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Free access to Springer journal PDFs through November 30!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla

23-11-2012 11:52 CST

Topics: explaining science, events and announcements

It's a holiday here in the U.S. Thanksgiving was yesterday, and as I contributed my share to the production and consumption of huge quantities of tasty food with a table full of happy family, I'm not in any shape to be doing much work today. So, in a classic teacher move, on a day when I can't teach properly, I'm giving you all a project to do on your own. Springer is offering electronic access to PDFs of several of their journals for free, for one more week.

One of these in particular, Space Science Reviews, is the journal that publishes most of the articles of record that describe spacecraft instruments. As a mission prepares for launch or arrival, there will be a special issue of SSR for that mission that describes the mission in general and each individual instrument in painful detail. Do you have questions about what isotopes Curiosity's SAM can discern or whether it can measure the chirality of amino acids? Want to know the angular resolution and spectral sensitivity of New Horizons' LORRI camera? This is the journal you go to. (Volumes 170 and 140, respectively.)

I have been throwing around the idea of trying to do a seminar-style class were we pick some papers and discuss them over a Hangout. If I do that, though, people will need access to papers. If you have any interest in such a class, go download them now, while they're free. I read the fine print on Springer's website and I don't think it makes a difference whether you got it for free or not; the copy that you download belongs to you; sharing it with others violates copyright. So once they're back behind the paywall, they're back behind the paywall.

See other posts from November 2012


Or read more blog entries about: explaining science, events and announcements


Leila Belkora: 11/24/2012 12:04 CST

Thanks for the tip--I found several interesting articles. But I must also ask, why is your bread green???

Emily Lakdawalla: 11/24/2012 12:10 CST

You're welcome, and it's spinach bread :) Really, really yummy. Family always demands it of me on holidays now. Same recipe can be used to make bread with carrots, beets, etc., so I can produce delicious bread of pretty much any alarming color.

Chris Campbell: 11/24/2012 12:05 CST

Is there some way to download all of the PDFs in a volume, without have to laboriously click through each of the articles?

Christopher Haydock: 11/25/2012 11:47 CST

The simple phrase "chemical structures for organic compounds" in table 5 on page 421 of Mahaffy's volume 170 article apparently answers yes, SAM "can measure the chirality of amino acids?" Also see Freissinet's "Analysis of chirality in space" abstract: and figure 1 of Levin's "Liquid water and life on Mars" article:

Gary Ray Rogers: 11/25/2012 01:54 CST

Thanks for the great information. I have downloaded most all the Mars Lab information. I would be very interested in a hangout discussing any of these. Or any others you are up to doing. And thanks for being such a good resource and teacher. You have the gift of explaining complicated information so we can understand it better. And you cook green bread!

Mike Hopkins: 11/25/2012 07:41 CST

Wait a second. Why is not NASA publishing its specs in journal that is always open source? Peer-reviewed open access journals do exist. We the people paid for MSL. Keeping this vital information where any potential researcher does not have to pay for it also helps advance the science which is sort of the point of having a science lab on another planet.

Gary Ray Rogers: 11/26/2012 02:45 CST

I must agree with Mr. Hopkins above, as an engineer that done a lot of research, I would like to see all scientific journals published free. And the cost for these is unbelievable. OK gripe over. I have had a bit of time to start reading the Mars Science Mission ones and they are a wealth of information. Download at least the "Mars Science Laboratory Mission and Science Investigation" Space Sci Rev (2012) 170:5–56. That is issue 170. It has a very good overview of the mission and the instruments with lots of color pictures.

Fred Thurber: 11/27/2012 11:57 CST

The chiral capabilities of SAM are not discussed in detail, alas, but GC4 has the Chirasil-β Dex CB column which is a commercial product from Varian so more information might be available from Varian. It is currently a fairly obscure capability of SAM but it could become very interesting if some VOCs are found. For instance: biologically-generated amino acids on Earth are strictly L- while those generated in space are racemic or have a slight imbalance toward L- so GC4 might help determine the origins of these organics.

Emily Lakdawalla: 11/29/2012 12:13 CST

As it turns out, the MSL articles *are* actually open-source, so they will be available beyond the expiration date. As for an easy way to download, I recommend the Firefox add-on "DownThemAll." That's what I use. I'm sure there are similar plug-ins for other browsers.

David Frankis: 12/02/2012 06:56 CST

I'd be interested in the hangout, though, that said, the probability of my being able to catch one at the time is low. I'd still want to watch the recorded hangout after the fact.

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