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NATURE PUBLICATIONS SURVEY RESULTS
- OHSU authors have cited over 4000 articles
in Nature and contributed over 30 articles from 1994-1999. A
survey, linked to
the OHSU Library Web site from March 1 through April 6, 2001, questioned OHSU scientists
about the effect of Nature publisher's decision to delay parts of the Library's
electronic version of Nature.
- There were 146 responses; about 75% who listed a department were in the
- The highest usage Nature publications were Nature, Nature
Genetics, Nature Neuroscience, and Nature Medicine.
- 90% indicate use of the Library's electronic journal as the most
frequent way of accessing Nature publications. Only 5% of those surveyed subscribed
to one of the Nature Publications.
- 57% agreed with the statement that the 3-month delay of News and
Views, Commentary, Book Reviews, Correspondence, Essays and Progress
Updates on the electronic version would be detrimental to their research
because they will not have access to the information when they need it.
- 55% indicated the Library should drop the license upon renewal in
2002 if the embargo continues and 45% indicated the Library should
renew the license even if the embargo continues.
The Nature Publishing Group site licensing arrangements for electronic
access to the Nature titles have been very controversial in the academic
and research library communities. Many major
refused their conditions. They challenged the cost of electronic
access, the 3-month embargo of parts of the electronic version,
and site definition for licensing purposes. A 3-month delay of News and Views,
Book reviews, Essays and Progress Updates will occur only in the Library's
subscription to the electronic version of the Nature weekly and monthly publications
-- not to individual subscribers.
Nature was listed as the number one journal of importance to OHSU faculty,
staff and students in a
journal survey conducted in June 2000. In addition, OHSU authors cited 4112 articles
in Nature and contributed 31 articles from 1994-1999 (ISI Journal Citation Report).
Therefore, if OHSU scientists are using the Library's electronic journal as their
primary source of access to Nature, a 3-month embargo of parts of
Nature may be detrimental to researchers.
The Library community's reaction to site license restriction took Nature
by surprise. NATURE Marketing Director
Della Sar told the LJ ACADEMIC
NEWSWIRE that the "unexpected reaction" of the library community seemed
to defy market research done by the publisher.
"During 1999 and 2000 we
carried out extensive market research amongst our 48,000-plus personal
subscribers," says Sar. "The response from the subscribers was, that
[since] all of them have online access to all content at no additional
charge, and certainly well ahead of receipt of their paper copies in most
cases, they primarily use their library copies for archival research.
In fact there was almost no personal subscriber who said they used the
library copy for the news section."
Asked if this unexpected reaction might cause the publisher to amend
its current embargo policy, Sar said no. "We are naturally constantly
discussing our license terms," she
noted, "but...have no immediate plans [to amend the policy]. Sar noted
that the current model was tailored to meet library needs by offering
access, albeit restricted by the embargoes, 24 hours seven days a week,
Will the embargo of parts of the Library's electronic version of the
Nature titles have a detrimental effect on OHSU research and teaching
efforts? The OHSU Library staff informally surveyed readers of the
Nature titles via a Web-based form about their use of the print and
electronic version of Nature publications. The archived
Nature survey is available on the OHSU Library Web site.
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The Nature survey was on the OHSU
Library Web site from March 1 through April 6, 2001. There were 146 responses; about
75% who listed a department were in the basic sciences (44 of 56 responses).
1. Which Nature publications do you regularly review (check all that apply)?
Nature publications use ranked highest to lowest:
|Nature Cell Biology
|Nature Reviews Neuroscience
|Nature Molecular and Cell Biology
|Nature Reviews Genetics
|Nature Structural Biology
2. What are the most frequent methods of accessing these
publications (Select one)? Additional comments
|I usually read my own print subscription
|I usually read my own electronic subscription
|I usually read my department's print subscription
|I usually read the OHSU Library's print subscription
|I usually read the OHSU Library's electronic subscription
3. How will a 3-month delay of News and Views, Commentary, Book
Correspondence, Essays and Progress updates in the Nature publications
affect you? (Check all that apply). Additional comments
|No effect because I read the print version
|No effect because I don't find those
parts of the publication of interest to me
|I will start my own personal
subscription and get the complete contents on my electronic version
|I will come to the Library
to read the embargoed portions
|This practice will be detrimental to my
research because I will not have access to the information when I need it
4. Next year the OHSU Library should:
|Drop electronic access if the embargo is not lifted
|Continue to get the electronic
format even if embargo continues
OHSU faculty and students have indicated that Nature is a very important
journal to their research and have cited it or published in the journal
over 4000 times. Approximately 10% of the respondents subscribed to or used
the print version of Nature publications. The loss of the embargoed
section was not a concern for 11% of the respondents, but 57% thought the
practice would be detrimental to their research.
The responses were fairly equally divided about whether the Library
should drop the electronic format to Nature in 2002.
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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE NATURE CONTROVERSY
Stuttgart University maintains a provisorial list of universities who
have declined and of those who have signed the license, with references
and links where available. It is located at
The communication of research results impacts everyone involved in
science. Nature has launched an online debate on the most crucial and
talked-about aspect of scientific publishing -- the impact of the web on
the publication of original research. The debate is freely accessible
via Nature's home page or directly at
We encourage you to express your views directly
to the Nature Publishing Group. Please e-mail Ms. Della Sar, Director of
Ms. Annette Thomas, Managing Director
firstname.lastname@example.org or Mr.
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2. What is the most frequent methods of accessing these
publications? Other comments:
- Previously I subscribed to Nature Immunology and Nature Medicine and shared Nature with a colleague.
- I will keep my print subscriptions to Nature and Nature Immunology and cancel my print subscription
to Nature Medicine if I can have reliable electronic access.
- I subscribe to Nature, and use OHSU library site for others (Nature Neuroscience, etc.). The drop in
neuroscience content in the main Nature journal will cause me to drop the print subscription at the
next renewal, likely to be replaced by print subscription to Nature Neuroscience.
- Over the past few months I have only sought a few papers from Nature magazines that my department
does not subscribe to.
- I subscribe to Nature Genetics and access the others online.
- I also have personal subscription to Nature Genetics.
- My PI's print subscription.
- I also have personal subscriptions to some of the above.
Return to question 2
3. How will a 3-month delay of News and Views, Commentary, Book Reviews,
Correspondence, Essays and Progress updates in the Nature publications
affect you? Other comments:
The primary reason that I read the Nature journals is for the
research articles. Other features are of interest.
I will have to make special trips to the BICC from the VA, which
will impair my research schedule. I will not buy my own subscription. We
should not let them push us around.
Although I have access to the printed version, it makes it
difficult if I want to search for a topic and I don't know which issue it
I'll probably not read them, even though I want to.
I will borrow a colleague's print version.
If I feel a strong need for an article, I'll go to the library.
Otherwise I will wait a few months for the electronic version.
The diversification of the Nature series means that the major use of the
original Nature journal is for general topics. I cannot justify paying the yearly rate
for this, but would regularly use an online version. In return, I would be able to afford a
print version of the more relevant Nature Neuroscience journal. Print is
useful for ease of transport while on the go, or lying down in the
evening, but only useful for journals of consistently high interest and news.
It will be a great, great inconvenience because I have check the
journals as they come out every week.
I will not read Nature.
I'll work around it.
I am most interested in items that come up on a Medline search
and these do not.
I will read other weekly science periodicals such as the
excellent and superior American publication "Science".
Will simply turn to other sources for this info, e.g. Science
magazine, other web sites.
I will read them if relevant in 3 months or else send someone to
the library for a photocopy.
Return to question 3
4. Next year the Library should -- Other comments:
The research portions of Nature publications are of the most
importance to me.
Boycott only if this policy will likely be effective in altering
Despite the embargo, e-access to Nature is much too valuable to lose.
Will the embargo really hurt them or just increase their sales of
I suggest that we DO NOT extend our electronic access to Nature
at all until they repeal their 3-month lock out and revise our fee
I find these actions to be offensive, especially since they can
afford to repeatedly mail letters seeking subscriptions.
Those sections of the publications are not important enough to lose
access to articles.
Nature needs to provide the most direct, expedient, access to its
reports. Although the service cannot be expected to be free of charge, it
should be available without a delay. The delay is a major inconvenience,
and a waste of time to busy investigators and curious minds.
But apply extreme pressure to lift the embargo.....however
e-access to the articles is vital for research, so a boycott may be
At least threaten to. The electronic versions are useful even
with out the News & Views.
Easy access to journals is critical for researchers. Nature
should keep in mind that if they restrict access, researchers under time
constraints will find other sources of information.
It would be extremely inconvenient for to lose electronic access
to the research articles.
It is a matter of principle.
The students and postdocs need electronic access. Occasionally, I
need electronic access to articles before my print subscription arrives,
or because I can't find my print journal.
Although it would be better to have immediate electronic access,
it is still considerably more expedient to download electronic versions
of articles than to walk to the library, hunt for the issues, and copy
I support having the electronic access, as many students and post docs
cannot afford to purchase individual subscriptions.
The embargo is very irritating and counter to free exchange of
scientific information. However, dropping electronic access all together
would do more harm than good to those of us who depend this source of
I find electronic journals extremely useful when writing manuscripts.
Has the publisher given any reasons for this practice of delaying
those sections? I just read the letter below. I think that the increase
in cost alone warrants dropping the electronic version.
This sets a frightening precedence that, if successful, others
are bound to follow.
Embargo seriously degrades value received for price paid.
If enough large institutions boycott them, they will be forced to comply.
The printed journal is widely available. The most important
access is for reprints of nature letters and articles.
Although my access to the information will be delayed, it will be
worth it. The more universities that join the embargo, the more effective
it will be.
Return to question 4
For more information on the Nature survey, contact
Diane Carroll or for information on the
Nature license negotiations, contact Cindy Cunningham.
September 18, 2010
by the OHSU Library Web
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