Nice: NASA Opens Up Its Research Online For Free

from the book-learnin' dept

Every once in a while, we get some good news out of a government agency. Based on a 2013 directive from the White House, NASA had finally announced early this year that it would be following the NIH model and making its publicly funded research available for free online. With the only caveat being a restriction on research that relates to national security, NASA has made good on plans to publish the rest of this research on Pubspace, its new publicly-facing portal for sharing this research.

Care to learn more about 400-foot tsunamis on Mars? Now you can, after Nasa announced it is making all its publicly funded research available online for free. The space agency has set up a new public web portal called Pubspace, where the public can find Nasa-funded research articles on everything from the chances oflife on one of Saturn’s moons to the effects of space station living on the hair follicles of astronauts.

“Making our research data easier to access will greatly magnify the impact of our research,” NASA Chief Scientist Ellen Stofan said in a statement. “As scientists and engineers, we work by building upon a foundation laid by others.”

It’s a fine sentiment, as well as a wonderful analogous case to point to when discussing other knowledge that should, but currently isn’t, freely available to the public. That NASA’s research was long hidden entirely, or hidden behind a paywall, was especially egregious, however, given that this research is publicly funded. The idea of a government agency producing knowledge with taxpayer money and then hording it for secrecy or cash is, frankly, obscene. It’s our research, after all. Freeing this up and letting the public build upon that knowledge can only be a good thing.

And, as even better news, this appears to be becoming something of a practice among the scientific community.

The move is part of a trend in the worldwide scientific community towards making knowledge more readily available. In May, EU member states agreed on an initiative to try to make all European scientific papers freely available by 2020. In the meantime, you can enjoy Nasa-funded insights into keeping fit in space, the ages of the lunar seas, and much more. Should keep you occupied for the weekend.

And perhaps it’s worth boning up on that kind of thing now more than ever. After all, SETI recently made an announcement that you can read about here, but that I won’t expand upon (spoiler: there was a light from a star system that’s probably not aliens, but I want it to be aliens). You’ll want all that NASA research goodness when Kro’thak Tentaclus arrives, so ya’ll have something to talk about over coffee.

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Companies: nasa

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Comments on “Nice: NASA Opens Up Its Research Online For Free”

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8 Comments
Sandy (profile) says:

NASA data was already public

Worth noting that NASA data (from space telescopes, etc) has always been public. It either goes public immediately if it’s a survey mission (like STEREO) or, if a Principal Investigator wrote the proposal (like with HST), 1 year after the data is taken (so the PI who came up with the idea has a short window to get their paper out).

What this new directive does is frees up the other half of research, the analysis and results in paper form. Most of those are available via ads.harvard.edu already, except some journals have a paywall. The hope is this directive will mean that even paywalled papers can be distributed.

tl;dr– NASA already has a history of making all their data and most papers public, this closes the final holes. Yay!

JoeCool (profile) says:

Couple things...

You wrote an article on a NASA web site making their research available for free… and then forgot to link said page. ???

Then I read that article you linked from CNN on the possibly artificial signal and remembered what a truly AWFUL scale the Kardashev Scale is. Seriously, it’s like measuring how much you weigh using the mass of the Earth as the base unit. The very first step in the scale is making full absolute use of every bit of potential power on the entire planet, and the second is making full use of every bit of the potential power of the system’s star! Might as well make the first step being “god”, and the second step being “God”. What a ridiculous and USELESS scale!

That One Guy (profile) says:

Well, so much for that agency...

Without the ability to lock up their (publicly funded) research behind a paywall and demand the public pay (again) to access it they’ll have absolutely no reason to ever research anything again.

And just like that, practically overnight NASA, an agency that’s been around for decades crashes and burns, all in the name of ‘sharing (publicly funded) research.’ Not much research going to be going on when they no longer exist now is there?

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