Macmillan owns 48 different publications that are geared towards science under their Nature Publishing Group umbrella. The publisher has announced that they are now making all content freely available to read in their new online e-reader viewer.
Nature launched in 1869 to provide the public with current scientific information and help scientists share their research. It’s now the leading, most cited journal of its kind in the world. Nature keeps researchers and scientists up to date with the latest developments in their field and beyond. And nature.com gives 8 million visitors a month access to over 100 prestigious publications and services such as Naturejobs.
Macmillan is using technology from ReadCube, a software platform similar to Apple’s iTunes, will be used to host and display read-only versions of the articles’ PDFs. If the initiative becomes popular, it may also boost the prospects of the ReadCube platform, in which Macmillan has a majority investment.
The program basically lets scientists and the public read the digital content as far back as 1869, while personal subscribers get access from 1997 on. The gambit is with all of this free content available it should hopefully get more paid subscribers. Philip Campbell, the editor-in-chief of Nature and the other Nature-branded journals, has said that Nature‘s internal costs of publishing run at £20,000–30,000 per paper, an extremely high charge.
Annette Thomas, chief executive of Macmillan’s Science and Education division, said that the publisher intends the policy as a pilot and will be evaluating it over the coming year. She says that she expects libraries and personal users to continue to subscribe to the journal, but also that scientists would embrace the new sharing model. Other science publishers, such as Wiley, use ReadCube to display preview versions of their papers, so it is possible that the same idea might spread to others.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and Verge.