Recently, Nature (a science journal) ran a so-called news article presenting their analysis of the finances of one of their competitors. Already I am sure one can imagine some conflicts of interest that might lead them to be really careful with such a publication. But apparently they are not as it seems to contain many flaws (see here).
Nature in this instance appears more desperate than objective, since the competitor they are criticizing is a start up society that published "Open Access" journals. Open Access means many things but one of them is that the articles are free to all. This is bad for journals like Nature that make a killing by charging people to read the results of research funded primarily by the government.
Interestingly, a little browsing around Nature's web sites shows that not only are they apparently in a tizzy about Open Access publications, but they even have the gall to try and pretend that material published by others was generated by them.
For example, we recently published a paper on analysis of the genomes of some interesting bacteria. We published this in a PLoS Journal here.
Now take a look at this figure from the paper here.
Nature then published an article in Nature Reviews Microbiology (see here). The article is fine and even includes the figure linked above taken directly from our paper. This is OK in the world of Open Access if they attribute the origin of the figure correctly. In the article they sort of attribute it but do not do a robust job. And even more deceptively, they put "Copyright Nature" onto the Figure even though this is completely invalid. I have downloaded the figure and provide it here for those who do not have access to Nature.
I do this with no fear of the copyright gods since after all, they do not in fact have Copyrights to it.
Even worse, I saw that one can download a powerpoint slide of this figure. I did this and found that they kept the Copyright Nature part but left out the attribution so it looks like the figure is from Nature.
To me, this is plagiarism, plain and simple. And lame too.
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