From ad-supported fiction to free textbooks: Ars Technica has an article looking at Scitable, a venture of Nature Publishing Group that provides free life-science educational material on-line. Ars first covered the venture in 2009, and now looks at how far it has come. And one thing that Scitable does not have is advertising.
It does have sponsors, however, such as biotech and pharmaceutical companies that sponsor educational material often based on their own fields of research or manufacture. Further, a number of other publishers have started their own free on-line services. Many seem to be using them as “freemium” free services to promote the sale of their scientific journals.
One noteworthy feature has to do with Nature’s addition of mobile access to Scitable.
Free educational material of this nature has the potential to be useful to a lot of people, in the free and developing world. It’s good to see that level of thought being put into it.