Tuesday, September 07, 2004

NIH Proposes Free Access For Public to Research Data (washingtonpost.com)

NIH Proposes Free Access For Public to Research Data (washingtonpost.com)

I think this is idea of government funded research being released in the public domain is important to all, in particular to all in the sciences. My brother Rob got me a subscription to the journal Nature last Christmas. I definitely get a lot of value out of it. It was ~$80 for a 2-year student subscription. For a non-student, I believe it is over $200 per year for Nature. The cover price for Nature is $10, and it comes almost every week. For a single articles of scientific literature the prices range from $10-$25 (depending on the journal)!

I'm lucky to be at a big university, because I can get online access to most journals, and for those I can't access I can request copies of articles through an interlibrary loan. I can only imagine how difficult it might be at a smaller school with fewer resources. I probably read 4-5 articles a week, and request 1 or 2. I'd pay incredible amounts if I had to purchase each one. I should actualy revise that statement to I wouldn't read nearly as many articles, because I can't afford it.

In the end, I think it just makes sense that research funded by public dollars should be published in publicly accessible journals, even if the vast majority of people would never read them, and fewer still would understand them. Sometimes I don't even understand them at this point!

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