Open access for Nature genome papers

Nature Publishing Group has adopted a new formal policy that will allow researchers to freely access, distribute, and reuse all papers which provide organisms' genomic sequences, according to a Nature linkurl:editorial;http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v450/n7171/full/450762b.html published online Wednesday (December 5). The policy does not mark a big change in practice -- Nature has always made genomic papers immediately and freely available on their Web site. But the new "creative commons

Andrea Gawrylewski
Dec 6, 2007
Nature Publishing Group has adopted a new formal policy that will allow researchers to freely access, distribute, and reuse all papers which provide organisms' genomic sequences, according to a Nature linkurl:editorial;http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v450/n7171/full/450762b.html published online Wednesday (December 5). The policy does not mark a big change in practice -- Nature has always made genomic papers immediately and freely available on their Web site. But the new "creative commons" license is a formal statement allowing non-commercial publishers and users to freely access the genome papers. It is also a recognition of what Nature editors call the unique characteristic of genome papers: "They represent the completion of a key and fundamental research resource, describing and reflecting on what has been revealed but not usually providing insights into mechanism." Under this new license, "users are free to copy, distribute, transmit and adapt the contribution, provided this is for non-commercial purposes, subject to the same or...
rganisms' genomic sequences, according to a Nature linkurl:editorial;http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v450/n7171/full/450762b.html published online Wednesday (December 5). The policy does not mark a big change in practice -- Nature has always made genomic papers immediately and freely available on their Web site. But the new "creative commons" license is a formal statement allowing non-commercial publishers and users to freely access the genome papers. It is also a recognition of what Nature editors call the unique characteristic of genome papers: "They represent the completion of a key and fundamental research resource, describing and reflecting on what has been revealed but not usually providing insights into mechanism." Under this new license, "users are free to copy, distribute, transmit and adapt the contribution, provided this is for non-commercial purposes, subject to the same or similar license conditions and due attribution," says the editorial. While this is a welcome move, Peter Suber, professor at Earlham College and open access advocate, says on his linkurl:blog,;http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/2007/12/oa-for-genome-research-from-nature.html he asks why the fundamental nature of genome papers makes them any different than other types of research. "It seems that the answer is that research of this description is very basic and very useful. If so, the principle is of very wide application and should affect access policies (at least at Nature) on many other topics," Suber writes. The Nature editorial does say that while research in other disciplines may be described this way -- as fundamental without a revealed mechanism -- the "fundamental character" of the genome has led them to make an exception to their usual subscriber and revenue model. Nature also provides free access to all their papers to 100 of the world's poorest countries, and in June launched linkurl:Nature Precedings,;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/53294/ an open access journal for preliminary, non-peer reviewed research results.

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?