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Uncovering Nature's archive treasures

The future of STM research depends on access to the discoveries of the past, and any scientist will agree that the archives of Nature and its related journals are a treasure trove. Since 1869, Nature has published original research in all fields of science and technology; prize papers include the first X-ray picture of a protein, the discovery of the electron, and Watson and Crick's double helix.

But, until recently, only content published since the launch of the online edition in June 1997 was available to web users. Nature Publishing Group is now investing in uncovering older treasures for a new online audience.

The publication of the Nature Archive: January 1987-December 1996 in August 2003 was the first step in providing access to the wealth of scientific content in Nature's most recent back issues. Content is integrated into a single interface at with advanced search capabilities for finding the right information quickly and effortlessly. Usage of the Nature Archive: January 1987-December 1996 reflects the quality of the material published: top clients are reporting site licence usage that exceeds their initial expectations.

The success of the Nature Archive: January 1987-December 1996 has spawned two new projects: the Nature research journals archive collection and Nature Archive: 1950-December 1986. The Nature research journals archive will launch in August 2004 and will provide online access to every issue of Nature Biotechnology (formerly Bio/Technology), Nature Genetics, Nature Medicine, and Nature Structural & Molecular Biology (formerly Nature Structural Biology) published from volume 1 issue 1 to April 1998. The Nature Archive: 1950-December 1986 is the next step in digitising the back content of Nature.

Access to articles from these decades will be rolled out in instalments with completion by late 2006.

Articles are published in PDF format with HTML versions of abstracts and reference lists, and include links to the full abstracting services of CrossRef, Medline, CAS, and ISI. Archive content is integrated with all current content to enable complete searching of the journal.

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