How Academic Pirate Alexandra Elbakyan Is Fighting Scientific Misinformation

“In the decade since Alexandra Elbakyan founded Sci-Hub, science’s so-called “pirate queen” has amassed more than 85 million full-text research articles, which she’s made available, for free, to anyone who can track down her custom search engine. …

In the swirling chaos of the pandemic—and a new, or at least newly-acknowledged, era of digital disinformation—Sci-Hub kicked into overdrive. Its number of daily users has grown 20 percent, from 500,000 to 600,000, according to Elbakyan. During lockdown, people accessed articles about COVID-19 10 to 100 times more often than articles about other diseases. …”

Activists Mobilize to Fight Censorship and Save Open Science

“Major publishers want to censor research-sharing resource Sci-Hub from the internet, but archivists are quickly responding to make that impossible. 

More than half of academic publishing is controlled by only five publishers. This position is built on the premise that users should pay for access to scientific research, to compensate publishers for their investment in editing, curating, and publishing it. In reality, research is typically submitted and evaluated by scholars without compensation from the publisher. What this model is actually doing is profiting off of a restriction on article access using burdensome paywalls. One project in particular, Sci-Hub, has threatened to break down this barrier by sharing articles without restriction. As a result, publishers are going to every corner of the map to destroy the project and wipe it from the internet. Continuing the long tradition of internet hacktivism, however, redditors are mobilizing to create an uncensorable back-up of Sci-Hub….”


Fans of Sci-Hub are mobilizing to save the pirate science platform

“Thu, 20 May 2021, 9:24 am·2-min read   The Sci-Hub science platform, blocked since December 2020, is receiving support from a number of Reddit users.A group of Reddit users are protesting against the FBI’s attempts to pressure Alexandra Elbakyan, creator of the Sci-Hub website, which publishes scientific studies for free. The community is mobilizing around her vision: to create a digital library of scientific articles accessible for free.Sci-Hub is an illegal site and in theory impossible to access in many regions. Sci-Hub offers free access to scientific articles. To do this, the site bypasses the paid access locks of research publishers. Since its launch on September 5, 2011, more than 85 million articles have been made available for free while the average cost for a single article would be about 30 dollars. Its creator, Alexandra Elbakyan, a native of Kazakhstan, wanted to make scientific knowledge and insights accessible to others like her who could not access them due to cost. Used by many students and researchers, the site was also the target of publishers of these journals, including the publishing company Elsevier, which since 2015 has been attempting via lawsuits in the United States, France and India, to put the site out of business with the claim that the site infringes their copyrights….”

Activist Archivists Are Trying to Save the ‘Pirate Bay of Science’

“Sci-Hub hosts 85 million articles and the Reddit community at /r/datahoarder wants to make sure they’re free and available for everyone forever by decentralizing it because of recent legal challenges for the site, which was sued by science publishing giant Elsevier and owes it millions. 

“It’s time we sent Elsevier and the USDOJ a clearer message about the fate of Sci-Hub and open science: we are the library, we do not get silenced, we do not shut down our computers, and we are many,” said a post on the /r/datahoarder subreddit. …”

(PDF) A Critical Conversation with Alexandra Elbakyan: Is she the Pirate Queen, Robin Hood, a Scholarly Activist, or a Butterfly Flapping its Wings?

Abstract:  The conversation with Alexandra Elbakyan intends to explore the Sci-Hub phenomenon and the core motives that initiated Sci-Hub. Accordingly, Sci-Hub is an open science project that has gone viral and is driven by people who pursue knowledge. The core idea behind the Sci-Hub is very simple: people should have access to knowledge without any restrictions. Elbakyan argues that science should be ruled by the scientist, not by the corporations. It is here, in a publish or perish scholarly world, that Sci-Hub aims to give control back to scientists and empower them. Elbakyan claims that for-profit corporations are gatekeeping knowledge, whereas Sci-Hub is disseminating it for the greater good. The conversation with Elbakyan about Sci-Hub raises a critical question for us to answer: Who is the real owner of the information?

FBI Got Access To Sci-Hub Founder’s Apple Account | Techdirt

“The war against educating people without paying huge sums of money continues without pause. Over the last few years, we’ve written a bunch about Sci-Hub and its founder, Alexandra Elbakyan, including the fact that academic publishers have convinced the DOJ to investigate Elbakyan, claiming that this effort to (*checks notes*) give more academics free access to academic articles is… tied to Russian intelligence. The whole thing seemed bizarre. Sure, fine, people can make arguments about copyright — but saying that it’s connected to Russian intelligence seems like quite a conspiracy theory.

Either way, it appears that the “investigation” continues along. TorrentFreak alerts us that Apple has informed Elbakyan that the FBI now has access to her Apple account. …”

How to circumvent Sci-Hub ISP block – fragile credences

“In the UK, many internet service providers block Sci-Hub. Fortunately, a simple proxy is enough to circumvent this (you don’t even need a VPN).

Routing requests through a suitable1 proxy lets you open Sci-Hub in your regular browser as if it weren’t blocked.

Routing all your traffic through a proxy may come with privacy and security concerns, and will slow your connection a bit. We want to use our proxy only for accessing Sci-Hub.

You can use extensions like ProxySwitchy to tell your browser to automatically use certain proxies, or no proxy at all, for sets of websites that you define.

Unfortunately, this extension, and others like it, require permissions to insert arbitrary JavaScript into any page you visit (the web store accurately explains that the extension can “read and change all your data on the websites you visit”). That’s likely due to insufficiently granular permission definitions by Chrome, and is not the fault of the presumably well-intentioned extension authors. But it freaks me out a little bit (bad things have happened).

Luckily, we can achieve the same effect by writing our own proxy auto-configuration file. …”

Archivists Are Trying To Save Sci-Hub

“Now, people are trying to rescue the site before it’s wiped off the web for good. A collection of data-hoarding redditors have banned together to personally torent each of the 85 million articles currently housed within Sci-Hub’s walls. Ultimately, their goal is to make a fully open-source library that anyone can access, but nobody can take down….”

Apple provided FBI with data on Sci-Hub founder

“A woman who has in the past been described as “the spiritual successor to Aaron Swartz” – who was a US web pioneer hounded to suicide by US prosecutors for making academic research available to everyone – has now learned the FBI is investigating her….

Elbakyan included a screenshot of the conveniently “no-reply” email in her tweet, where Apple informed her that it in February 2019 received a request from the FBI for data pertaining to her account, and that the nature of the request was such that it only allowed the tech giant to notify the user with delay.

Apple also told Elbakyan that the requested data had been handed over, and washed its hands off the whole thing by advising the programmer that if she wanted to know more about the request and what kind of information the FBI wanted – she should talk to the FBI….”