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Uncovering open access

Nov 09, 2010, 22:04 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Michael Patrick Rutter, James Sellman)

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"To the general public, "doing science" is all about discovery. But in truth, that's only half the picture. Consider the experience of an obscure nineteenth-century Augustinian monk...

"From 1856 to 1863, Gregor Mendel cultivated and observed 29,000 pea plants and managed to unlock some of the secrets of heredity, including the concepts of dominant and recessive traits.

"In 1865, Mendel presented his findings as a two-part lecture, "Experiments on Plant Hybridization," before the tiny Natural History Society of Brünn (present-day Brno, Czech Republic). A year later, he published his findings in the society's Proceedings, of which 115 copies are known to have been distributed. With that, his painstaking work disappeared—virtually without a trace—for 35 years. In scientific terms, an eon."

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