Springer Nature, the Macmillan-owned research, educational and professional publisher, has announced the expansion of a trial content sharing program based on the famous scientific journal Nature. According to the statement, “Springer Nature will provide authors with shareable links to view-only versions of their peer-reviewed research papers, starting with authors of Nature and the Nature research journals. This initiative will then be extended to authors of all other Springer Nature-owned primary research journals, and ultimately to all authors of Springer Nature published primary research journals.”
Technology partner on the initiative is ReadCube, “whose industry-leading functionality enables sharers to make available final published versions of research papers in the streaming Enhanced PDF format. In addition to the full text of the articles the Enhanced PDF provides hyperlinked in-line citations and figures, annotation capabilities, one-click access to supplemental content and figures and advanced article metrics.” Springer Nature’s move follows the trial begun in December 2014, which generated some “200 extra uses of each of the 6,000 research papers included in the trial.”
Eventually, according to Springer Nature, “authors and subscribers will be able to share content from over 2,700 journals and 300,000 new articles per annum with researchers across widely accessible platforms,” with “public access via mainstream media also to be extended.”
Whether this approach helps to address some of the many controversies surrounding scientific publishing and learned journals remains to be seen. There are certainly enough projects that seek to disrupt the kind of name-brand expensive flagship learned journal model typified by Nature. And Macmillan hasn’t been exactly innocent in these controversies either. Nor has Nature. It should be interesting to see the feedback from the research community on this move.