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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