This venture was triggered by the many people complaining that they couldn't evaluate the 'arseniclife' paper because the journal Science only allowed access to its abstract, not to the full paper or its supplementary online materials. In response, Science temporarily opened access to people wiling to register at their site, but when the month ends the barrier will go right back up.
This access problem applies to the great majority of scientific papers. The public pays for the research, but the results are locked behind journal-subscription paywalls, accessible only to people with personal subscriptions or affiliated with major research libraries, or to those willing to pay $20-$40 for access to individual articles.
Most researchers agree that this legacy of the pre-internet days is morally wrong and unfair to everyone. Those of us who can afford it pay thousands of dollars to the journals to make our own articles open access. And many of us post PDFs of our own papers on our personal web sites. But these aren't easy to find, especially for people not working in the field.
So I've set up a web site called Science Leaks (actually a Blogger blog) to serve as a clearing house, providing links to the papers people want to read. Anyone who's looking for access to a paper can simply post the paper's information as a comment, and anyone who knows where a pdf is available can then post the link. (Once a link is posted I'll remove the request comment, to keep things tidy.)
This is just a stopgap solution. In the short term, if there's sufficient interest someone will (I hope) help me to set up a better site. But the real solution is to change from having subscribers pay publication costs to having granting agencies pay them, either directly or as a line item in grant budgets.
15 hours ago in Variety of Life