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.
> (…) 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.
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.
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.
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 key words there are "in bioscience". Nature publishes articles on other subjects, including nanotechnology and computer science. Those tend to be underwhelming.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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)
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?
If you want to learn about graphene's amazing properties go ahead and read the paper here: http://rdcu.be/bKud
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.
I expect all Nature articles made "free" today to be available on TPB in one month. I'll put .1 BTC on it. :)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
edit: Most of the biggest high profile publications from NASA get published in Science/Nature, which are both closed access FWIW.
Like others though I am not sure I believe that publishers should continue to exist in anything like their current form.
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.
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/
What in the digital world would make it so expensive to publish content ?
Profiteering and status. You're paying for access to the brand.
Source: I have published in nature
I like to think that people write and review papers because they care about their field and its future. I could be wrong.
 pg 50 of http://www.aaas.org/sites/default/files/AAAS_2013-Annual-Rep...
It must just be the Open Sans. I didn't realize how much I had it associated with Google's usage.
But by all means, let's celebrate a step forward taken by Nature.
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".
Free, under our control.
Users of Linux and Android cannot avail of it.
Did someone hijack nature to extort money from unsuspecting passers-by?