Fancy some super nerdy bedtime reading? NASA has announced that it will now provide public access to all journal articles on research funded by the agency.
Any scientists publishing NASA-funded work will be required to upload their papers to a free, online database called PubSpace within a year of publication.
PubSpace is managed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) PubMed Central, which archives biomedical research. You can see NASA-funded studies here, with recent examples including a paper on cardiovascular disease in Apollo astronauts and one on Martian tsunamis caused by meteor impacts.
NASA explains that the new web portal is a response to a 2013 government request for federally-funded research to be more accessible. There are a few obvious exceptions to what's included, such as and material that's related to national security or affected by export controls.
NASA's openness follows a trend to make science results more accessible outside of published, often paywalled journals.
Researchers across disciplines are also increasingly uploading results to preprint servers, so others can see their work before it goes through the review and publication process. Earlier this month, the American Chemical Society announced it wanted to make something like the popular physics-focused arXiv site so chemists could get in on the online data sharing trend.
While it's cool that anyone will be able to check out what the space agency's been up to, what's probably more important is that other researchers will have easier access to build upon NASA-funded work, with one discovery hopefully inspiring others. "Making our research data easier to access will greatly magnify the impact of our research," NASA Chief Scientist Ellen Stofan said in a statement. "As scientists and engineers, we work by building upon a foundation laid by others."