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Nature introduces Advance Online Publication (AOP)

As I predicted in May (but with some characteristic differences), the
Nature Publishing Group has followed the example set by SCIENCE and
introduced Advance Online Publication (AOP) which is the analogue to
what we have come to know as ScienceExpress articles. Nature Genetics
introduced AOP in July 2001, the other Nature Research Journals will
follow over the next few months. 

More information about Advance Online Publication (AOP)

The most important difference to ScienceExpress articles (which are
refereed but still may undergo some editing) is that the AOP version is
indeed the final edited version of the paper in every respect except
that instead of having a volume/issue/page number as an identifier, it
has only a Digital Object Identifier (DOI). 

Another major difference is that access to the full-text of AOP articles
requires either an individual article purchase or a paid (personal)
subscription OR a site license while ScienceExpress articles are only
available to personal subscribers (or rather AAAS members as a benefit
of membership) or though an individual article purchase but NOT as a
benefit of a site license. 

The difference here is that AOP has NOT been introduced for NATURE
(weekly) itself (where a policy similar to the restrictions for
ScienceExpress articles could still be applied were it introduced at a
later time, although I hope Nature would not restrict access in this way
and thus risk again fierce protests from scientists and librarians) but
only for primary research articles published in the Nature Monthlies.
However, given Nature's strict policy to publish only the final edited
version, Advance Online Publishing will perhaps be less effective (and
less urgent) for the weekly (of course that depends on the backlogs). 

Remember also that AOP is not intended as a substitute for Preprints:
"Exposure of preprints on servers does not preempt their submission to
this journal". "Preprints may be posted on recognized preprint servers
if the server is identified to the editor on submission of the paper,
and if the content of the paper has not been advertised to the media
(see Nature 390, 427; 4 December 1997 for further details)." (Nature
Guide to Authors, �5.1, Aug 2001,
http://www.nature.com/nature/submit/gta/index.html#5.1 ) 

Bernd-Christoph K�mper, Stuttgart University Library

Nature - what other libraries say