Open Sourcing The Natural Sciences

Open Sourcing The Natural Sciences

A new website seeks to put the documentation of the life sciences in the hands of everyone via an open social network.

Lisa Baldini
  • 30 september 2010

Chances are many of us have never seen the pale face of a grunting ox or an illustration of a cherokee sedge. Why? Academic books and information often have the most stringent copyright laws around the content they gather, making access to such information difficult.

Encylopedia of Life is a new project that attempts to open source the documentation of the natural sciences. Taking such activities out of the hands of scientists and copyright laws, here, contributions text to video are on equal footing:

A partnership between scientists and the general public, the goal of Encyclopedia of Life is to catalog information about every living thing on earth, and make that information freely available to every human being. It’s been a favorite project of TreeHugger since it launched in 2008. Anyone can participate in data gathering, helping to upload text, images, videos, tags and more to make the information as complete as possible. EOL is committed to making the information as open access as possible, so everything included is under a creative commons license with credit to the sources. Already, over 30,000 images and videos have been uploaded thanks to participants from the general public, adding to the over 150,000 species pages in the database so far. Eventually the EOL will have 1.8 million pages — one for every known species on the planet — that anyone can access.

The site is offered in multiple languages, including French, Spanish, English, and Russian and includes extensive categorization and taxonomic capabilities.

Encyclopedia of Life

[via: TreeHugger]

Image by Veer.

Veer has recently relaunched its site,, with a simplified, easy to use interface allowing for enhanced and simplified image search.  The site, which is a go-to source for creative and affordable stock photography, illustrations, fonts and merchandise, helps people add style to business, marketing, and personal design projects.


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