Niki: The research papers themselves don't make any claims about the validity of full out of body experiences. It's just a step towards greater understanding. Is that such a bad thing? Are we wrong to try to understand self-awareness?
Mysterygal: That's about it. You feel as if your 'self' is outside your body. In some OBE's during surgery, patients have reported feeling as if they were floating near the ceiling, looking down on their own body, hearing the doctors talking. Others have reported similar experiences in different settings, but the common theme is the very strong perception of being outside your body (though not necessarily being able to see your body).
That's what people experience, but if you're after an explanation of why, well, this is as far as science has gone. There are plenty of ideas to be found, but none that I've come across offers anything to validate them.