Friday, March 30, 2012

Nature Precedings - a preprint server for biology akin to arXiv - shutting down as of April 3

Just got this email regarding Nature Precedings.
Dear registrant:

As you are an active user of Nature Precedings, we want to let you know about some upcoming changes to this service. As of April 3rd 2012, we will cease to accept submissions to Nature Precedings.  Submitted documents will be processed as usual and hosted provided they are uploaded by midnight on April 3rd.  Nature Precedings will then be archived, and the archive will be maintained by NPG, while all hosted content will remain freely accessible to all.

Be assured that Nature and the Nature research journals continue to permit the posting of preprints and there is no change to this policy, which is detailed here.

Nature Precedings was launched in 2007 as NPG’s preprint server, primarily for the Life Science community.  Since that date, we have learned a great deal from you about what types of content are valued as preprints, and which segments of the research community most embrace this form of publication.  While a great experiment, technological advances and the needs of the research community have evolved since 2007 to the extent that the Nature Precedings site is unsustainable as it was originally conceived.

Looking forward, NPG remains committed to exploring ways to help researchers, funders, and institutions manage data and best practices in data management, and we plan to introduce new services in this area.  We have truly valued your contributions as authors and users to Nature Precedings and hope that you will actively participate in this research and development with us.
Interestingly, there is no announcement at the Nature Precedings site itself.  I assume the email I received is real (it really looks real) though you never know these days.  It's too bad.  I like the concept of a preprint server for biology.  Interestingly, one of the alternatives to NP is FigShare (which is pretty cool) which recently became part of the Digital Science group which is a sister group to Nature.  Hmm ... wonder what the conversations at joint tea parties between Nature and Digital Science group are like.  Could be fun.


  1. Jonathan, just to confirm the email is real. We will post an announcement on Nature Precedings shortly. As a courtesy to our registered and active users, we wanted you to hear from us as early as possible.

    We think figshare is cool, too. We always enjoy discussing the possibilities for services like that with our friends at Digital Science, and would welcome input from Nature Precedings authors and users.

  2. From the editorial introducing Precedings:

    We anticipate that the content will be mirrored by academic partner organizations, several of whom have been involved with us in developing this service. As well as allowing it to become incorporated into the substantial information hubs already provided by these organizations, this federated approach will also help to ensure the long-term availability of the content — and act as a practical guarantee of the Nature Publishing Group's pledge not to charge readers for access."

    Why should we ever trust anything Nature says again?

    1. Of course, we don't know what will happen to the existing content yet, because NPG haven't seen fit to share that with us. Presumably they will rely on "academic partner organizations" to take up their slack.

  3. Bill, we thought we had been clear when we said in the above email "Nature Precedings will then be archived, and the archive will be maintained by NPG, while all hosted content will remain freely accessible to all."

    The existing archive will remain freely accessible, maintained by NPG.


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