Nature Back-Slides on Self-Archiving

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Sun, 23 Jan 2005 17:55:58 +0000

                    CORRIGENDUM (January 24 204)

   [This is a correction to the 10 January posting below, which had been
   based on a press release sent me by Declan Butler of Nature that was
   (perhaps unintentionally) misleading. It led me to believe that the
   announcement below was merely an *addendum* to Nature's existing
   self-archiving policy, which had until then been green for immediate
   postprint self-archiving. But in fact the existing Nature policy
   was being withdrawn, without explicitly stating it, and replaced
   by a policy that embargoes self-archiving for 6 months. It would
   seem -- though one cannot be sure -- that the Nature press release had
   been timed to coincide with the scheduled (but suddenly postponed)
   announcement of the NIH's own policy of inviting its fundees to
   self-archive within 6 months (now perhaps to become instead 12 months)
   after publication. This is not Open Access. It is Back Access. And
   the Nature policy is Back-Sliding, with the NIH-6/12 policy as
   its justification. I withdraw my erroneous endorsement of Nature's
   Back-Sliding on self-archiving and instead deplore it in the strongest
   terms. What has now become the NIH Back Access policy, though its
   original intentions were good, was ill-conceived and has now (even
   without being formally announced) turned into a de facto disservice
   to OA and its progress, contrary to the interests of research and
   researchers, and an invitation to publishers to Back-Slide on their
   self-archiving policy. It is fervently to be hoped that the NIH will
   not formalise this Back Access policy, and that responsible green
   publishers will not exploit the confusion as an excuse to Back-Slide
   on green. Nature's URLs on the subject have been vanishing
   mysteriously since the press release -- the self-archiving
   URL below no longer works, but neither at the moment does
   this link in:
   As this may simply be a coincidence, I include the current link
   from a version I saved while the Nature link still worked: I will be happy
   to remove it if Nature so requests. I provide the
   link now on the assumption that the bad link is just a glitch. If
   the link does not work by the time you read this, it means Nature
   has asked me to remove it.]


Nature is already a full-green publisher: It has given its official
green light to its authors to self-archive both their unrefereed
preprints and their peer-reviewed postprints at any time, if they wish
to do so:

Nature now announce that -- over and above this green light to its
authors to self-archive if/when they wish to do so -- they are
adding an *encouragement* to their authors to do so (six months
after publication). This is certainly a welcome further impetus to

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 10 Jan 2005 19:03:31 +0100
From: "Declan Butler, Journalist, Nature" <>
Subject: Nature on self archiving

Hi Stevan
fyi; please feel free to forward to your list.

Nature Publishing Group announces change to self-archiving policy

As of January 2005, authors of original research papers published by
Nature Publishing Group (NPG) will be encouraged to submit the author's
version of the accepted, peer-reviewed manuscript to their relevant
funding body's archive, for release six months after publication. In
addition, authors will also be encouraged to archive their version of
the manuscript in their institution's repositories (as well as on their
personal web sites), also six months after the original publication.

This policy has been developed to extend the reach of scientific
communications, and to meet the needs of authors and the evolving
policies of funding agencies that may wish to archive the research they
fund. It is also designed to protect the integrity and authenticity of
the scientific record, with the published version clearly identified as
the definitive version of the article.

Nature was launched in 1869, and has always aimed to communicate science
not only between scientists but also to the broader public. For many
years Nature has worked closely with the world's press to ensure
scientific discoveries can be communicated as widely as possible.
Nature has always aimed to provide analysis and background information
to present science in context, both through its award winning daily free
news service, and through review and commentary

NPG recognizes the balance of rights held by publishers, authors, their
institutions and their funders (Zwolle Principles, 2002), and has been a
progressive and active participant in the recent debates about access to
the literature (see
In 2002, NPG was one of the first publishers to allow authors to post
their contributions on their personal web sites, by requesting an
exclusive license-to-publish, rather than requiring authors to transfer
copyright. We see this most recent development as another step forward
in the evolution of scientific communication on the Internet.

We plan to actively support the self-archiving process, and we will take
further steps in the coming months to facilitate this. We will continue
to work with our authors, readers, subscribers, and site license holders
to develop our policies, publications and services in line with their
needs. By recognizing the rights and needs of all relevant stakeholders,
we hope to ensure that NPG enhances its position as the world's highest
impact publisher.

Nature Publishing Group (NPG) is a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd,
dedicated to serving the academic and professional scientific community.
NPG's flagship title, Nature, is the world's most highly-cited weekly
multidisciplinary journal and was first published in 1869. Other
publications include Nature research journals, Nature Reviews, Nature
Clinical Practice, and a range of prestigious academic journals,
including society-owned publications.

NPG is a global company, with headquarters in London and offices in New
York, San Francisco, Washington DC, Boston, Tokyo, Paris, Munich and
Basingstoke. For more information, please go to

Contact details:
David Hoole (Nature Publishing Group, London, UK)
Tel: +44 20 7843 4727, E-mail:

Received on Sun Jan 23 2005 - 17:55:58 GMT

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