Would you be willing to pay millions of dollars to fund a scientific study and never see the results of that research? Lemme guess -- you said no. Well, as a taxpayer (which I hope you are... see: Willie Nelson) you're funding government sponsored research and then denied access to the results.
No, I'm not talking about classified scientific studies. I'm referring to the research that is conducted at every major research institution. The National Institutes of Health, for example, had a total budget of 26.5 billion dollars in FY 2003 (source: http://www.aaas.org/spp/rd/03pch8.htm
). One would think that taxpayers would be allowed open access to scientific finds that result from these studies.
Sadly, these results are often published in scientific journals that charge exorbitant subscription fees. As a result, taxpayers are blocked access to information that they have already paid for.
To address this problem a consortium of scientists has created the Public Library of Science:
This organization offers free, open access to all articles it publishes. Plos Biology and Plos Medicine have been launched so far. For those of us who aren't scientists, each journal has explanations of the articles written for the layperson. Plos is also launching journals for Computational Biology and Genetics.
The Public Library of Science is revolutionizing the way scientific results are reported to the public. In fact, it's so successful that other reputable journals are beginning to provide open access of some of their articles.
The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences is one such journal that's beginning to follow suit:
Unfortunately, this scientific revolution has not received attention from major media outlets. Consequently few within the public realize that such information is being made available to them.
Take advantage of these resources. After all, you've paid for it!!!