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, the journal’s publisher Macmillan announced on 2 December.
The content-sharing policy, which also applies to 48 other journals in Macmillan’s Nature Publishing Group (NPG) division, including Nature Genetics, Nature Medicine and Nature Physics, marks an attempt to let scientists freely read and share articles while preserving NPG’s primary source of income — the subscription fees libraries and individuals pay to gain access to articles.
I just tried it from home, and was disappointed. I went to a random article, and there are new options: you can subscribe to Nature for a year for $199, or you can buy an individual article PDF for $18, or you can…buy 48 hour ReadCube access for $4.99.
Somebody needs to tell Nature that $4.99 is not “free”.
Or maybe there’s something I’m missing. Try going to Nature and browsing their articles, and let me know if there is some trick to it all.
Michael Eisen explains it. You peons don’t actually have free access. Gatekeepers, a few institutions given the ability and people who already subscribe, have the power to get links to ReadCube versions of the articles that they can then share with others.
It seems silly. So, if someone asks me, a person with institutional access to the journal, for a copy of a given article, I have a choice: I can download and send them the pdf I am able to get for free, or I can send them the more limited link to a ReadCube version of the article. Why would I do the latter? It’s kind of insulting.
It might be useful in a blog post if I could provide ReadCube links to articles I write about. It’s still a strange way to manage content, and clearly, as they state upfront, it’s to protect their financial interests.
OK, let’s try it. I logged in to my institutional account, picked a random article, and got a ReadCube link to it. Here it is: A beast of the southern wild. Can everyone read it now?