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All in One Spot

A number of publishers have agreed to deposit the abstracts of the scientific papers they publish into a central repository, Nature News reports.

While the abstracts of scientific papers may currently be found at journals' sites or PubMed, the I4OA initiative aims to place them all in one spot at CrossRef to make them both easier to find as well present them in a standard format that is machine readable, Nature News adds.

Proponents of the initiative say it will help researchers in developing countries who do not have the funds to subscribe to journals, Nature News says. More than 50 publishers have signed up, it adds, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the US National Academy of Sciences. But it notes that others like Springer Nature and Elsevier have not.

Critics of the program tell Nature News that it takes the focus away from open-access publishing and may not help the researchers it aims to. "Isn't this a bit like sending a mail-order catalog to people who cannot afford any of the items on sale?" the University of St Andrews' Martin Dominik tells it.