The National Academies Press

The National Academies Press

Are you a scientist? If not, are you simply interested in science? Maybe you have a job teaching science? Or perhaps creating policy related to science? Science touches all of us, and today I want to draw your attention to an incredibly rich, high-quality source of information: The National Academies. Originally chartered by Congress in 1863, there are now four private, non-profit institutions dedicated to providing expert research and advice in the areas of science, engineering, and medicine.

The National Academies Press, or NAP, is the publishing arm of these organizations, and publishes over 200 books a year. And here's the best part - everything is free! There is one small catch, though. The electronic versions of every publication are made available for free in PDF format, but if you want a print version, you'll have to pay. To me, that's a small price to pay for having access to this wealth of information.

In addition to the actual book or report, many titles have associated videos and podcasts that can be accessed for free. For example, this book: "On Being a Scientist: A Guide to Responsible Conduct in Research," published in 2009. At 82 pages long, it's probably a quicker read than many of the other more in-depth reports.

A seven minute YouTube video and an 11 minute podcast accompanies the book as well.

Where else can you find this rich level of interactive information, produced by the nation's brightest scientists, many of whom have won Nobel Prizes in their fields, all for free? Not many, I'm afraid. So I encourage you to explore the site and all that it has to offer. Below are a few samples to get you started.

And finally, if you have the time, you can even watch President Obama's address to the National Academy of Sciences. Enjoy, and explore!