Nature announced that it will make all of its articles free to view, read, and annotate online. That applies to the historic science journal (launched in 1869) and to 48 other scientific journals in Macmillan’s Nature Publishing Group (NPG). Other titles include Nature Genetics, Nature Medicine and Nature Physics.
But there are a whole lot of caveats. The press release reads:
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 content-sharing policy … 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.
But wait, there are a few more caveats. The archives will be made available to subscribers (e.g., researchers at universities) as well as 100 media outlets and blogs, and they can then share the articles (as read-only PDFs) with the rest of the world. This is all part of a one-year experiment.