Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Nature launches three OA resources

Community service: Introducing three free-access websites for research networking and outreach, Nature, June 7, 2007.  Excerpt:

...[Nature's dual mission "to help scientists communicate with each other and to communicate science to wider audiences"] applies to two websites to be launched this week: Nature Reports Climate Change and Nature Reports Stem Cells. Aimed at researchers and at anyone else who is interested, both give an editorial perspective of their fields through a combination of original journalism and commissioned comment, alongside archived material from other Nature publications. Both sites also facilitate community interactions through blogs....

These sites will develop further by way of community interactions and applications in the coming months. The original content of both is freely accessible.

Also free is a very different website to be launched next week: Nature Precedings. As its title implies, this site will enable researchers to share, discuss and cite their early findings. It provides a lightly moderated and relatively informal channel for scientists to disseminate information, especially recent experimental results and emerging conclusions. In this sense, it is designed to complement traditional peer-reviewed journals, allowing researchers to make informal communications such as conference papers or presentations more widely available and enabling them to be formally cited. This, in turn, allows them to solicit community feedback and establish priority over their results or ideas.

Intended to cover biomedicine, chemistry and the Earth sciences, the site will host a wide range of research documents, including preprints, unpublished manuscripts, white papers, technical papers, supplementary findings, posters and presentations. All submissions will be reviewed by staff curators and accepted only if they are considered to be legitimate scientific contributions of likely interest to others in that field. No judgement is to be made about the quality or uniqueness of the work, and submissions are not subjected to peer review before they are released. Because of this, accepted submissions will usually be published within one working day, and no charge is made to either authors or readers.

Nature Precedings will make full use of participative features such as tagging, voting and commenting to facilitate the discovery of especially interesting and relevant content. We anticipate that the content will be mirrored by academic partner organizations, several of whom have been involved with us in developing this service. As well as allowing it to become incorporated into the substantial information hubs already provided by these organizations, this federated approach will also help to ensure the long-term availability of the content ó and act as a practical guarantee of the Nature Publishing Group's pledge not to charge readers for access.

PS:  Kudos to Nature for adding these OA resources to its lengthy list of earlier OA projects and experiments.

Update. See Nature's June 8 press release on Nature Precedings:

...It is anticipated that the content will be mirrored at one or more partner organisations. This federated approach will ensure the long-term availability of the content, and effectively guarantee that the service will remain free and open....

Graham Cameron, Associate Director of the EBI, said, "This is a great step forward in the open sharing of the findings of science. It will...facilitate connections to our databases and allow the application of our state-of-the-art text-mining tools."

"Science progresses through the open exchange and reuse of ideas and data, but within a system that provides proper credit for their originators," said John Wilbanks, Executive Director of Science Commons. "Creative Commons licenses can help to achieve just that, and we are delighted they have found yet another scientific use in Nature Precedings." ...

Representatives of [the project partners, NPG, the British Library, the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI), Science Commons, and the Wellcome Trust] will form a Precedings Advisory Committee, where they will be joined by a group of senior practicing scientists....

Update. Also see the Science Commons blog post on Nature Precedings. Excerpt:

This is the biological equivalent of the physics arXiv, but with a critical improvement. Placing pre-prints online solves the problem of an individualís ability to access an article. But in the absence of an explicit copyright license, itís unclear what that individual can actually do with the downloaded file. Natureís choice to use CC-BY is a validation of the need to grant rights in advance to users, and of the CC-BY license in a truly Open Access service.