Research Results for the Public

The previous entry was based on a news story published on the Betterhumans website. The article includes a link to the study abstract published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Unfortunately, if you want to read the full text of the study, you need to be a subscriber. Subscriptions start at $49 a year and up, or you can register and wait six months when all current articles are available to registered members.

The New England Journal of Medicine’s subscription rates are relatively cheap compared to other journals out there that can go for $1000 per year or more. If you are a student at a college or university, the library might have already paid for an institution subscription, but they won’t have everything. Unfortunately, for the general public there is just no easy way to get access to such research, except vicariously if the media reports on specific research.

There is an attempt to remedy this situation. The Public Library of Science offers their PLOS Biology journal for free on the Internet, or you can pay a small fee to cover printing charges if you want a print version. I hope this trend catches on. Publication fees should be included in the grant proposals made by scientists, or should be covered by the institution they work for. This way, all scientific research can be available for free to the general public over the Internet. Our tax money is used to fund such research, but more importantly, the human species as a whole deserves full access to all human knowledge.