June 7, 2011

NAP: Free Books!

The National Academies Press, which is the publishing arm of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council,  as of last Thursday, has released all of its books and reports for free electronic PDF downloads.

I had hoped that perhaps this would include some basic science texts, but it appears at first glance that they publish mostly social impact of science material.  For example, in looking for some basic biology texts I found "Science Medicine and Animals" is about balancing animal testing with concern for all living creatures; and the final report of the human embryonic stem cell research advisory committee, many texts on Evolution vs. Creationism, and the effects of Mankind on biodiversity, but no basic textbooks. 

The Earth Science section has many books about Man's impact on the environment, ecology, conservation, climate change, etc.  Nothing about the basic science.  The Math section had books on how to estimate health insurance coverage for children, gender studies in science careers and statistical studies about how the Department of Justice operates.

In short, though the press release sounds exciting to book lovers and science hounds... not so much.  I'm sure there's lots of interesting reading to be found there, but much of it is cultural and political in nature.

No comments: