Free articles from Wetlands

In light of the recent Research Works Act, and such high profile disputes as the one between the University of California libraries and the Nature Publishing Group, for-profit academic publishers have (arguably rightfully) been placed under the gun about their charges for and access to publicly-funded research. While the private publishers of the world are feeling the heat, there are additional options, including professional society sponsored journals and society-publisher partnerships. For a timely discussion of these different models of journal management, check out this post from the Oikos blog. I'm not sure if the backlash against private journals will stick or if there will (still) be widespread acceptance of publishers' practices in the name of academic status.

Perhaps coincidentally, a few days ago I received an email from Springer (above), advertising their new promotion, giving away the five most downloaded articles in the journal Wetlands. Perhaps this is PR in response to the RWA, or maybe it's just the old D.A.R.E stereotypical drug peddler whose "first hit is free..." Either way, for those individuals lacking library access, this allows open access to a few of the more popular papers in the history of the journal (as might emailing individual authors for a copy of their work...). I suppose the public might as well take advantage of Springer's, um, charity(?) and gain exposure to one of the better ecosystem-based journals that I've come across.

If you have some money to spend and want more than five articles a month, free online access to Wetlands is provided with some memberships to the Society of Wetland Scientists and reduced rate print subscriptions are available. 

*Update 27 MAR 2012: Ecological Engineering, is now offering free access to their top-25 articles!