Yesterday, that National Academies Press celebrated its first year of offering free PDFs of many of its reports. NAP reported in an anniversary email that website visitors have downloaded over 1.3 million PDF versions of books — and that over the next year NAP will be adding more books (new and old alike) to the list of free downloads. Among the most downloaded so far are:

The reports on nursing and pain were released in 2011, but To Err is Human is a classic — published in 2000, it warned about the thousands of people (98,000 by one estimate) who die each year from medical errors in US hospitals.

Over the past year, I’d been pleasantly surprised to find some new and old National Academies reports available as free PDFs, but I hadn’t realized it was part of a special initiative to make more free PDFs available. (Because around 85% of National Academies funding comes from the federal government, it makes sense for taxpayers to be able to access publications easily and for free.) Here are just a few of the public health publications available:

Browsing through the NAP catalog reminds me how fortunate we are to have the National Academies (specifically, the National Research Council, the Institute of Medicine, the National Academy of Engineering, and the National Academy of Sciences) distilling the latest research and expert opinion into publications. And while it’s always been possible to read the publications online by clicking through them page by page, I find the free PDFs to be much more user-friendly — and therefore more likely to lead to dissemination of the valuable knowledge the National Academies collect.

You can browse National Academies Press publications at NAP.edu.

Comments

  1. Yeah! for access to free PDFs!