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Nature makes all articles free to view (nature.com)
1102 points by nikhilpandit on Dec 2, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 128 comments



For those not in the know, Nature is THE journal to be in if you want to be successful in bioscience. It is peer reviewed, fairly exclusive, and they generally only publish game changer style science. If you are in science, and you get a first author Nature paper, your ticket is punched and you are about to have a moderately successful career.

For all the nitpicking going on about the delivery method, searching, and it not being "enough", this will largely not matter to scientists. Articles are generally shared by DOI or PMID, indexing is very specific. If not, relevant papers in the field are nearly known by heart and new info from competing labs is checked on daily. Problems 1 and 2 are not as underserved as HN thinks.

This is a monster announcement for institutions that may not have the money for a Nature sub, and the public at large to have better access to such a powerful archive of historically hidden info. The fact that it's not delivered in a DRM-free format for every device ever all the way back to the oldest article is nothing compared to how incredibly huge this is. I am spamming this to all my old lab buddies as we speak.

TL;DR: The output system for academic publishing sucks at the high end, but it just got a lot less sucky.


First, I would like to point out that Nature is indeed considered "THE journal" by those who give importance to bibliometrics criteria (which imho is foolish), but it's really not clear that its quality is that good. For instance take this study which finds that Nature has one of the most important retractation rate: http://iai.asm.org/content/79/10/3855.full.pdf+html.

> (…) will largely not matter to scientists.

Please speak only for yourself. It matters to me and I'm not the only one.

> This is a monster announcement for institutions that may not have the money for a Nature sub.

No it's not. In his answer to your comment, silencio already explained that, but let me just present it in another way:

Before the announcement: when you want a Nature paper, you have to know someone with access to a subscription who can download the PDF for you and then send it to you.

After the announcement: when you want a Nature paper, you have to know someone with access to a subscription who can download the PDF for you and then send it to you, or who can also send you a link to some shitty read-only version of the paper on the condition that you register an account with Nature and that you use DRM-bloated proprietary software.

This is pure marketing, it's only PR, it has nothing to do with open access and it changes nothing in a good way, and it introduces DRMs where they were not.


While this sounds bad it's probably a sign of the amount of scrutiny Nature articles are under not the Quality of what's published. Basically, the rate of detection is higher in Nature so even if the underlying problem is the same or even less it’s going to look worse.


Indeed. I don't think anyone is saying that the high retractation rate implies that Nature paper are worse than other papers. However it is a sign that they may not be that much better either.


I would expect that the resulting quality of not-retracted and proven-by-time papers in Nature is a lot higher than in any other journal. Simply because of higher exposure, more attempts to reproduce or use studies and more scrutiny.


But... isn't that really the same thing? Not worse but not much better. Sounds like about the same.


Like it or not, publishing in Nature will give you an advantage over almost any other journal. Maybe it isn't the best way to judge a scientist, but it is a shortcut for many who will be employing them.


I'm not denying that. It's a fact. My point is that it is a very sad truth. I wanted to recall that bibliometrics is something that, as researchers, we have to fight against. For this reason I prefer to explain that although it is a fact that publishing in Nature gives you a big career advantage in academia, it's nonetheless important to be critical about this fact.


There's pubmed search in the readcube app itself and it works fine. I don't see that as a concern. DRM is frustrating but not the big problem right now. What I have a problem with, and I think most of the comments here are along the same lines, is that they're calling this "free" when it's really "free if you get a link from someone with a subscription already". It's an improvement but barely.

As a member of the public greatly missing the access I used to have through school just to satiate my curiosity, the way I get access now is exactly the same as what I did before so it's not really "better access to historically hidden info". I don't see how it's any better for cash-strapped institutions. I ask a friend with access if I don't find it on libgen, booksc, etc. first. Actually, the "can you send me a link" is rather stupid...I get PDFs now, why would I downgrade to DRM and a shitty restricted PDF reader? And the idea of creating libgen-esque sites to share readcube links seems like begging for publishers to revoke said links.

It would be cool if more publications online start to share articles when referencing them. That's the nice benefit to me, at least. No hiccup between reading about something and searching/waiting for the article.


I think this is also about Nature being listed side by side with free access journals, and knowing that if it says "Nature" you're going to have a bad time. They are trying to change their image a bit here, and rightly so.

Remember, this is considered the payest of paywall journals. There is almost no one else at that impact factor that could be more opposite to open access than Nature, and today we see this.

I agree that without institution access, it's hardmode to get Nature papers. I've always had great success just emailing the author. You'd be surprised at how much people like to share their work.


I really see it as the sound of creaking in the timbers withstanding the force of a gale. (how is that for mixing metaphors!)

Basically the push is on for returning science results to the community, and the institutions that used to thrive on the challenge of getting published are being slowly eroded. In this process, and I've seen it before, the institutions start testing possible compromise solutions to avoid destruction. "What if we make it viewable in our app?" "What if one paper a month is free?" "What if you have to provide personally identifiable information which we can use for any purpose in exchange for us letting your read the paper?" it goes on and on.

We have to continue to keep up the pressure, not accept any compromise, and force these publishers to open up the archives for face dismantling.


The list of incredibly influential papers that got rejected from Nature and Science is long and growing. Conversely, a lot of papers in Nature or Science (particularly in bio) do not necessarily represent deep or groundbreaking ideas, though they are widely cited. It's particularly regrettable the hiring and tenure committees do indeed "punch your ticket" if you have one or two publications in high-profile journals, as this creates (imo) an unhealthy obsession with hyping everything you do into a "breakthrough" result worthy of publication in the top journals. Scientific breakthroughs are rare (increasingly so, it must be) and it has always seemed unlikely to me that there are enough of them per week to fill up three or four prestigious journals.


It's not just _the_ journal for bioscience but pretty much all the hard sciences. Back when I was doing my doctoral in physics (I've left academia since), Nature was the top dog of journals; getting even one Nature publication meant near-automatic success on landing a good postdoc. The next best journal which, was still very impressive, was Science.


For those not in the know, Nature is THE journal to be in if you want to be successful in bioscience.

The key words there are "in bioscience". Nature publishes articles on other subjects, including nanotechnology and computer science. Those tend to be underwhelming.


That kind of gives out the wrong picture. Their contribution to the actual scientific process is small, and purely based on their preexisting reputation. It's because scientists in the first place submit their papers there that they hold that position. They do pick out good reviewers, for the same reason. Since they dont really have a say in peer review, their contribution ends in typesetting and printing (do people actually ever use those printed volumes?). And to be honest that's even changing, i spot many great articles (granted, most of them reviews or 'companion' papers) in many different journals.

For scientists, the value of the journals is the reviewer's comments, who spot errors, make useful suggestions etc. Correct me if i m wrong, but we've gotten excellent and extensive reviews from mid-range IF journals. Nature seems rather elitist in the bad sense (cliquish). Elsevier's top journals and Science are rather more strict. In general, the value of the journal for science is the rigorousness of reviews. There have been quite a few retractions from Nature and the misuse of statistics has been a consistent finding in studies by the Ioannides team.

As people (esp. young scientists) learn about these and about open access journals, Nature is definitely becoming less and less "THE journal", and the stranglehold you claim that it has on careers is really not that strong. Good science often speaks by itself.


I hav a better TL;DR: Nature is a gatekeeper that is not provably fair.

So basically, if the knowledge you discovered is TOO revolutionary, Nature can pass on it, and it will get short shrift even if it's true.

I am SO glad that the programming field is not like this. My code stands on its own merits. So would science... since it's, you know, science... independently verifiable... One would think! What if all code had to go through GitHub admins before it was published on GitHub?


Thanks for your opinion, Nature PR guy. However, most of what you state on your opening paragraph is really REALLY wrong.

You are part of the reason journals like Nature can still get away with it. I suggest you put your Nature shirt aside and spend sometime looking at what all the other journals are publishing nowadays, you would be surprised. Also, while you're at it, I suggest you to value your colleagues based on what they actually do instead of the name of the journals where they appear; you may end up doing real science and not these shameful PR stunts.


That is why academia for hard sciences is still very much a cathedral / ivory tower system. It is nearly a polar opposite to tech, where things are judged solely on merit.

I doubt you could argue that a first authorship Nature paper would be a negative with respect to your career prospects as an up and coming PI, either as for securing a position and/or for improving your funding.

Things are changing all the time, and pioneers like PLOS and JOVE are knocking it out of the park especially with their newer media offerings, and completely free access.

You can be as negative as you like, but to see this change from the stodgiest of journals is pretty great.


Key quote: "All research papers from Nature will be made free to read in a proprietary screen-view format that can be annotated but not copied, printed or downloaded."

It sounds like:

* you may have to install the ReadCube reader to view the protected PDFs, unclear if you can view them in a regular PDF viewer. ("ReadCube (...) will be used to host and display read-only versions of the articles' PDFs")

* only subscribers can initiate access sharing of specific articles, going back only to 1997 for individual subscribers. It sounds like the general public will not be able to search for articles and view them through the Nature website.

Well, it's a step forward.


I just checked this out, you do not have to install anything. From their website: "ReadCube Connect is an HTML5-powered interactive PDF viewer." I presume this update will please many people, because they can now see whether or not an article they're contemplating purchasing actually touches on desired areas or not. Good thinking on their part!


I just signed up for ReadCube, thinking this meant I could at least browse articles as a member of the general public. You have to install an app on your computer and log in to view articles and use it. ReadCube Connect seems to be a Scribd-esque way to embed articles on existing pages (like a news story), not a standalone app.

You also need a link shared to you via a paid subscriber (or one of a bunch of news sites etc.) to view articles. It's "free" in a very misleading way.


D'oh, can't edit to add a new observation: now that there are links shared in the comments here, it appears the webapp is in fact a thing and you're not required to install anything or log in to view the "enhanced" PDFs. But you need the webapp or the standalone app to view them.

Still requires those links in the first place though. I just get prompted to buy access if I use any of the pubmed/google scholar search functionality in the app. Blergh.


"See" perhaps being the operative word. What's the betting this works with screen readers or other technology for the visually impaired?


I'm wondering what's keeping anyone with a subscription from simply posting permanent links to the readcube article on a personal blog or another site (didn't read the ToCs though). If every lab posted links to their papers on researchgate, their lab website or scihub, a simple web search should bring up the paper and their weird restrictions would not matter in the long run. Especially when combined with r/scholar to get permanent links to old(er) research.

Big step forward. Working in a small biotech startup and often seeing that "Buy now that potentially crappy paper for 40 Euros without seeing more than the abstract"-button, I'm pretty excited.


So we're back to "researchers are [...] sharing content [...] using clumsy, time-consuming practices."


No. Sharing the link once should suffice.


This is why we need Aaron Swartz. This is why we need RMS.


I installed readcube for mac and the app was unable to connect to get the articles. Is anyone having such an issue?


My institution subscribes to Nature, and using my library's proxy to access the Nature website, I can use the "Share/bookmark" menu to generate links like http://rdcu.be/bKk4, http://rdcu.be/bKlc, http://rdcu.be/bKld, and http://rdcu.be/bKli, which can be viewed in the browser (or maybe only because I also just installed the ReadCube app?).

The articles linked to above span several months, but it's generating serial links, so I can only assume that it's able to track visits back to the subscriber and/or my university account.

The ReadCube HTML5 reader looks nice, but does not work with JavaScript disabled (no surprise there). It uses JavaScript to override text selection (disabling copy&paste), but after a little meddling with the developer tools and element inspector, you can find a decently near ancestor to the text and copy the DOM as html. Stick that into a new file and you can select (and copy) the text without too much further hassle.

The DOM is awkward and split up kind of like a PDF (selecting a range of text goes haywire in unpredictable cases), but in comparing the HTML DOM hierarchy to the text object structure in the original PDF (which, as a subscriber, I can download), I found no obvious similarities, so I'm guessing they aren't translating the PDF to HTML directly.


It is awful awful awful to show the "PDF download" button then go "Ha ha, no!" when you click it. Such a shitty UX.


Indeed. My options were

   1: "$3.99 rent,  $9.99 buy" (the was called the "ReadCube access" option)
   2: Purchase article full text and PDF: $8 (had no annotations, so presumably the "Nature" option)
In either case this is NOT "free". Nature, try again.


Should be "replicate experiment, writeup and peer review;" there, fixed it for you. You know the userscript.


Regarding the creation of the links to read the articles. For me the readcube link is just made from the DOI you get on the public webpage. It is so simple that I even wrote a little bookmarklet to do it: https://betatim.github.io/posts/read-any-nature-paper-for-fr...

For example for http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/natu... the readcube link is simply http://www.readcube.com/articles/10.1038/nature14015

It seems too easy? What am I missing?


Conclusion, I forgot to turn off my VPN at some point when testing the resulting link. If you are not at CERN (like me) it will just show a preview :(

If you want to learn about graphene's amazing properties go ahead and read the paper here: http://rdcu.be/bKud


A trivial bookmarket or addon could strip their nonsense from the page. The examples you posted were all single page articles, though. Perhaps multiple pages are rendered on demand in a way that would be less trivial to strip.


Yes, I'm convinced that someone is already hacking away at this. Just look at the state of all eBook DRM being currently broken, and that's a much tougher nut to crack (and publishers have much higher financial gains at stake). Also, since no-one else has mentioned it: analog hole.


Do you actually get a pure HTML5 reader on any of your links? For me, each of them requires flash: "To view this page in ReadCube Web Reader ensure that Adobe Flash Player version 10.0.0 or greater is installed."


I do. I block Flash in Firefox (v33.1), and it works in Firefox. Chrome (v38.0...) might have some Flash on it somewhere, but it's mostly HTML.


Their definition of "free" is interesting. Only paid subscribers can search for articles, and apparently others can view articles only if subscribers share links with them. For many purposes, articles might be "free" but still hidden from the public.


Most searching for articles is done via PubMed. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed

Nature gets seen side by side with free access journals there, and so now we get to see them for free (regardless of delivery mechanism). It likely doesn't matter what Hacker News thinks about this. Our impression of free, say github style open source free is otherworldly different than Nature's free: paywall, peer reviewed, exclusive, ultra prestige. Tomorrow there will be celebrations in my old lab about how amazing this is.


So how long until someone writes a web crawler that dumps all the links into a searchable public db?


This has already been done many times with regular pdfs [1-3]. There are mostly hosted illegally in places like Russia. I'm sure you can find more on TPB or similar.

[1] http://sci-hub.org/ [2] http://booksc.org/ [3] http://www.freefullpdf.com/


Unfortunately, these don't host many of the articles I would love to have access to. If I didn't know anyone still in uni, I would probably have no way of doing good research. Looks like one of them is proxying through a university that has access though.


You can also try /r/scholar; you usually get responses within a day or so [1].

[1]. http://www.reddit.com/r/scholar


sci-hub never let me down. It may take a while but it's quite effective.


How much is a subscription?



The data needed for searching (titles, abstracts, and other metadata), at least for biology-related articles, is already available in an XML dump from NIH. The public interface is called PubMed, so you can already search for Nature articles, just not within full text.

I have actually tried to do what you are suggesting before, so I could bulk-download PDFs (I have an institutional subscription). The problem is that the URLs are different for every journal, and some have Javascript that makes automated downloading hard. Since there are thousands of journals, it's very tedious to try to invent a generalized solution.


The public link is probably coded to each subscriber, so they would be able to identify the culprit and disable all the links from that subscriber.


Hah, come on. :) That's not a very high barrier. A 'pirate' simply has to get a throwaway account (or steal one, if he's truly bad) and he doesn't even have to worry about that.

I expect all Nature articles made "free" today to be available on TPB in one month. I'll put .1 BTC on it. :)


What odds?


As soon as a link is shared, each person who learns the URL is potentially a "culprit."


Not if the URL encodes the originator of the link, and all links tied to that user stop working when Nature flips a switch.

But regardless of what DRM scheme they choose, it's doomed to fail, all it takes is one person to crack the scheme and liberate the underlying documents. Alternatively, since 100 anointed blogs and media outlets will apparently have the right to download raw PDFs, all it takes is for one of their accounts to get hacked.


Don't you have that problem already?


Incorrect title. "Nature places all article in flakey peephole viewer."


"Nature allows paid subscribers to place any article in a flakey peephole viewer which usage is reserved to the ones who registered an account with Nature and agree to use some DRM-filled proprietary software".

FTFY :-/.


My thoughts exactly. I was incredibly excited until I read the first line or so. One day perhaps.


"One day" will come when free and open-for-everyone platforms will occupy that domain, not when "Nature" or some other sly organization will do that. Like archive.org, but with peer review by people who use it.

I'm sure that in principle it is possible. I mean, if you are interested in some domain you surely know few people who's opinion you'd trust. They might not even be Ph.Ds, but they somehow got this good reputation, probably not by accident. So if somebody like this presses "Like" button under some article and leaves comment about what is trustworthy here and what isn't, it probably will be as good (better, actually) for you, as opinion of Nature's staff. And as these people by definition are interested in this domain as well, chances are they also will be interested to read this article and thus will be able to press "Like" button and leave a comment.

So, yeah, in principle it it possible, but I imagine it is really hard to do it right. Because essentially it is the same as any "karma" or "rating" system on some forum, and inventing proper rating system is really hard — it's not the most knowledgeable people who usually have the highest rank on any thematic forum. But on forums and other existing social platforms it works, because rating isn't that important. And in our case it's all about rating and trust.


I paid for the research with my tax payer money. Give me full access to the articles. Anything less is unacceptable (unless Nature wants to pay me back the taxes they owe me).


There might be details I'm missing, but I think all NIH funded, peer-reviewed research needs to be publicly accessible within 12 months of publication.

http://publicaccess.nih.gov/policy.htm


Any Gates Foundation research is now required to be immediately available at publication as well:

http://www.gatesfoundation.org/how-we-work/general-informati...


Sounds like your beef is with the researchers or their teams for choosing a paid access publication, not Nature then.


Not all research is funded by tax payers.


Be prepared to name research projects that do not receive government funding in the first or second degree. (That is: receive funding directly, or from grant-making organizations that themselves receive substantial government funding.)


My company just had a paper accepted where we collaborated with Biogen Idec. Neither of us received government funding for the research.

Companies like OpenEye scientific publish many papers and proudly (for whatever reason) declare they have never received a government grant for their research.

When you work in an industry full of people with PhDs, lots of papers get published that didn't receive government funding; people with PhDs like to write papers.


Any research funded by non-governmental organizations like the Howard Hughes Foundation, Michael J Fox foundation, etc, etc.


A great deal of research funded by such organizations is done in combination with taxpayer funding, particularly with regard to infrastructure. As a cancer researcher I had funding from companies and foundations, but depended on my position in a tax-payer funded research lab to actually do the work.


Also, as charities they probably get tax advantages.


By that measure, everything is gov't funded. Thankfully the courts don't see it that way.


According to the way stem cell research was segregated, those projects would have had to take place in buildings funded without taxes, staffed by researchers paid by private funds, using new equipment and materials, etc...


Your taxes are not funding international research.


I think the claim was that they were being funded by taxes, not that they were being funded only by the taxes they personally pay.


Sounds like Libertarian propaganda. /s


> I paid for the research with my tax payer money. Give me full access to it.

though I have a similar desire I don't think that's a good argument for justifying it. why? evaluate the following symmetrical situations:

> I paid for the [tank, aircraft carrier, nukes, Fort Knox, etc] with my tax payer money. Therefore...

that said, I do think there's a greater net benefit to humanity, and scientific progress will accelerate, the easier, cheaper and less restrictive access we have to papers and research results.


> I paid for the [tank, aircraft carrier, nukes, Fort Knox, etc] with my tax payer money. Therefore...

That's not a very good comparison, as those are all rival goods, and furthermore have obvious negative externalities (IE are dangerous). I can't think of a non-rival government-funded good (without harmful externalities) that would NOT make sense to to make freely available.

Edit: Oh hey, I'm being downvoted for an opinion. Sitting at -1 right now.


Not sure why you're being down-voted. The comparison you were pointing out as being obviously idiotic is, in fact, obviously idiotic.

There's a far better comparison to be made with IP produced by NASA, for instance, which is automatically released directly to the public domain on the grounds that the American public is who commissioned it in the first place (for the rest of the world, it's a gift - you're welcome).


Not all IP; just most copyrighted images that NASA themselves produce. Patents by NASA are licensed to companies [1].

[1] http://technology.nasa.gov/patents

edit: Most of the biggest high profile publications from NASA get published in Science/Nature, which are both closed access FWIW.


Don't worry about early downvotes. (Also, don't complain about downvotes. That only makes the signal to noise ratio worse.)


Don't complain about complaining about downvotes.


Oh, I meant to educate about the culture, not complain.


Those are physically objects that cost a lot to replicate. The cost of making digital copies of research documents on the other hand...


I like the idea of shared annotations. Or more specifically I like the idea of Science as a conversation. It has always frustrated me that papers are formatted for print and don't include hyperlinks, and it's difficult to add comments or corrections to a paper.

Like others though I am not sure I believe that publishers should continue to exist in anything like their current form.


I would really enjoy an annotation system like genius.com

How that might work in a scholarly setting I'm not sure. The melting pot of commentary and feedback that can surround a paper is something that individual reviews will always struggle to capture, but is easily achieved with an annotated copy.

Whilst background and detailed investigation may be left out of sections of a paper, or are assumed knowledge for the target audience, annotations allow casual readers to engage with the content and the author beyond what is appropriate in the published form.

It would be interesting to see genius.com introduce a science section, or perhaps just more science sections (they have law, history, literature etc already), but the format doesn't immediately gel with how papers are currently published. A pdf annotation system might be the best bet for now.


Still a long way to go, but this is a huge step forward.

It's also not the first time Macmillan have tried something new - their whole Digital Science arm (which includes ReadCube) is focused on innovation and disruptive publishing tech: http://www.digital-science.com/


Does this BS marketing PR stunt qualify Nature-published research papers for Gates Foundation-backed research now? Meaning: does this announcement qualify Nature as "open" enough for the Gates Foundation?


No, I don't think this counts. The Gates foundation policy is going to require CC-BY, and it doesn't sound like Nature is going that way.


Cash is king.


" Nature's internal costs of publishing run at £20,000–30,000 (US$31,000–47,000) per paper, an extremely high charge to load onto authors or funders rather than spread over subscribers."

What in the digital world would make it so expensive to publish content ?


It's mostly the high editorial costs. Especially for the academic glamour journals, they are only accepting a small percentage of the manuscripts that come their way. It's a little silly though; they still charge hundreds to thousands of dollars to publish for "color figures" and other article processing charges despite being closed access. My papers in NPG journals often cost at or near publishing in open access ones.


>What in the digital world would make it so expensive to publish content ?

Profiteering and status. You're paying for access to the brand.


Paid editorial and peer review? Also, if a print-copy is being produced, someone has to type-set it, even if there's also a digital copy.


Peer review is not paid. I assume costs are for the staff editors (PhDs), copy editors, type setters, print and distribution costs, etc.

Source: I have published in nature


Sounds like the NFL without paying the players or coaches.


So if you want to get rich and you chose academia as your field, I have bad news for you.

I like to think that people write and review papers because they care about their field and its future. I could be wrong.


Still no reason for the journals to rip them off though.


Ah, the love of the game.


Waste and incompetence unchecked by competetion or regulation.


When you are feeling all touchy feely about this move, keep in mind the profit margins at academic publishers are higher than Apple. Yes, THAT Apple.

Source: https://alexholcombe.wordpress.com/2013/01/09/scholarly-publ...


I've looked into these numbers and it's really hard to parse what revenues and expenses are coming from their journal publishing. The publishers listed are also have huge amounts of revenue in textbooks and other book markets (to be fair, another awful scam). It might be better to look at non-profit publishers such as ACS and AAAS, which are also mainly closed-access. For example, AAAS which has Science magazine and a few other journals brought in 48M w/ 42M in expenses [1]. That said, they bring in 11M as well in member dues, which more than anything else gets you subscription to AAAS journals. It's harder to tell with ACS, because it also includes revenues for CAS and other services [2]. PLoS, an open access publisher, seems to generally have lower costs based on an author pays model FWIW.

[1] pg 50 of http://www.aaas.org/sites/default/files/AAAS_2013-Annual-Rep...

[2] https://acswebcontent.acs.org/annualreport/financials_financ...

[3] http://www.plos.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/2013-2014-Pro...


For half a second after I clicked through to ReadCube's site I thought it must be associated with Google because their website's design is the Googleist thing I've ever seen not actually associated with Google.

https://www.readcube.com/


The typography and layout, colors all seem pretty generic or even slightly unlike google, but I agree.

It must just be the Open Sans. I didn't realize how much I had it associated with Google's usage.


"Everything is free to read* they say. But there’s an asterisk, pesky and persistent, next to read. And it’s a big one.The asterisk is that you can’t do anything but read the document, and you have to download use their proprietary reader software in order to read the document, and you have to hope that someone who has a subscription or is a journalist is kind enough to share a link to the document that you want to read, and if you try to do anything other than look at the document passively on a screen you’re basically gonna get sued for copyright infringement." http://del-fi.org/post/104125242971/natures-shareware-moment

But by all means, let's celebrate a step forward taken by Nature.


Better headline: Nature will allow subscribers and media to decide who else can view articles for free


Well here is the link to my paper in Nature http://rdcu.be/bKB9


Nature did not make all articles free to view. That's a misleading announcement. What they did is far more limited. If you have a paid Nature subscription, you can get a link which you can send to someone else. They can then read a DRM-protected PDF-like file through a proprietary on-line viewer.

If you want to read an article right now, it's $18 and up. Or you can now "rent" the article for $3.99 and up and view it in their proprietary viewer for a short period.

This is decidedly not "open access publication".


Schools should really start teaching the concept of Turing completeness to kids, otherwise we'll get to the heat death of the universe with non technical people still thinking that this kind of crap is an acceptable solution.


free to read in a proprietary screen-view format

Free, under our control.


To take advantage of this you need a piece of software called Readcube which is available only for Windows and Mac.

Users of Linux and Android cannot avail of it.


I would love to get my hands on some of the articles from 1869. Hopefully someone will share a few of these articles publicly.


They're available here (as well as all the articles that are still copyrighted): http://libgen.org/scimag/?journalid=nature&v=1869&s=


Does the in-browser viewer use the new W3C-blessed DRM extensions?


Limited is the new free.


One step more towards the Democratization of knowledge!


Does the browser viewer use the new W3C DRM extensions?


This is a lame half assed solution.


Not free at all.


I never paid anything to view birds and snakes and lice and dogs and cats and...

Did someone hijack nature to extort money from unsuspecting passers-by?


Off topic: Why is this article dated December 2nd? It is still December 1st everywhere in the United States. Perhaps it was published after normal business hours on the 1st, thus defaulting to the 2nd as the official date? Just curious.


Because maybe the internet is global and not every site on the internet is US time?


I assumed Nature is a US publication. Oops.


Nature is published from London, the article was probably embargoed for publication on December 2 at midnight local time.


Nature Publishing Group is based in London


The internet doesn't exist solely in the US. It spans GMT -5 through GMT -8. There are countries that are up to 16 hours ahead in time..


I assumed Nature was a US publication. Oops.


> It spans GMT -5 through GMT -8.

Please explain.


US mainland does span from GMT-5 to GMT-8.


Oh, for some reason I assumed `it' meant the world.


Maybe their servers use UTC.




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