open access

Nature makes its Article Archives Free to View

Macmillan Science and Education announced today that from now on it will enable subscribers to journals on to share articles with colleagues not having a subscription. The same is true for readers of 100 media outlets and blogs from around the world who can now direct their readers to the original paper via a link.

The links can be shared via email or on social media, though the articles come as read only hosted on Readcube, meaning they come without the possibility to copy or print them. Institutional subscribers can share any article since the first issue of nature in 1869, individual subscribers, however, are limited to the years from 1997 on. 

Commercial use is excluded, instead the focus is on fostering collaboration as the possibility to annotate text is enabled in the read-only versions. 

Macmillan Science and Education says has more than 10 million monthly unique visitors and this new way of opening up the journals would benefit more than 6,000 universities and organizations worldwide.

Articles on to be made widely available to read and share to support collaborative research

Macmillan Science and Education, one of the leading publishing and technology companies in the world, today announces the launch of a groundbreaking publishing initiative that will make it easy for readers to share an unprecedented wealth of scientific knowledge instantly with researchers and scientists across the globe.

Subscribers to 49 journals on can now legitimately and conveniently share the full-text of articles of interest with colleagues who do not have a subscription via a shareable web link on In addition, Macmillan Science and Education will take a lead on opening up public engagement with scientific knowledge to society at large by giving access to the same content to readers of 100 global media outlets and blogs.

Two initiatives are being introduced:

  1. Subscribers to 49 journals on will be able to share a unique URL to a full text, read-only version of published scientific research with colleagues or collaborators in the most convenient way for them, e.g. via email and social media. Included are the world’s most cited scientific publication, Nature; the Nature family of journals and fifteen other quality science journals. This new initiative will be available to scientists and students at more than 6,000 universities and organizations worldwide, and serve the more 10 million monthly unique visitors to This sharing is intended for personal, non-commercial use. To further aid collaboration, forthcoming annotation functionality will enable subscribers to share comments and highlighted text with their colleagues.
  2. 100 media outlets and blogs across the globe that report on the findings of articles published on will be able to provide their own readers with a link to a full text, read-only view of the original scientific paper. Thousands of high-quality scientific papers will be available. Nature has published some of the leading scientific stories of our time, such as the Human Genome; the structure of DNA; Dolly the Sheep; the invention of the laser; the identification of the AIDS virus and the discovery of the hole in the ozone layer.

Annette Thomas, CEO of Macmillan Science and Education said: “We exist to serve the information needs of researchers, to help them in their work, and ultimately in making discoveries in order to improve the way we all live. We have, over many decades, published a wealth of world-leading scientific knowledge through our family of journals. Today we are able to present a new way to conveniently share and disseminate this knowledge using technology from one of our innovative and disruptive divisions – Digital Science – to provide a real solution to the global problem of how to efficiently and legitimately share scientific research for the benefit of all.”

Steven Inchcoombe, CEO of Nature Publishing Group added: “Scientists have always shared their work, it is essential to advancing progress. Nature was established in 1869 to help scientists share, and to bring science to the public. In today’s global, internet-enabled world, we think we can meet the needs of science and society better. We know researchers are already sharing content, but not always optimally. We’re committed to adapting to meet the needs of the community, and to basing our decisions on an evidence-based approach. We are conducting our own “experiment” to understand how best to help sharing of knowledge in a sustainable way. Working with authors, readers, libraries and journalists, we hope to learn a lot.”

Timo Hannay, Managing Director of Digital Science explained: “We know researchers are already sharing content, often in hidden corners of the Internet or using clumsy, time-consuming practices. At Digital Science we have the technology to provide a convenient, legitimate alternative that encourages researchers to access the information they need and the wider, interested public access to scientific knowledge, from the definitive, original source.”

The technology behind this initiative has been developed by ReadCube, a Digital Science portfolio company which develops software to make research literature more accessible and connected for researchers, institutions and publishers. Its publisher technologies have already been adopted by partners such as Wiley, Nature Publishing Group, Karger De Gruyter, Rockefeller University press and many others.

Nature Publishing Group have also today released content sharing principles and a new policy to support this sharing initiative, which will be refined based on usage and community feedback over a one year period. To follow updates throughout the pilot launch, please follow the hashtag #scishare.


About Macmillan Science and Education

Macmillan Science and Education has more than 5,700 employees in more than 50 markets and supplies high-quality content and innovative digital products and services to customers in 120 countries around the world. It unites all Macmillan’s scientific, scholarly, academic and education businesses across the globe. Visit and follow @MacmillanSandE on Twitter.

About Nature Publishing Group (NPG)

Nature Publishing Group (NPG) is a leading provider of scientific journals, magazines, products and services. Publisher of Nature and Scientific American, NPG is dedicated to serving the scientific community and the wider scientifically interested general public. and follow @npgnews on Twitter.

About ReadCube and Digital Science

ReadCube develops software to make the world of research more accessible and connected. The free ReadCube desktop application for PC and Mac helps researchers in any discipline easily organize and manage existing article libraries, and discover new literature through searches and personalized recommendations. ReadCube is supported by Digital Science, a technology business unit within the Macmillan Science and Education portfolio which serves the needs of scientific research. It offers a range of scientific technology and data solutions, from intelligent knowledge discovery tools to software applications for the laboratory and decision support systems for managers. Visit and follow @digitalsci on Twitter. To find out more about ReadCube, visit and follow @ReadCube on Twitter.

Contact: Grace Baynes
Head of Science and Scholarly Communications
Nature Publishing Group
T: 020 7014 4063 | M: +44 (0) 7540 920 600

Contact: Lisa Hulme
Digital Science and ReadCube
M: +44 (0) 7941 232 333

Contact: Sarah MacDonald
Head of External Communications
Macmillan Science and Education
T: 020 7014 6829 | M: +44 (0) 7714 916 798

Further Reading

Nature makes all articles free to view


Kay Alexander is the co-founder and creative director of EDUKWEST. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook or Google+