“We are shocked to learn that three academic publishers — Elsevier, Wiley, and the American Chemical Society (ACS) — have filed a suit in the Delhi High Court on December 21, 2020, seeking a ban on the websites Sci-Hub and LibGen which have made academic research-related information freely available to all. Academic research cannot flourish without the free flow of information between those who produce it and those who seek it, and we strongly oppose the contention of the lawsuit.
International publishers like Elsevier have created a business model where they treat knowledge created by academic research funded by taxpayers’ money as their private property. Those who produce this knowledge — the authors and reviewers of research papers — are not paid and yet these publishers make windfall profit of billions of dollars by selling subscriptions to libraries worldwide at exorbitantly inflated rates which most institutional libraries in India, and even developed countries, cannot afford. Without a subscription, a researcher has to pay between $30 and $50 to download each paper, which most individual Indian researchers cannot afford. Instead of facilitating the flow of research information, these companies are throttling it.
Alexandra Elbakyan of Kazakhstan has taken an effective and widely welcomed step by making research papers, book chapters and similar research-related information freely available through her website Sci-Hub. Libgen (Library Genesis) renders a similar service. We support their initiative which, we contend, does not violate any norm of ethics or intellectual property rights as the research papers are actually intellectual products of the authors and the institutions.
We strongly oppose any form of commoditization of research information that is a hindrance to the development of science and the humanities. In the interest of the advancement of knowledge, Sci-Hub and Libgen should be allowed to operate in India.”