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Nature goes open preprint!

Nature magazine has set up a site — Precedings — where scientists can post their papers before those papers are reviewed and accepted. This a big deal. As Nature’s Timo Hannay puts it in a broadcast email:

The traditional way for scientists to share their research results is through journals. These have the benefit of being peer-reviewed, citable and archival, but as a communication channel they are also relatively slow and expensive. As a complement to this, scientists also use more immediate and informal approaches, such as preprints (i.e., unpublished manuscripts), conference papers and presentations. The trouble is, these usually aren’teasy to share in a truly globally way (most repositories are institution- or funder-specific), and you can’t formally cite them (which is important because citation underlies the scientific credit system).

Nature Precedings is trying to overcome those limitations by giving researchers a place to post documents such as preprints and presentations in a way that makes them globally visible and citable. Submissions are filtered by a team of curators to weed out obviously inappropriate material, but there’s no peer-review so accepted contributions appear online very quickly — usually within a couple of hours. The content is all released under a Creative Commons Attribution License, and each item is made citable using a DOI or Handle (the same systems used for peer-reviewed scholarly papers).

Timo goes on to acknowledge that arXiv has done this for physics and other disciplines.

This is very cool. From CC to DOI, it hits all the right notes. Even the name is good. And because Nature is one of the most important research journals around, this is a big deal. [Tags: ]

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