In a new move to make academic content more accessible to a wider audience across the globe, the National Academies Press announced this month that PDF versions of all its books will be available for download to anyone across the globe free of charge. The US-based NAP publishes work for the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine and National Research Council.

All future reports published by the NAP will be available alongside its current catalogue of more than 4,000 texts. The group had been offering free content online since 1994 however, it is hoped that this move to publish free PDFs of its books will assist in disseminating the institutions’ content to the widest possible audience while also maintaining financial sustainability.

NAP Executive Director, Barbara Kline Pope said that it has become financially viable to make the content available for free as the group’s business model has evolved. NAP hope to make a positive impact by “more effectively sharing [their] knowledge and analyses”.

Previously, NAP PDFs were free to download in developing countries, and 65 per cent of them were available free to any user. With the release of the full NAP catalogue on free PDFs the group aim to reach further and inform government decision making and public policy, increase public education and promote the dissemination of knowledge.

Projections based on the performance of NAP’s current free PDFs outline that this change stands to enhance dissemination of PDF reports from approximately 700,000 downloads per year to over 3 million by 2013. All PDF copies of texts will be available here.

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