10 Free Scientific Resources For Graduating Students

May 16, 2013 | Posted by Piper in Research |
Open_Access_PLoS.svg by PGRsOnline, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  by  PGRsOnline 

 

Upon finishing my Ph.D. in December, I was quickly confronted with the loss of journal, publication, and general program access.

Within an academic institution, we are privileged in access to a wide array of resources and traditionally subscription-based service. And while there are far more open-access resources than ever before, with Wikipedia and PLOS as significant examples, it is important to recognize some of the other commonly available resources which can assist scientists who are set to graduate this summer from their institutions.

Below I highlight some of the references, software, and literature I myself am using that are all free, open access, and ready to use. And as the discussion about open access scientific literature makes significant strides, I think it is important to start thinking about what other resources and expertise should be available for scientists to freely access and use.

1. Making the Right Moves and Entering Mentoring

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) offers free lab management books that can be ordered from their website. Both Making the Right Moves and Entering Mentoring are guidebook resources for mentors at every level.

Website: http://www.hhmi.org/resources/scientists.html

2.  Biochemistry Free and Easy

Dr. Kevin Ahern and Dr. Indira Rajagopal of Oregon State University provide their biochemistry textbook with a free PDF version and links to over 100 video lectures on the iPad full-featured version. They also offer three free online courses through Apple iTunes U– Biochemistry for Pre-Meds, Elementary Biochemistry, and the Pre-Med Primer- Getting Into Medical School.

Website: http://biochem.science.oregonstate.edu/biochemistry-free-and-easy

iTunes U: https://itunes.apple.com/us/course/biochemistry-for-pre-meds/id556410409

PDF: http://biochem.science.oregonstate.edu/files/bbnew/images/BiochemistryFreeEasy1.pdf

3. Organic Chemistry with a Biological Emphasis

Dr. Tim Soderberg of University of Minnesota, Morris, provides free eBook downloads of his organic chemistry textbook through the UC Davis ChemWiki project. Focusing students that are majoring in biology, biochemistry, or health sciences, Soderberg teaches ‘the chemistry of life’ through reactions relevant to those related to a living cell.

Website: http://chemwiki.ucdavis.edu/Organic_Chemistry/Organic_Chemistry_With_a_Biological_Emphasis

PDF Chapters 1-9: http://www.lulu.com/shop/tim-soderberg/organic-chemistry-with-a-biological-emphasis-volume-i/ebook/product-18905202.html

PDF Chapters 10-17: http://www.lulu.com/shop/tim-soderberg/organic-chemistry-with-a-biological-emphasis-volume-ii/ebook/product-18921698.html

Solutions Manual: http://www.lulu.com/shop/tim-soderberg/solutions-manual-for-organic-chemistry-with-a-biological-emphasis/ebook/product-18921729.html

4.  Science Careers Tools & Tips: How-To Series

In this series, Science Careers gives practical tips, such as How to Get Funding, How to Interview, and How to Build Your Network. Many of these are older documents, from when granting cycles were not quite so competitive or getting a job was not so difficult, but the principles are solid and apply now more than ever.

Website: http://sciencecareers.sciencemag.org/tools_tips/how_to_series

5. HHMI Bulletin

Available for free in either the print or online versions, the HHMI Bulletin offers quarterly reports on biomedical research and science education by HHMI Investigators and other HHMI funding efforts. I prefer the print version for just some at home or beach reading when I am relaxing off of the computer.

Website: http://www.hhmi.org/bulletin/subscribe/index.php

6. Accelerators and Beams: Tools of Discovery and Innovation

This fun little text, published by the Division of Physics of Beams of the American Physical Society, offers a no-stress read (with lots of pictures) all about accelerators and their applications.

Website: http://www.aps.org/units/dpb/upload/accel_beams_mar13.pdf

7. LyX

LyX is a document processor with a Microsoft Word-like interface that sits on top of LaTeX so that documents with LaTeX’s polish and specificity can be generated without writing code. It is available for Mac, Windows, and Linux and generates LaTeX source code to submit to journals.

Website: http://www.lyx.org/

8. Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics

Why So Few? presents the 2010 report of American Association of University Women (AAUW) to figure out why women, while increasing in other careers, are not increasing in science at a similar rate. A must read for any mentor, advisor, and student, the AAUW hits on eight points where women meet barriers and how to surpass them.

Website: http://www.aauw.org/research/why-so-few/

PDF: http://www.aauw.org/files/2013/02/Why-So-Few-Women-in-Science-Technology-Engineering-and-Mathematics.pdf

9. Nautilus Magazine

This brand-new literary science magazine is all available online. Each issue covers one topic from a variety of scientific perspectives. The first issue, What Makes You So Special, follows through biology, matter, and culture perspectives to develop a complete picture. Divided into the first two chapters “Less Than You Think” and “More Than you Know,” Nautilus is new, fun, and I look forward to seeing where this magazine goes in the future!

Website: http://nautil.us/

10. Wolfram Alpha

Wolfram Alpha is my favorite new find online. It is computation knowledge engine that you can enter pretty much anything into for results. You can solve equations, retrieve statistical data, fundamental constants, unit conversions, and combine these capabilities to answer surprisingly profound theories.

Website: http://www.wolframalpha.com/

And one final one…

Enthought Python Distribution Free

Many research groups use MATLAB to do their scientific computing because, although expensive, it is fast for certain calculations and makes pretty figures and many groups have legacy code. Python is an easier language to code in and is free with free distribution, so it is easy to work with and is a great resource for new research groups without legacy code. Enthought Python Distribution incorporates libraries that allow one to replicate both the numeric processing that MatLab does efficiently as well as the plotting functions.There remains some specialized info that this can’t do, for the most part, this replicates most of the average functions that most scientists need.

Website: https://www.enthought.com/products/epd/free/

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