Thursday, July 29, 2010

APS Journals Available For Free In US Public Libraries

Latest press release from the APS:

Ridge, New York: The American Physical Society (APS) announces a new public access initiative that will give readers and researchers in public libraries in the United States full use of all online APS journals, from the most recent articles back to the first issue in 1893, a collection including over 400,000 scientific research papers. APS will provide this access at no cost to participating public libraries, as a contribution to public engagement with the ongoing development of scientific understanding.
APS Publisher Joseph Serene observed that "public libraries have long played a central role in our country’s intellectual life, and we hope that through this initiative they will become an important avenue for the general public to reach our research journals, which until now have been available only through the subscriptions at research institutions that currently cover the significant costs of peer review and online publication.”

Librarians can obtain access by accepting a simple online site license and providing valid IP addresses of public-use computers in their libraries ( The license requires that public library users must be in the library when they read the APS journals or download articles. Initially the program will be offered to U.S. public libraries, but it may include additional countries in the future.
"The Public Library program is entirely consistent with the APS objective to advance and diffuse the knowledge of physics," said Gene Sprouse, APS Editor in Chief. "Our goal is to provide access to everyone who wants and needs our journals and this shift in policy represents the first of several steps the APS is taking towards that goal."

-Contact: Amy Halsted, Special Assistant to the Editor in Chief,, 631-591-4232

-About the APS: The American Physical Society is the world’s largest professional body of physicists, representing close to 48,000 physicists in academia and industry worldwide. It has offices in Ridge, NY; Washington, DC; and College Park, MD. For more information:

This gives the public, if they so wish to take advantage of it, access to some of the most widely-read and prestigious journals in physics, such as the Physical Review Letters, the Physical Review family of journals, and valuable review articles in Review of Modern Physics.

As a member of the APS, I am proud that the APS is making these journals available to the public via the public libraries. They now have ample access to these journals. Now, the question is, what can they do with such access and such information?


1 comment:

peeterjoot said...

As somebody who has been studying physics just due to interest, and not doing so in a school context it is frustrating that journals are kept so private. Until out of school, I hadn't realized how proprietary what I had previously considered freely available educational content was.

Outside of a school context to somebody who just wants to learn, most journal articles appear not as a knowledge sharing mechanism, but a mechanism to keep somebody interested from learning.

Yes, as an undergrad engineering alumni, I can make the two hour round trip commute to visit my old university library, but that's certainly not convenient. When you can't even take a quick peek at the article of interest before deciding to make the trip it is hard to justify.