With a degree in science, students stand to enter a very stable field. Job growth is expected to be fairly steady as more research will be needed to advance medical, defense, and consumer technology. For example, science grads may become biochemists or biophysicists, two careers that are expected to grow 31% by 2020, which is much faster than the national job growth average, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In addition, environmental scientist and specialist careers are also expected to see significant growth over the next decade as environmental protection increases in importance.
In general, scientists fill a variety of important capacities in the workforce, working as chemists, pharmacists, environmentalists, and more. Those who devote their lives to careers in science have given us medical cures, technological wonders, and fascinating insight into the world around us. In fact, jobs for science majors are so important that President Obama recently announced government plans to dedicate $180 million for programs that will urge more young students to study science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, according to The New York Times.
This guide provides a wealth of free online resources for science students. These high-quality resources span the study of biology, chemistry, astronomy, earth science, and physics. It’s important to access information sources like these because they provide you with excellent industry-specific information as well as research material for your existing coursework. The best part is that not only do these abundant, free resources complement the materials you are already studying—they also provide you with all new information you wouldn’t have otherwise.
Open Access Journals
Open access journals provide immediate, free access to peer-reviewed, scholarly research articles. Typically, these resources are reached through the publishers’ websites. Open access means that there is unrestricted access to the resource via the Internet. The need for free access to educational content like scholarly journal articles was one of the primary factors in the development of open access.
For science students these kinds of journals are a powerful source of information. Open access journals are widely used by students searching for scholarly, peer-reviewed articles for their assigned research papers. They provide these articles, and even provide assistance with citing sources. are especially useful for science students because they are common in every scientific discipline and usually provide very detailed information.
Some of the best basic databases for finding great open access journals include:
- Directory of Open Access Journals
- Oxford Open
- Wiley Open Access
- OMICS Group
- Open Science Directory
- Open Access Journals Search Engine
Here are some excellent open access journals specifically for the sciences:
- Biology – MDPI: This journal publishes reviews, research papers and communications across the discipline of biology with detailed experimental and theoretical results. The motivation behind this detailed approach is that with the provision of full experimental details readers can reproduce the results.
- PLOS Biology – PLOS: This journal features articles from all areas of biological science, from molecules to ecosystems, but also includes some chemistry, medicine, and mathematics. It is intended for all of the international scientific community included educators, policy makers, patient advocacy groups, and the general public.
- International Journal of Evolutionary Biology – Hindawi: This journal publishes original research as well as review articles across the discipline of evolutionary biology.
- ChemistryOpen – Wiley: This journal covers all aspects of chemistry and also focuses on the way it interfaces with the life sciences.
- Chemistry Central Journal – Chemistry Central: This journal publishes work in all areas of chemistry including organic, inorganic, physical, biological, analytical, and environmental chemistry, materials and polymers, and food science.
- Journal of Chemistry – Hindawi: This journal publishes research and review articles in all areas of chemistry.
- New Astronomy – Elsevier: This journal publishes articles in all areas of astronomy and astrophysics, especially computational astronomy, including mathematical methodology, astronomy techniques and methodology, simulations, modeling and numerical results, and computational techniques in instrumentation.
- Advances in Astronomy – Hindawi: This journal publishes original research and review articles across the astronomy and astrophysics disciplines.
- Geosciences – MDPI: This journal publishes original papers, rapid communications, technical notes, review articles, and discussions focused across all sub-disciplines of the Earth and planetary sciences including solid earth, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere, as well as related issues of planetary and space sciences. The journal also provides information on Earth history, natural hazards, geology-related environmental problems, and geoethics.
- Advances in Geoscience – Copernicus Publications: This journal publishes collections of short articles on the Earth, planetary, and solar system sciences including papers presented at scientific meetings.
- Journal of Theoretical and Applied Physics – Springer: This journal publishes work on novel and frontier physics including condensed matter physics, theoretical physics, nonlinear science, statistical physics, mathematical and computational physics, general and cross-disciplinary physics (including foundations), atomic, molecular and cluster physics, plasma and fluid physics, optical physics, biological physics, nanoscience, laser and photonics, high energy, and nuclear physics.
- Journal of Modern Physics – SCIRP: This journal publishes articles focused on the latest in advancement of modern physics as well as short reports and book reviews.
- Physics Research International – Hindawi: This journal publishes original research and review articles in all areas of physics.
The WorldCat database is the world’s biggest collective library database. It itemizes the collections of more than 10,000 libraries which participate in the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC). The OCLC is dedicated to providing online, searchable access to information and is collectively built and maintained by the participating libraries.
Here are links to some basic WorldCat search results for the sciences:
- Science Careers- Science Careers is merely one component of the world class magazine, Science. Science Careers seeks to match industry professionals with a job that will utilize their skill set and benefit the industry as a whole.
- ScienceCareersNow.com- Science Careers Now is not only a website with a high functioning job board, it’s also a website that contains a wealth of industry related information such as the benefits and pitfalls of obtaining a career in the field of science.
- National Science Foundation (NSF)- The NSF is a government agency that funds scientific research and supports innovative projects. The NSF offers internship opportunities to high school and college students. Students are placed in a variety of positions, and may be eligible for a job once the internship period is over.
- NatureJobs.com- Nature Jobs is a part of Nature Publishing Group, a leading publisher of science journals, databases and services. Nature Jobs allows students and professionals the option to upload professional information to an online database that is available to industry employers. Job seekers can also search open positions.
- NewScientist.com- New Scientist Jobs offers an easy-to-use database for job seekers. Recent graduates and new professionals can take advantage of the A-Z Employers List, as well as a profile creation tool that will help employers find them.
- PhysicsToday.org- Physics Today is considered to be one of the best, if not the best, physics magazine in the world. Physicstodayjobs lets physics professionals upload their professional credentials to an online database, where employers can search for them as positions open up. Job seekers can also take initiative and search for employers that they are interested in working for, or who have posted open positions on the board.
- Linkedin.com- Linkedin is touted as one of the world’s most popular networking websites, and for good reason; every day Linkedin connects users in an attempt to fill open positions and further its user’s career goals. Today, Linkedin has become more of a social network than a job posting board, but the fact that it features both makes it a better option that more traditional job search databases.
Additional Science Resources
It is important to take advantage of unconventional educational resources. This kind of information seeking is invaluable to your studies, and what you find will also benefit your career and even your personal life.
We’ve gotten you started here, and there are a few more ideas listed below. You already know just how much information is out there; remember, every single minute on the Internet, 48 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube, for example. Keep looking for new resources!
- Apps for science majors
- iPad apps for science majors
- 10 tips for women students in science fields
- Index of open access science resources from the American Museum of Natural History
- Public Library of Science
- 10 things every future premed should know
- 12 facts only biology majors would love
- 26 sure signs you’re a physics graduate
- Career resources from Science magazine
- Alternative careers for scientists
- Social networks for scientists
- Nature Video Channel
- Big Think
- Newsy Science
- University of California Television
- Science Blogs
- Cooking for Engineers (and scientists)
- Smithsonian Magazine
- Real Clear Science