This is an interesting one. NASA has published the first 5 papers on it's Curiosity Mars Rover. But they did it through Science Magazine
- which promptly locked them behind their paywall - and demanded $20 for a one-day pass to read them.
Fortunately, biologist Michael Eisen of UC Berkeley is a little more up on copyright rules and relevant laws for US Government projects than either NASA or Science Magazine apparently are. Michael 'liberated' and put all 5 article PDFs up on his blog site for download along with a rather pointed essay discussing why NASA should know better (from both a legal
and a public relations perspective) than to try something like that.
NASA paywalls first papers arising from Curiosity rover, I am setting them free
By Michael Eisen | Published: September 26, 2013
The Mars Curiosity rover has been a huge boon for NASA – tapping into the public’s fascination with space exploration and the search for life on other planets. Its landing was watched live by millions of people, and interest in the photos and videos it is collecting is so great, that NASA has had to relocate its servers to deal with the capacity.
So what does NASA do to reward this outpouring of public interest (not to mention to $2.5 billion taxpayer dollars that made it possible)? They publish the first papers to arise from the project behind a Science magazine’s paywall...<more>
Apparently NASA got the message. Because the JPL has since re-published the same articles and made them freely available from their own website - where they should have been released to begin with.
Mike's blog post is really interesting and informative. There's several points he made that may be handy to remember if you're ever in a position where some government agency is attempting to freeze you out of reports and information you already paid them to produce
Read it here
(With thanks to Boing Boing
for spotting this!)