The Public Library of Science is a non-profit site for keeping up with and freely sharing scientific and medical research. It is dedicated to open access to research articles, and also offers blogs, journal content alerts, and open access (no-fee) peer-reviewed journals in which researchers may publish their research. It could be a good place for students casting about for topics for research papers if they are interested in the sciences.
The site, less than 10 years old, recently added its 1,500th paper. Topics of recent articles include: Chimpanzee Autarky (Do chimps barter?) and Human and Chimpanzee Gene Expression Differences Replicated in Mice Fed Different Diets (Do mice eating different diets–human cafeteria food, McDonald’s fast food, mouse pellets, or lab chimp food–exhibit different gene expression?).
Recent blog topics include No Such Thing as a Free Lunch (or Gift or Sample), referring to the PLoS Medicine journal item The Cost of Pushing Pills: A New Estimate of Pharmaceutical Promotion Expenditures in the United States which argues that “the staggering amounts spent by drug companies on marketing” are not justified by their innovation in drug development, and Broiler Chicken Welfare Definitely Isn’t Pukka which discusses concerns about broiler chickens and the conditions in which they are raised.
PLoS encourages researchers to publish in its open access journals for maximum impact (since the articles are freely available all over the world), but there is a cost. UW-Madison is an institutional member of PLoS (see articles UW-Madison researchers have submitted since 2005).