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Teachers, Are You Discouraged By High Price Tags for Scientific Papers? Here’s Some Advice to Circumvent Costly Fees

Teachers, Are You Discouraged By High Price Tags for Scientific Papers? Here’s Some Advice to Circumvent Costly Fees

National Center for Science Education team member Josh Rosenau recently came across a scientist who shared a request from a teacher to access his or her research paper without having to pay the pricey $40 fee.

"I have always been interested in herpetology and right now I am teaching my students about evolution, speciation, and determining phylogenetic relationships. Our textbook is 10 years old and I’m always looking for ways to supplement the information that it contains,” the teacher said.

"Unfortunately, it costs $39.95 and I don’t have a school or personal budget to afford it. I gave up last night. However, this morning as I was driving to school, it occurred to me that I could probably find your email address and write you to request a copy of your article.”

The scientist was more than happy to waive the fee and share the article with the teacher for educational purposes.

Rosenau was inspired to let all teachers know not to be discouraged by the expensive price tags that are attached to scientific papers that could be useful to their classrooms.

Rosenau encourages teachers to follow in this peer's footsteps and write to scientists who have authored desired papers. 

"Writing to the scientist has...advantages for a teacher. The authors might have other resources that would help in class. They may have written a more accessible blog post on the paper, or have images more suited for classroom presentation. They may be willing to visit the class, or at least Skype in and do a Q&A. If nothing else, any scientist ought to be happy, time permitting, to walk the teacher through the paper’s jargon and make sure the research comes across clearly and accurately to the students,” Rosenau says.

If those measures don’t work, Rosenau says teachers should reach out to librarians at local colleges or universities.

“...teachers can likely get a copy of a paper by asking a librarian at a nearby college or university. Librarians love helping with these sorts of requests. Failing that, teachers could ask someone they know on campus to download the paper,” Rosenau says.

Read the full post here.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

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