Wiley & Readcube have done something rather sneaky recently, and it’s not escaped the attention of diligent readers of the scientific literature.
— Gavin Simpson (@ucfagls) March 2, 2015
— CarnivoreScience (@CarnivoreSci) March 11, 2015
Wiley now flat out hide PDF link and make you read a ReadCube mockup (“…/epdf”) with link to download PDF not viewable in browser ¬_¬
— Louis (@biochemistries) March 15, 2015
This is incredibly annoying – they are literally forcing us to use Readcube. That is not cool.
Some will rush to the defence of Readcube and point out that if they detect you have the rights to, you can download the PDF from within Readcube, but that’s missing the point. No-one need waste their precious time whilst Readcube takes ages to load in your browser tab, when all you wanted in the first place was the PDF.
Install the add-on called YesScript and ‘blacklist’ all Readcube-tainted websites.
Google Chrome / Chromium users
Use Vince Buffalo’s ‘Get Me the F**king PDF‘ Chrome plugin. It’s really good.
A) Click the menu button in the top right hand corner of your browser
B) Select Settings
C) (scroll to bottom) Click Show advanced settings
D) Underneath the “Privacy” section, click the “Content settings” button.
Internet Explorer users
I’m tempted to say: install Chrome or Firefox but I’m well aware that some unfortunate academics have ‘university-managed’ computers on which they can’t easily install things. If so try the instructions for IE here. Let me know if you have better solutions for unfortunate IE users.
Added bonus function – extra privacy!
Above all I think we should #BlockReadcube not just for our own utility (easier access to the real PDF), but to send them a powerful message: we do not want the literature to be assimilated and enclosed in rights-restrictions by new technology. We do not want non-consenting ‘cubification of the research literature. We are Starfleet, and as far as I’m concerned: Readcube is the Borg.
PS If you like some of the features of Readcube, try Utopia Docs – it’s free and it’s released under an Open Source license, and it doesn’t force you to use it!
Update 2015-03-20: This post does not indicate I’m suddenly ‘in favour’ of PDF’s by the way, as some seem to have interpreted. If Wiley wanted to do something good, they should publish their full text XML on site like other good publishers do e.g. PLOS, eLife, Hindawi, MDPI, Pensoft, BMC, Copernicus… If they did this then readers could choose to use innovative open source viewing software such the eLife Lens. That kind of change would add value & choice, rather than subtract value (& rights) as they have in this case.
Further discussion of Readcube and rights-restrictions: