Nature goes bottom up
June 16th, 2007

In a step into the microlearning future, the semi-closed online publisher Nature has launched a new website called Scintilla that is a bottom up aggregator for scientific topics — with an open search. The website has a tag cloud on its homepage and invites users: ‘Don’t forget to browse around or search for groups on your specialist subjects – if you can’t find one, create a new group!’

The opening of Scintilla follows the launching by Nature of a new ‘pre-publication research and preliminary findings’ website, described here in a Chronicle of Higher Education blog:

The influential journal Nature is enlarging its publishing empire yet again by starting a Web site, Nature Precedings, for informal discussions of preliminary research findings. The site, which will go live this week, will ‘make informal communications such as conference papers or presentations more widely available’ and will enable them ‘to be formally cited,’ said an editorial in the current issue of Nature. ‘This, in turn, allows them to solicit community feedback and establish priority over their results or ideas.’

The site will cover biomedicine, chemistry, and earth sciences — keeping away from the territory of the widely used physics preprint server, ArXiv.

Early reactions on academic blogs have ranged from one scientist, who called the announcement ‘great news,’ to a librarian, who was concerned that ‘Nature will now have rights to everything that grows out of that early-stage material.’ –Lila Guterman

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