Nature Publishing Group launches free pre-print service for the biological sciences

From the Science Commons blog

“Today Nature Publishing Group launches Nature Precedings – a free document sharing service for the sciences. The service further enables scientists to share their preliminary findings and research in a free environment, while allowing authors to retain copyright in their work. All accepted contributions are released under a Creative Commons Attribution license, allowing for the material to be reused and redistributed as long as it is attributed to the author under terms specified.

This is the biological equivalent of the physics arXiv, but with a critical improvement. Placing pre-prints online solves the problem of an individual’s ability to access an article. But in the absence of an explicit copyright license, it’s unclear what that individual can actually do with the downloaded file. Nature’s choice to use CC-BY is a validation of the need to grant rights in advance to users, and of the CC-BY license in a truly Open Access service.

The launch of this Web service is a promising step towards further facilitating the dissemination and open exchange of information in the biological sciences. Precedings features submissions from biomedicine, chemistry and the earth sciences. The Web service fulfills the role of a preprint server but accepts a wider array of document types, including unpublished manuscripts, presentations, white papers and supplementary findings. Curators from Nature Publishing Group review all submissions. Acceptance is determined by the document’s relevancy to the field and legitimacy.

From Nature’s press release,

‘Helping scientists to communicate their ideas is central to Nature’s mission, and we are constantle seeking new ways to achieve this,” said Annette Thomas, Managing Director of Nature Publishing Group. “Precedings is an important new step for us and, we hope, the research community. We are particularly proud to have conceived and developed the service with the help of a group of such highly esteemed organizations; the British Library, the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI), Science Commons, and the Wellcome Trust.’ […] “

More after the jump