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Open access resources on LIGO & gravitational waves: Reader comments


The Libraries collaborated with MIT gravitational wave researcher Scott Hughes to create this guide, and also consulted with scientists from the MIT LIGO group. 

DSpace@MIT reader comments

Soon after scientists announced on February 11, 2016, that LIGO had detected gravitational waves, the MIT Libraries deposited the detection paper to the open access collection in DSpace@MIT. This was possible because the Libraries have a long-standing agreement with the American Physical Society in which the publisher automatically sends papers to DSpace@MIT soon after they’re published, for immediate open access.

In this case, researchers in the LIGO Scientific Collaboration had paid to release the article under a Creative Commons license, which allows anyone to download, share, or build on the work. “Why make it open access? Well maybe that doesn’t need much explanation — for the most important publication in the life of the collaboration, the only reason not to is that it costs us something, but there was never any question that we would pay for it,” says Peter Fritschel, LIGO’s chief detector scientist and co-chair of the team that coordinated work on the discovery paper.

We’ve received several comments about the DSpace paper from interested readers, including these:

  • “When I heard of the LIGO gravity wave detection, all I could find were these general articles, but no real details of the detection. Only through the open access I got from the notification I got from MIT was I able to quickly get the article. Thank you for doing the right thing and making this very significant discovery as a freely available article.”- independent researcher, US
  • “On September 14, 2015, our species developed new eyes—a new way to experience the world. My thanks to the faculty at MIT for making the details of this development available to all of us. Forty years ago, I studied general relativity at CCNY. I loved the elegance of the wave solution to the field equations. I am thankful that I have lived long enough to see the waves I imagined ripple through observational reality. Reading this paper erases 40 years (for a few minutes).” -interested amateur, Brooklyn, NY