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June 13, 2005
Free Science in the Public Interest
One of my favorite corners in the Copyfight is ongoing efforts to put scientific and technical information into the public domain in highly usable forms (e.g. Public Library of Science). The latest candidate to get my attention is this page of resources on the science and teaching of evolution, produced by the National Academy of Sciences.
The page provides ways to order different versions of the information, such as printed paperbacks and purchasable PDFs, including chapter-at-a-time a la carte. Free samples are available. Or, if you just want to read online you can get free HTML versions, including a clever (but not terribly useful) "skim" link that gives you a few sentences at a time so you get a flavor for the material.
Much of this is aimed at teachers, who are obviously deeply embroiled in the evolution/creationism debate and NAS are not shy about their views ("the NAS states unequivocally that creationism has no place in any science curriculum at any level"). But setting aside politics for a moment, this is a very interesting way to offer different accesses to published material.
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