It might not always be obvious from the blog, but I've been rather literature-deprived lately. I'm not talking literature-literature, naturally - my favorites are all over here on the shelf to my left (For anyone who's interested, those would include Nabokov's wonderful Pale Fire, Brad Leithauser's underappreciated Hence, Martin Amis's best, which is Money, his father Kingsley's immortal Lucky Jim, Chesterton's The Man Who Was Thursday, and Evelyn Waugh's Decline and Fall). No, what I'm beginning to starve a bit for is full-text scientific literature, which is understandable, given that (a) I've been unemployed since the beginning of February, and (b) full-text subscriptions to all the major journals would cost me cash that I'd rather hose away on frivolities like my mortgage.
I do have some recourse to the local universities, where I've gone, uh, periodically to catch up on things. The same processes I saw at work in the Wonder Drug Factory's library are at work in these, too, of course: dwindling shelf space for paper journals and increasing numbers of flat screen displays in their place. It's a bit of a shame for a person like me, who grew up in the era of dead tree journals, because I still like to pick them up in my hands (and because the experience of reading them online still isn't as pleasant as it no doubt will be eventually).
What I've noticed is that the most widely read ones remain in paper as well as digital subscriptions. It's becoming a clear sign of respect for a journal's influence. That means Science, Nature and the like are always still to be had physically. Chemistry libraries always seem to have JACS, Angewandte Chemie and, interestingly, Organic Letters in hard copy, which is probably a good sign for the latter.
So I've been making due with the open-access journals, few of which have strong chemistry ties as yet, and with abstracts and individual free-access articles from the others. Which reminds me - does the ACS ever make anything from its journals open access? Fly-by-night rags like the NEJM or PNAS will open up the most-discussed papers in each of their issues to give them wider exposure, but I've never heard of that happening with, say, JACS. Maybe they figure that the most-discussed articles there are going to be read largely by people that they can get to pay for them, anyway, so why bother?