After five years of operation, the Nature Publishing Group is will no longer accept submissions to its preprint server Nature Precedings, having found the experiment “unsustainable as it was originally conceived.”
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.
Nature Precedings — which has become home to thousands of manuscripts, posters, and presentations — came up a number of times in the comments about a post we ran earlier this year about F1000 Research, which, as we noted:
will publish all submissions immediately, “beyond an initial sanity check.”
So there were some similarities between the two efforts, but also some differences, as F1000’s Rebecca Lawrence pointed out.
It’s unclear how long Nature Publishing Group has been planning to cease accepting submissions. We have a message in to Nature and will update with anything we find out. In the meantime, here’s a one-year anniversary post from the Nature Precedings team, from 2008.
Update, 3 p.m. Eastern, 4/1/02: We asked F1000’s Rebecca Lawrence for comment:
I suspect that many people will use this as evidence that such a model doesn’t work in the biomedical community (as compared with ArXiv in physics-related communities) but I don’t believe that this announcement actually really does show that. I don’t know the full details behind the model that NPG had original planned for Nature Precedings and hence on what basis they have judged that it was not a success. A preprint server is certainly unlikely to be a service that will make money in itself for a commercial company, and of course ArXiv is not run by a commercial organisation. We certainly had no expectation of making money from our preprint service, F1000 Posters.
Furthermore, to build up F1000 Posters (and in fact with any such new venture), we have had to invest quite some time and effort in partnering with learned societies to inform their presenters of the options to deposit with us and to also clarify the positions of the various publishers with regards prior publication. We are now finding this is paying off as researchers become increasingly comfortable with the idea of submitting their work to such a service. With regards F1000 Research, this is quite different from a preprint server (as we have clarified previously), and it will be based on a now well-established and successful business model of gold open access, i.e. article processing charges, so I don’t think comparisons can be made between these two. In many ways, we see F1000 Posters as a precursor to F1000 Research and therefore feel that we do have a sustainable long-term plan which one must assume is somewhat different to that which NPG had envisioned for Nature Precedings.