Friday, August 15, 2014

AAAS and SnapChat collaborate to develop SnapScience to publish scientific papers transiently

Just got this in an email and thought it should be shared.

Washington, DC. August 15, 2014.

Kent Anderson, the newly appointed Publisher of AAAS (see has announced his first action as Publisher - a partnership between AAAS and Snapchat (

Anderson said "Although I will not officially assume the role of Science publisher until 3 November, this was too important a task to not carry out immediately. AAAS has always been looking for new ways to reduce the public availability of scientific publications. AAAS approached Snapchat a few months ago and in secret developed a new App "SnapScience" which allows the transient publication of scientific articles. Article longevity can be set to 1 minute, 5 minutes or 15 minutes."

Anderson followed this with "This kind of thing I had always hoped to do in my role as president of the Society for Scholarly Publishing but the technology was just not available. Snapchat has developed the perfect platform for the future of AAAS and scholarly publishing in general with its ability to allow readers a glimpse of a scientific article but not allow them to keep it or reread it or redisplay it."

AAAS CEO Phil Lesher said "We have had serious issues recently with the public demanding access to articles in Science and other AAAS published journals. And in addition, we have published a slew of papers that have needed to be retracted shortly after publication. This solves both issues. First, all papers will only be transiently available, so their there is no need for retractions. Second, even scientists will only have short term access to papers so the public cannot possibly demand access for themselves."

Anderson also said "We think SnapScience is the perfect way for me to step into my new role as Publisher of the Science family of journals. It is cutting edge. It is exactly the type of thing that publishers have been looking for. And it will be fun."

AAAS hopes to roll out updates to SnapScience that will allow researchers to also publish data and protocols only transiently as well.


  1. A truly excellent "modest proposal"! I assume that downloads and caching is somehow blocked by the app too? I certainly wouldn't want 3rd party users to access my high profile paper after its 1 min. Have AAAS also done a deal with NSA and GCHQ to stop them caching the papers?

    1. I think AAAS has always been working with NSA

  2. For articles as long as the ones I produced with my old supervisor you need 15mins just to read the intro! One would have to adjust the time depending on length and complexity. Yeah, a bit subjective on complexity... Well, I actually think it's a good first step towards open access, but I'd rather just go open access and miss this step.
    The amount of money they're spending designing and meeting on this , just think hoe many papers could have been made open access!

    1. So - not sure if you know this -- but this was satire ...

  3. Haha. I shouldn't read such things amidst serious reading. I like the blog piece.


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