For this assignment you need to read the NYTimes article "Cracking open the scientific access" by Thomas Lin (available from Blackboard, Readings folder), and also watch a VERY short movie clip about open access at the University at Albany, in which our own University at Albany faculty members present their own vision of open access and what it means to the academic community.

Write one or two paragraphs about your own understanding of open access. You can use questions below as a starting point or simply address them one by one.

1. Did any of the articles that you found for this class happen to be in open access? How can (or cannot) you tell?

2. Would open access affect science literacy one way or the other, i.e. would it help more people to gain understanding of scientific information, or is the idea of open access just for scientists to pay attention to?

3. Remember that scientific research is often proprietary, and not every success in the lab is shared with the world. There are patents involved, and other issues that might complicate sharing. Is this the world you prefer to function as a young scientist, or can you envision a different model? (It's OK to want to file for a patent!)

Your answers should be written in complete sentences (seven-eight at least) and present a good example of college writing. This assignment can gain you maximum 40 points.

For this assignment you will need to read the article " Why Should You Be Scientifically Literate?" by Robert M. Hazen; this article can be found at The author, a scientist and researcher in Earth sciences, is a big proponent of the idea of scientific literacy.

Read the article and write a paragraph discussing science literacy with the author. Make sure to cover the following questions:

1. Is science literacy as important as Robert Hazen implies? Explain.

2. What difference does it make whether the ordinary person understands the change of the seasons or the difference between DNA and RNA or, for that matter, any major scientific idea behind the ordinary day-to-day phenomena of our lives?

3. Do you personally believe that the future of our country and, to a larger extent, our planet depends on scientifically literate citizens? Explain.

For this homework assignment you need to do the following:

1. Write 4-5 keywords that you might find useful in research on the topic chosen by your team.
2. Plan a strategy for narrowing down your topic. You can write a short paragraph or 3-4 questions that might help you to do so.
3. Write a preliminary thesis statement to be discussed with your team in class.

You should post it as a comment to this blog entry. You will not see your post but I will get back to you via e-mail with my comments.

Please note: if you do not wish to have your comment to be posted on the web you can choose to e-mail it to me instead.

Use the handout given to you in class for useful tips on narrowing down the topic and writing a strong thesis statement. Also read Taking Charge (Chapter 1 of Research Strategies, also available in Blackboard's Readings folder) - it has a good model for research and explains well the role of the thesis statement.

This assignment is worth 20 points if completed on time.


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Hello class,

I'm happy to start our work in Spring 2015 semester and welcome you all to UNL 206X, Information literacy in the Sciences. I'm looking forward to working with you.