We've had a long and thoughtful reply from Timo Hannay about the SciShare/ReadCube "free access". I shall reply to it. It gives the impression that Nature is a progressive publisher committed to Open Access. That may be true in parts. But Nature also has a very strong commercial effort and it's useful to see some of this. Rather than quoting subscription prices, I'm going to look at re-use. Re-use of material that is paid for by subscriptions.
I've looked at today's Nature. I can't read any of it as it's behind a paywall, so there are some guesses. Of the main scientific articles/letters (ca 16 in http://www.nature.com/nature/index.html) I don't see any labelled as Open Access or similar. Let's see if they can be re-used?
I choose a reasonably believable scenario; an NGO in sub-Saharan Africa interested in human genomic variation. This is likely to be of interest to politicians, medics, historians and citizens-with-curious-minds.
Here's the first landing page:
OK - the new "free" access means you can get it without paying IFF:
- you find a friend to send you the link. I don't know how to do this ATM. But let's say it takes 15 mins on twitter. (actually you'll probably get #icanhazpdf that way, but that's illegal so I won't do it.
- get the link. I have no idea what happens but I assume it says "do you want to download and install ReadCube and give it permission to read your filestore". (another 10-15 mins).
- Assume I read it and want my 10 colleague teachers to read it. They don't have Internet (they have mobile phones) so I'll send them paper. Yes, paper is still strong in SubSahara. I am a law abiding citizen and so follow Rights and Permissions
Which charges me 1600 USD to reprint it, even for 10 copies. It's probably 1 page long. That's for PERMISSION. 160 USD for each page reused. It's not for the actual paper.
I'm a non-profit, non-commercial, organization and ten schools have to pay 1600 USD for a paper which is about ME.
SciShare doesn't help, does it?
And who does the copyright belong to. Since I can't read the paper I don't know (it's behind a paywall). But we have the ambiguous "Rights Managed by Nature Publishing Group".
That's new on me. Some of the publishers' copyrights seem deliberately obtuse.
So how would I get a copy of the paper.
another 18 USD... which means we don't use ReadCube at all....
Is this fair? you decide...