Yuck. Am getting really pissed off right now. It is 1:30 AM. I am tired. And I am now angry. I was writing a post about a recent trip, and wanted to link to an article I was a coauthor on. The article was the paper on sequencing and analysis of the genome of Arabidopsis thaliana. So I googled "Arabidopsis Genome Initiative" and found the link to the paper at Nature. And much to my surprise I found this waiting for me:
Why is that a surprise? Because the genome paper is supposed to be freely available to all forever, under a policy Nature developed for papers reporting new genome sequence data. I am tired or I would write more about the history of this. But another time.
So then I looked for other genome papers I have published in Nature. And so I looked for the Plasmodium genome paper. And I got this:
Grand. That one was supposed to be free forever too.
And so I looked at many others. And for most, I got the same thing. Not freely available. If I were not at home, I would not have noticed this because I have access at work. And I could get access at home by setting up the UC Davis library VPN system. But fortunately I do not do that or I would not have discovered that Nature, not for the first time mind you, has turned articles that were supposed to be freely available forever into charge for access articles. I know. I know. This is probably just some glitch in their system. They really do seem committed to trying to make these available. But clearly, the system either does not work well. Or they are not committed to it. Either way this is really annoying. In some cases, the papers were sold to communities of scientists in part with the "These will be freely available to all forever" line as part of the sell. I am deeply worried about my recent Genomic Encyclopedia paper which is also supposed to be freely available forever. Right now it still is, which is good. But how long will that last? And I note, though Nature people have said they would try and fix it, Nature still incorrectly claims Copyright to that article on the PDF. Personally, I like most of the people I know at Nature Publishing Group and like many of the things NPG does. But this is getting really annoying. And it just goes to show - the ONLY way to go it seems is full, complete Open Access which the journals cannot magically then take away.