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.