Macmillan Science and Education will offer subscribers the chance to share articles from 49 journals with other researchers using a web link to a read-only copy.
The same content will be made available to the readers of 100 media outlets and blogs worldwide.
The web links can be shared by scientists using email or social media for personal non-commercial use. The policy will cover 49 journals, including the flagship Nature title, other journals in the Nature family and 15 other science journals.
Media outlets will be able to provide readers with a web link to a read-only version of any original scientific papers discussed in reports.
Steven Inchcoombe, chief executive of Nature Publishing Group, called the initiative an “experiment” and said it was being conducted to understand how best they could help with the “sharing of knowledge in a sustainable way”.
“We know researchers are already sharing content, but not always optimally. We’re committed to adapting to meet the needs of the community, and to basing our decisions on an evidence-based approach,” he said.
“Working with authors, readers, libraries and journalists, we hope to learn a lot,” he added.
The technology that enables the sharing function has been developed by ReadCube, which is supported by Macmillan’s technology business Digital Science. Future editions of the software will provide an annotation function so scientists can share comments and highlighted text with each other.
A series of content sharing principles and a new policy have been released by Nature Publishing Group to accompany the initiative. The group say this will be refined based on usage and feedback from the research community over a one-year period.