Who Here Has an Online Subscription to Science?

December 29, I have the day off, and I’m mulling over my New Year’s resolutions—lose 50 pounds, show my wife more appreciation, and clean out my Goddamn storage. So I’m looking at 24 files boxes containing every issue of Science dating from the late 1970s to the mid-1990s. It’s taking up a lot of valuable space, and would make a handsome addition to the community recycling dumpster. So I hop online and see that I can get a student subscription to the online service for $75/year. That $6.25/month. My storage costs me $65/month, and these boxes occupy about 10% of the total interior volume of the storage space. Pretty much a no-brainer there.

So here’s my question: I’m suspicious—do I really get complete access to every issue dating back to 1880—complete content? The cover price of the dead-tree version is $10/week now. That’s $510/year. They’re taking a big hit selling me that for $75 instead. I’m very hesitant to start tossing back issues until I can verify exactly what I’m getting with an online subscription. Are there any drawbacks to the online version, like a horrendously craptastical search engine? Are the online copies crappy Kindle-quality OCR scans with 80% of the original graphics missing? Anything else I should know about before I permanently part company with my glossy hardcopies?

I can’t answer your question directly, but have you considered visiting a local library? They may already have access to Science issues (at least the text) through their affiliated databases. Some of them might even let you access their resources from home through your library card.

Or maybe offer your archives to the library as a special reserve collection and see if they’d be willing to find space to store the magazines for you?

Yes, it really does seem like the choice of abstracts and excellent quality pdfs of the older stuff comes up for the “classic” stuff.

Searching for “evolution” articles 1880 to 1910, for example, finds 4807 articles, such as this one from 1889 (likely behind the wall):

So all of it seems to be there!

If you want pick an article from your print copies and I’ll call it up on-line and see what it looks like for you!

Is this Science the journal? Are you doing research, or do non-research people read this as well?

Yes, we who do not do research read it regularly. They publish original research of a wide variety of sorts and review articles and science news of interest … basically a good read for those who do research and want to be aware of what is happening in other fields and those who do not do research but are interested in a wide variety of the sciences.

Here’s this week’s.

Wow, I thought it’d be really hard to understand for anyone not involved in that field of research.

Oh many of the original research articles are more than really hard for the likes of those like me to comprehend, but I can get some of them, and the other sections are written so that those with a decent college level science education can understand areas that they are not themselves expert in. They will often have good blurbs in the “Perspectives” section explaining the articles’ significances for the majority who are not in the fields of the articles. That said, it is at a higher level than are most general public magazines, which are aimed at early High School level tops.

I had partial success with that. I found that I could use my student ID to log on to the school library from home and access all back issues dating to 1996. So everything post-’95 I can toss. I actually have everything from about 1977 to around 2005—I brain farted when I composed the OP. So that will help somewhat. Everything pre-1996 I either have to have the $75/year subscription, or I have to purchase on a pay-per-view basis for $15/article.