Free science! Get your free science!
I was incredibly excited to come across the website Publiscize recently. It’s a free news source where scientists publish synopses of their own research. Better yet, they’re geared toward us folks who don’t happen to have a Ph.D.
I’m a firm believer that understanding science is one of the most important things for a member of modern society to do in life. Every aspect of our lives rests on the body of knowledge that was collected through the scientific method. That body of knowledge contains little gems like the germ theory of disease and cell theory, which together allow us to have nice things like antibiotics and not dieing from the plague.
Not everyone needs to become an expert on subatomic particles. But it might help if most of us had a basic understanding of how a greenhouse gas works. Especially in a democratic republic like the one I live in, knowing how the world works is pretty important for good decision making.
Unfortunately, it can be hard to access good scientific information when we want it. Many scientific journals charge enough to stop an interested citizen of the world dead in their tracks. That leaves people to rely on science journalists for their info, which doesn’t always go well. Don’t misunderstand me; I have intense respect for good science journalism. That said, condensing a whole study into a snappy headline can be misleading or downright dishonest. If you can get the information from the scientists who discovered it, there’s less chance it will be misrepresented.
Open access journals are another great source of information worth exploring. Publiscize articles have the advantage of being incredibly readable, though, and make a great starting point.