NASA Opens Research to Public: Why That’s a Big Deal

Weston Williams | The Christian Science Monitor | August 22, 2016

NASA PubSpace provides free online access to hundreds of papers on NASA-funded research projects. The new open-access policy carries important implications for both the agency and for academic research as a whole.

It has been a good week for science and space enthusiasts. NASA announced last Tuesday that they would be releasing hundreds of peer-reviewed, scholarly articles on NASA-funded research projects online. The articles are entirely free to access for any member of the public. The new service is a big deal for the space agency, which has been gathering scientific information on a huge variety of topics since it was established in 1958.

The move comes amid a greater push for scientists to make their research free to the public for others to learn from and to build upon. One computer programmer and research associate at the Britain's University of Bristol went as far as to call the practice of sealing scientific research behind a journal's paywall "immoral."

NASA's treasure trove of scientific articles can be accessed through NASA PubSpace, where anyone can search through a library of research papers already numbering in the hundreds. The papers now available to the public range from the space-related studies of how ancient Martian tsunamis may have shaped the Red Planet to closer-to-home examinations of how climate change affects the movement of Earth's magnetic poles...