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Huge Trove of Science Released to the Public

By April 28, 2014

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The American Geophysical Union is the world's largest publisher of Earth science research--and space science too. As an AGU member of long standing, I've enjoyed subscribing to AGU journals for my own information and pleasure. As a science writer, I've found AGU journals to be an endless quarry of ideas and sources. In both roles, I've often wished that the public could join me in looking at the primary literature. I've pointed out that the so-called open literature is open only to those who pay, and almost five years ago I urged publishers to at least make their classic papers open-access.

Today the AGU announced that all of its journal content will become freely available after 24 months, starting on 1 May. This will be a signal service, in particular, for climate science. The more people who can root around in the real literature, the better grounded the larger conversation will be. The AGU journals include the venerable Journal of Geophysical Research or JGR, the fast-breaking Geophysical Research Letters or GRL, the authoritative Reviews of Geophyics, and a bunch of others that are flagships of their fields. The content being opened up goes back to 1997, when everything went digital. Ideally, the AGU will put some money into digitizing the earlier catalog too.

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