National Academies Press makes all PDF books free to download


Keck Center of the National Academies

As of June 2, the U.S. National Academies Press has made more than 4,000 publications available to download free to all readers for the first time. This is great news, and something we have long believed should be done. National Academies publications based on publicly-funded studies, which should be readily and widely available in the U.S. and abroad, have had their circulation limited by a National Academies Press business model that combined the sale of sometimes pricey books with cumbersome online reading and printing arrangements. Bravo to whomever brought about this new policy. Links to a few climate science-related reports follow.

From the National Academies press release:

June 2, 2011


The National Academies Press Makes All PDF Books Free to Download; More Than 4,000 Titles Now Available Free to All Readers

WASHINGTON — As of today all PDF versions of books published by the National Academies Press will be downloadable to anyone free of charge.  This includes a current catalog of more than 4,000 books plus future reports produced by the Press.  The mission of the National Academies Press (NAP) — publisher for the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council — is to disseminate the institutions’ content as widely as possible while maintaining financial sustainability.  To that end, NAP began offering free content online in 1994.  Before today’s announcement, all PDFs were free to download in developing countries, and 65 percent of them were available for free to any user.

“Our business model has evolved so that it is now financially viable to put this content out to the entire world for free,” said Barbara Kline Pope, executive director for the National Academies Press.  “This is a wonderful opportunity to make a positive impact by more effectively sharing our knowledge and analyses.”

Based on the performance of NAP’s current free PDFs, projections suggest that this change will enhance dissemination of PDF reports from about 700,000 downloads per year to more than 3 million by 2013.

Printed books will continue to be available for purchase through the NAP website and traditional channels.  The free PDFs are available exclusively from the NAP’s website,, and remain subject to copyright laws.  PDF versions exist for the vast majority of NAP books.  Exceptions include some books that were published before the advent of PDFs; books from the Joseph Henry Press imprint; and in cases where contractually prohibited, such as reference books in the Nutrient Requirements of Domestic Animals series.

Check these out:

America’s Climate Choices

This title is part of the America’s Climate Choices project, the National Research Council’s most comprehensive study of climate change to date. Follow the links below for companion titles from the America’s Climate Choices study.

Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change

Advancing the Science of Climate Change

Informing an Effective Response to Climate Change

Limiting the Magnitude of Future Climate Change

The America’s Climate Choices books have been available free in PDF format prior to today, an unusual state of affairs, and perhaps not widely known. The following is a brief sampling of reports that also may be downloaded free now, including the important Climate Stabilization Targets report:

Climate Stabilization Targets: Emissions, Concentrations, and Impacts over Decades to Millennia

National Security Implications of Climate Change for U.S. Naval Forces: Letter Report

Restructuring Federal Climate Research to Meet the Challenges of Climate Change

Abrupt Climate Change: Inevitable Surprises

Monitoring Climate Change Impacts: Metrics at the Intersection of the Human and Earth Systems 

Observing Weather and Climate From the Ground Up: A Nationwide Network of Networks

Facilitating Climate Change Responses: A Report of Two Workshops on Insights from the Social and Behavioral Sciences

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