... Scitable, a site introduced by the well-respected Nature Publishing Group, has more than 200 articles that concentrate mostly on genetics. The submissions are crafted in a way that is applicable to college students, not just scientists and academicians.
Scitable's January launch came as elite universities across the United States are embracing open-access formats--making research articles available for free online. This marks an abrupt departure from the traditional model of printing research articles in academic journals, which can cost campuses as much as $20,000 annually, open-access experts say. As university budgets stagnate, journal subscriptions are proving unaffordable for even the richest American campuses.
Clare O'Connor, an associate professor in Boston College's Biology Department, said Scitable articles could be an asset for professors looking to supplement their courses with material that doesn't come with the skyrocketing costs of textbooks. ...
[Nature Education senior vice president and publishing director Vikram] Savkar said Scitable will expand in the coming year to include material from the life sciences--including cell biology and molecular biology--and will include advertising so the site can become "self sustainable."
For now, O'Connor said, Scitable articles could serve as a supplement for professors looking to include resources that aren't available in textbooks. But if universities and academic journals continue to make material available for free online, O'Connor said, college courses could be run without traditional textbooks.
"I think it's conceivable that someone might be able to run a course on Scitable alone someday," she said.
The open access movement:
Putting peer-reviewed scientific and scholarly literature
on the internet. Making it available free of charge and
free of most copyright and licensing restrictions.
Removing the barriers to serious research.