The Nature Publishing Group has a new online initiative called SCITABLE. Trying not to hold the name against them, I checked out the bells and whistles of the site. Their mission is that:
SCITABLE brings together a library of scientific overviews with a worldwide community of scientists, researchers, teachers, and students. Use SCITABLE to:
- Learn about a range of scientific subjects
- Collaborate online with other students and teachers
- Publish your activities and portfolio to the worldwide science community
The site has a searchable list of “Topic Rooms” and a “Knowledge Project” which provide expert summaries on a variety of basic topics while giving insight into the leading edge of research in that field. There are still relatively few topics covered on the site, as it is still quite new. But the few topics I poked my head into, like “Allometry: The Study of Biologial Scaling” and “Cooperation, Conflict, and the Evolution of Complex Animal Societies” have quality information. They read a bit like a textbook, but rather like a free, online, searchable textbook, which I think is an great step in the right direction.
There is also some sort of biology social networking attempt, which has been done many times with little success I think. But the content is promising, and I intend to add it to my list of resources. For those without access to academic subscriptions, it seems like a great option. If you use it to bone up on a new topic, let me know what you think!