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Today I want to talk about a topic that is near and dear to my heart as a scientist, and also bothers me deeply. And that is…accessibility to science, specifically scientific literature. Okay, okay, I know this sounds super boring, but hear me out.

Did you know that YOU (unless you work at a university or science-related company) can’t access scientific articles? Scientific articles are where research results are published. If you don’t have special access through your employer then hundreds of thousands (millions??) of scientific articles are unavailable to you. Well, you could pay for them, but it would be very expensive. How is that fair??

Well, I don’t think it’s fair at all. Let me outline the process.

Scientists *must* publish their findings in scientific journals for their work to be considered legitimate. This is because part of the publishing process includes peer review. In the peer review process, other scientists in your field read your work to make sure you did things correctly and are making reasonable conclusions. Scientists have to pay to have their work published, which doesn’t quite make sense. Then, the journals turn around and ALSO make readers pay for access. It’s quite the racket when you consider that a lot of research is conducted with tax-payer dollars…

Why does this bother me so much? Because I think scientific information should be more accessible and easy to access. I believe that if you want to read those dense articles, you should be able to! Otherwise, interested folks have to rely upon brief summaries of the research and can’t actually see the nuts and bolts of what the science and what they found.

This issue is a big reason why it makes me nervous to quit my day job and go all-in on this endeavor of non-toxic coaching. Without free access to the scientific literature, I wouldn’t be able to read the most up-to-date science or look back at older research. Just the thought of being disconnected from all this information gives me a knot in my stomach!

Do you have any comparable problem like this accessibility to science issue in your work or industry?? I’d be curious to hear about it!

Want to hear more ‘thoughts from a toxicologist’? Visit my post on Vaping.