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Ben has just reminded me of something that I meant to post, both here and at MediaCommons, after the New Structures, New Texts summit: Nature has recently announced the launch of a new pre-print server, Nature Precedings, intended to be an open-source, Creative Commons-licensed repository for material ranging from pre-publication articles to conference papers to other kinds of scientific ephemera (posters, slide presentations, and so forth). On the one hand, this is an exciting development — a recognition of the ways that scholarly communication is changing in the peer-to-peer era. On the other hand, as one speaker at the summit noted, this raises concerns for university-based repositories. As I just commented over at if:book, publishing “precedings” will allow Nature to claim some degree of “ownership” of scholarly material far sooner in the process of its development than it has to this point. And given that the Nature Publishing Group is a for-profit organ (a division of Macmillan), one has to wonder what how they might seek to capitalize on such ownership, and what the unintended consequences for scholars might wind up being.

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