Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Temporary free access to RS journals back to 1665

The Royal Society has finished digitizing all the back issues of all its journals back to 1665.  To celebrate, it's offering free online access to the lot until December.  See the RS announcement or The Register's news story.  (Thanks to Matt Cockerill.)

Normally I don't blog trial offers of free online access but I'm making an exception for this one.  This window onto the history of science is extraordinary.

Update. Here's a comment from Tom Wilson on the Information Research Weblog:

The journals will be freely available until the end of the year but then only through subscription. Unfortunately, the Royal Society has teamed up with JSTOR in making this offer, and JSTOR is not an open access supporter.

So - this fascinating resource will not be available readily to historians of science, unless their institutions pay the subscription, or to enthusiastic amateurs, or, presumably, to school-children. Surely the archive could have been made partially open access - from 1665 to 1899, perhaps?

Once again, we have an instance of commercial interests closing down access to scholarly, scientific information.