Jonathan Eisen Frees (Almost All) His Father’s Papers

Jonathan Eisen
In a touching post at his blog, The Tree of Life, evo biologist and microbug master Jonathan Eisen reports that he has substantially completed the mission I described last week in my article Free Science, One Paper at a Time: finding and re-publishing his deceased father’s papers.

Yesterday marked a major achievement in my goal to free up the scientific publications of my father Howard J. Eisen, who passed away in 1987 when I was in college. I have been working for the last 3+ years or so.… But [at times] I got caught up in life and the effort to free my dad’s publications slowed down. That was, until David’s blog post came out: Free Science, One Paper at a Time | Wired Science | The piece moved me.  It scared me a bit at first, since there are some really personal details in there, but I realized when reading it why he had focused in on this story. So, with his post out there – for all to read — I realized I had to get my shit together and redouble my efforts to free up my father’s publications.  So over the last week or so I have been scavenging around (with some help from people around the web) trying to dig up PDFs of as many of my father’s papers as possible.  Note – I generally would like to obtain these papers without having to pay for them but I am trying to not break any laws either.

I am writing today because I have nearly completed the task of getting PDFs of all of his papers…  So now on the Howard Eisen Mendeley page almost all of his papers are there for anyone to obtain.

Howard Eisen

As a son and a father, as someone who sometimes struggles to get copies of scientific papers (the ones published last week, much less those published 30 or 40 years ago) I find this a moving and enormous accomplishment — the more so having read his other posts chronicling his necessarily on-and-off quest. It’s good to see him get almost all of these papers up and available at Mendeley.

Science and family are complex, consequential, sometimes maddeningly tangled chains of influence, replication, correction, and confirmation. Jonathan Eisen has done both an immense honor.

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