymous reader writes: Scientific journal publishers have been under pressure recently by both scientists and the public to relax their restrictive rules on the sharing of information. Now, Macmillan has announced that its Nature Publishing Group will make all research papers free to read. This will require the use of proprietary viewing software, but it's a step in the right direction. "Initial reactions to the policy have been mixed. Some note that it is far from allowing full open access to papers. "To me, this smacks of public relations, not open access," says John Wilbanks, a strong advocate of open-access publishing in science and a senior fellow at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City, Missouri. '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,' he says. But Peter Suber, director of the Office for Scholarly Communication at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, says that the program is a step forward in that it eliminates the six-month embargo that NPG demands for free archiving of manuscripts."
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Nature Makes All Articles Free To View

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  • No they haven't (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 02, 2014 @06:20AM (#48505029)

    You need a proprietary reader (just Windows and OS X). You need an institutional license if you want to access the older reports, and you need a subscription to access those going back just a few years.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 02, 2014 @06:58AM (#48505129)

      Thats fucking retarded. Just offer a damn pdf like everyone else. Self righteous fuckholes.

      • Thats fucking retarded. Just offer a damn pdf like everyone else. Self righteous fuckholes.

        Terry Pratchett wrote of grimoires in the Unseen University libary that were perilous. While you read them, they read you.

        Now they really exist. Oracle keeps sending me such publications.

        And that's not even counting the tattling that e-reader systems like Kindle, Nook, and Adobe do.

    • by quenda ( 644621 )

      Sounds like more nurture than nature to me.

    • They're articles. If you need some extra software to read an article then you're doing it wrong. Hell, even scans of older stuff can be put out there as a PDF. Anything new should be HTML or something freely convertible to whatever format comes along.

      • by thieh ( 3654731 )
        I thought you can just take screenshots and put them in paint. But then again, there was Aaron Schwarz
    • The question is, will Nature be "free" going forward? If not, what limitations will be put on it.

      Reading the article, it seems that the way this is going to work is that non-subscribers cannot access nature articles (which is disappointing), but anyone who does have access to the articles can share them with anyone who does not have access.

      It is still a much better solution than the current one, which requires you to either pay or to login to your institution and search.

      At least it is a step in the right d

  • Broken yet? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by J'raxis ( 248192 ) on Tuesday December 02, 2014 @06:26AM (#48505049) Homepage

    So is the DRM broken yet?

    No? I'll check back in 10 minutes...

    • DRM is not harmful for things that are popular. Popular things get copied anyway. However I dont think this is popular enough to motivate somebody to break the DRM.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 02, 2014 @06:44AM (#48505089)

    "The article originally quoted Peter Suber as saying that the new programme eliminated the six-month embargo NPG places on authors self-archiving manuscripts in online repositories. The six-month self-archiving embargo remains, so this sentence has been removed."

    • "The article originally quoted Peter Suber as saying that the new programme eliminated the six-month embargo NPG places on authors self-archiving manuscripts in online repositories. The six-month self-archiving embargo remains, so this sentence has been removed."

      Even if that had been accurate, it's disappointing to see Harvard adopt such a toadying attitude. They've got one hell of a brand, a massive endowment, a great deal of prestige, some excellent faculty and (at least when it comes to dealings in real estate around their campus) a...forceful...approach to negotiation. You'd think that they could put that toward a worthy cause by helping to bring the publishers to heel, rather than making conciliatory statements about pitiful little PR stunts like this.

  • ReadCube? Never! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 02, 2014 @06:56AM (#48505123)

    I'd be willing to pay money to not have to use that piece of crap.

    How can folks be so arrogant to assume that a professional hasn't got her workflows up and running? We are't thrilled to get *your* workflow and *the other publisher's workflow* all of them pushed down our throats.

    And we, the researchers, libraries and students are collateral damage of the turf wars of the platforms. Thanks, but no thanks. Go play bingo or blackjack in some casino, but leave us the fuck alone.

    I'll take paper over this mess any day.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Yup, me too. But mostly because ReadCube is "available for both Mac and PC", i.e. no Linux. Bzzzt. Thanks for playing.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        > no Linux. Bzzzt. Thanks for playing.

        That's a deal breaker for me too. But not enough. Open, documented interfaces -- won't settle for less.

      • Linux? What about Android, Kindle, and iOS? A lot of academics read papers on tablets now. If your platform doesn't support all of those (including integrating with the apps that people use for bibliography management and annotation on these devices) then it's dead in the water.
        • A lot of academics read papers on tablets now.

          Is this a ploy to get people to buy Surface Pro tablets, which run Windows?

          If your platform doesn't support all of [Android, Kindle, and iOS] (including integrating with the apps that people use for bibliography management and annotation on these devices) then it's dead in the water.

          Say a platform says "Android and Kindle Fire: Download reader from Google Play or Amazon Appstore now! iOS: Coming soon." If this is is unacceptable, then how does it benefit anyone to keep the Android reader unavailable to the public pending approval of the iOS reader by Apple?

      • What problems did you encounter when trying ReadCube for Windows in Wine? Its AppDB currently does not list ReadCube. Or is it like PunkBuster and GFWL, which intentionally require bit-perfect copies of Windows system files to be present on the disk?
        • > What problems did you encounter when trying ReadCube for Windows in Wine?
          My dear fellow, I didn't go that far off the beaten track! On clicking "Get ReadCube", I got a page that said (I kid you not) "Aw, shucks, ReadCube is not available for your platform". Aw, shucks!?? WTF, I didn't come here to be talked to in that tone of cyber-voice. As I said, BZZZZT!
    • I suspect that they aren't so arrogant as to assume that others don't already have preferred workflows; just so arrogant as to assume that whatever best suits their revenue model is the only workflow that matters.
    • How can folks be so arrogant

      They're Nature. Along with Science, *the* leading scientific journal. They figure you can't live without them, but they can live without you. And they're right enough of the time to get away with it.

      • Are they? I was under the impression that most stuff that they publish is the pop-science puff piece that's supposed to encourage interested readers to go to the real articles. I've never cited an article from either of them and wouldn't think to look at them unless someone sends me a link, whereas I'll skim the top tier journals and conference proceedings in my field regularly to keep up to date.
        • I've never cited an article from either of them and wouldn't think to look at them

          You may not cite them, but lots of people do. There's widely cited figures of 1999-2009 (alas, I haven't been able to readily Google something more recent) which have Nature and Science easily at the top of references per article (they're 3 and 4 for overall cites; PNAS and Journal of Biological Chemistry have somewhat more, but PNAS published three times as many papers, and JBC published over five times as many)

    • Re:ReadCube? Never! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <slashdotNO@SPAMworf.net> on Tuesday December 02, 2014 @12:10PM (#48506845)

      I'd be willing to pay money to not have to use that piece of crap.

      How can folks be so arrogant to assume that a professional hasn't got her workflows up and running? We are't thrilled to get *your* workflow and *the other publisher's workflow* all of them pushed down our throats.

      And we, the researchers, libraries and students are collateral damage of the turf wars of the platforms. Thanks, but no thanks. Go play bingo or blackjack in some casino, but leave us the fuck alone.

      I'll take paper over this mess any day.

      Then use the existing methods, they aren't going away. And if you really do need access to Nature (or Science), you probably already have institutional access that gets you what you need.

      This stuff is more about the public not having to pay the $10 or whatever to get past the paywall and read the rest of the paper. You know, the people who don't have subscriptions to Nature.

      Now they do. Funny how people can now have a free option to read the stuff and it's not "free" enough, when before they had to pay.

      Sure it's not open access. But you know what? It's a step. Right now open-access journals have a reputation problem (see that paper that got published about a mailing list?).

      For those who hate it - well, the situation is the same as it was before - you don't have access to the paper. For those willing to run through the hoops, you just got access to it, whereas before you had to ante up. That's progress.

      And that 6-month rule has always been there, so no changes.

      Sheesh, the way people react, it's as if yesterday's access was better than today. Because yesterday you couldn't get at the paper, but today you can if you run through some hoops.

  • by umafuckit ( 2980809 ) on Tuesday December 02, 2014 @07:06AM (#48505141)
    Often if you Google "ARTICLE TITLE" + PDF you will find a paywalled research somewhere. Researchers want their papers read and will often host them on their websites.
    • by wonkey_monkey ( 2592601 ) on Tuesday December 02, 2014 @07:45AM (#48505223) Homepage

      Researchers want their papers read and will often host them on their websites.

      Nature apparently restricts authors from doing so for six months (on pain of not getting their next paper published in Nature, presumably).

      • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Tuesday December 02, 2014 @08:02AM (#48505281) Homepage Journal

        Nature apparently restricts authors from doing so for six months (on pain of not getting their next paper published in Nature, presumably).

        Use the personal approach. Google for the author, find out where they work, check the department pages to find their email address, email them directly. I have literally never been denied a request for a copy when I managed to locate an author of a paper.

        • by wonkey_monkey ( 2592601 ) on Tuesday December 02, 2014 @09:44AM (#48505701) Homepage

          I have literally never been denied a request for a copy when I managed to locate an author of a paper.

          You might if we all start doing that.

          • In the Days Before The Internet that's exactly how you got a paper. You wrote a letter, postcard and eventually a fax asking for a reprint (or preprint if you were actually in the field and knew about it). The author mailed (remember that system?) you a physical copy that was professionally printed on shiny paper (at least until they ran out).

            Then email came along and they emailed you a PDF which was actually cooler and easier. Until your University's domain got caught in their spam filters. Oh well, th

          • You might if we all start doing that.

            If authors start getting deluged with requests for their papers, they will be motivated to post them to open access journals.

        • by tibit ( 1762298 )

          This works quite well indeed: most of the authors, in spite of being busy, also like their egos to be stroked just a bit, every so often. Such requests a nice ego strokers.

        • That's exactly what I do, when sufficiently motivated. And generally it works. (I normally include some questions or comments raised by the abstract, or whatever other report of the paper I've received) to indicate that I've RTFP (I know - Slash-Heresy!).
    • by delt0r ( 999393 )
      Or just email us. I always provide a pdf to anyone who asks
  • I think it is a great news and they are setting a precedent.
  • by damn_registrars ( 1103043 ) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Tuesday December 02, 2014 @07:43AM (#48505211) Homepage Journal
    With luck the software they chose for this will place a high enough load on their webservers that they will eventually collapse under the load. Once that happens they will need to seek out a way to distribute the papers that doesn't reduce their servers to smouldering rubble; there is a good chance that situation will force them to just start letting everyone view the papers as regular PDF without additional software.
  • Nature Makes All Particles Free To View

    Trippy.

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