In an admirable move, the National Academies Press (NAP) has opened the door for making its content truly ubiquitous. It has made all PDF versions of its books freely available for download from its website. This announcement affects both the NAP’s existing catalog of more than 4,000 PDF eBooks and future reports.
The NAP is the official publisher for the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council. The Press describes its ‘mission’ as disseminating ‘the institutions’ content as widely as possible while maintaining financial sustainability.’
With that in mind, this isn’t the NAP’s first foray into the world of large-scale, free content distribution. The NAP actually began offering free content online in 1994, and about two thirds of its PDFs were already freely available. All were free to users in developing countries.
‘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.’
The PDF books will be available exclusively from the NAP website, and remain subject to copyright laws. Why not check out the catalog and download something that takes your fancy? The NAP predicts more than 3 million annual downloads of free PDF content by 2013, so you’ll be far from alone.