The Macmillan Science and Education, famous as the publisher of Nature, published a new initiative of online sharing of academic articles.
Research papers from Nature and relevant journals will be able to look through on the internet for free, according to Macmillan. With a specific software, you can browse the articles online and share the link to each article. But downloading will be limited.
Nature: Nature makes all articles free to view
Nature and some academic journals requires high amount of fee to subscribers. So, most researchers have to access the server of a library which has made a contract with each publisher. This scheme will aid researchers to make a discussion about the newest findings, regardless of their positions or locations.
This service is of course beneficial to researchers. But, it sounds a little out-of-date. Actually, many journals have published their products for free since the end of 20th century. The number of open access journals is rapidly increasing. In such form of publication, the writers cost the fee instead of subscribers. Despite of some arguments, open access is gradually becoming dominant. Several trials have been attempted for free access in other regions.
My past entry: Free e-library in Norway
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In Macmillan scheme, you have a difficulty to see the articles offline. It would be troublesome in some occasions. I also think that requiring a specific software is not smart.
To begin with, academic articles is worthy only when it is quoted. Copy protection is absurd for them. Plagiarism is easy to be revealed because there are many specialists in each region of science.
My past entry: Free textbooks, my opinion
After all, I admire the policy of Macmillan, but not entirely. Some day, Nature will be delivered to every researchers for free.