Will Indian researchers lose free access to scientific papers?

“On December 21, 2020, academic publishers Elsevier Ltd, Wily Pvt Ltd, and the American Chemical Society sued websites SciHub and Library Genesis, also known as LibGen, for copyright infringement in the Delhi High Court, demanding that ISP providers permanently block them in India.

These websites are a primary source for researchers in India, making available for free thousands of otherwise paywalled research papers. Because, as SciHub notes, “Research should be free to read.” Having intellectual property restrictions in research throttle access to and flow of knowledge while science can only progress when it’s widely read and debated….

The first hearing occurred on December 24 last year where Elbakyan was told to give an undertaking that she would not upload any new paper on SciHub until the next hearing, which was set for January 6. In January, the undertaking was extended until the next hearing.

On September 5, SciHub published 23,37,229 paywalled research papers which had been held up because of the restriction imposed by the court, with Elbakyan claiming her undertaking had expired. The publishers soon filed an application accusing Elbakyan of contempt of the court’s initial order, and stated that Elbakyan was mistaken to assume the restriction had expired….”

Sci-Hub Celebrates 10 Years Of Existence, With A Record 88 Million Papers Available, And A Call For Funds To Help It Add AI And Go Open Source | Techdirt

“To celebrate ten years offering a large proportion of the world’s academic papers for free — against all the odds, and in the face of repeated legal action — Sci-Hub has launched a funding drive:

Sci-Hub is run fully on donations. Instead of charging for access to information, it creates a common pool of knowledge free for anyone to access.

The donations page says that “In the next few years Sci-Hub is going to dramatically improve”, and lists a number of planned developments. These include a better search engine, a mobile app, and the use of neural networks to extract ideas from papers and make inferences and new hypotheses. Perhaps the most interesting idea is for the software behind Sci-Hub to become open source. The move would address in part a problem discussed by Techdirt back in May: the fact that Sci-Hub is a centralized service, with a single point of failure. Open sourcing the code — and sharing the papers database — would allow multiple mirrors to be set up around the world by different groups, increasing its resilience….”

The ‘Pirate Bay of Science’ Adds 2 Million New Journal Articles

“On September 5, 2011, the Sci-Hub was born. It’s a place where people can find scientific studies that are typically hidden behind expensive paywalls for free. The site is constantly under legal threat and only periodically uploads. On its tenth birthday, it did what it does best. Uploaded paywalled articles to a database where anyone can read them. “In honor of such a round date, two million have been added to the server today, namely 2,337,229 new articles,” neuroscientist turned scientific paper pirate Alexandra Elbakyan said in a blog post announcing the upload….

According to Elbakyan, most of the more than 2 million articles come from Netherlands based publisher Elsevier—which often leads the legal charge against Sci Hub—and international publisher Springer. There’s 398,548 articles about medicine, 184,598 about engineering, 171,929 about chemistry, and 7 dentistry articles….

When it is threatened, its users come together to back up the data. In May of this year, when it looked as if the site may go down, its users rallied to back up its 77 terabytes of data….”

Sci-Hub Celebrates 10 Year Anniversary By Uploading 2.3m New Articles * TorrentFreak

“Over the past decade, Sci-Hub has grown to become a formidable force. From very humble beginnings it today offers a staggering 87.97m research papers and serves up hundreds of thousands of them to visitors every day. These include many thousands of students but also scientist and academics, who regularly add Sci-Hub DOI links to their publications to make learning easier….

Yesterday Sci-Hub celebrated its 10th anniversary with an announcement from Alexandra on her personal Twitter account….

The publishing of more than 2.3m new research papers is perhaps the most fitting way to mark the celebrations but the fact they weren’t published sooner is a sign of how unrelenting legal action has affected the site’s ability to continue its work. In her tweet, Alexandra references a legal action that may yet prove an important milestone in the site’s history….”

Sci-Hub’s legal representation in India a first for the platform: Founder Alexandra Elbakyan

“Sci-Hub founder Alexandra Elbakyan said India has the highest number of users and winning the legal battle here can start a similar trend….

Elbakyan, during a session organised by the Indian National Young Academy of Science, a body of scientists, said that lawyers in India contacted the platform and voluntarily offered legal representation….”

Sci-Hub Pledges Open Source & AI Alongside Crypto Donation Drive * TorrentFreak

“Sci-Hub founder Alexandra Elbakyan has launched a donation drive to ensure the operations and development of the popular academic research platform. For safety reasons, donations can only be made in cryptocurrencies but the pledges include a drive to open source the project and the introduction of artificial intelligence to discover new hypotheses….”

The “Sci-Hub effect” can almost double the citations of research articles, study suggests

“Scientific articles that get downloaded from the scholarly piracy website Sci-Hub tend to receive more citations, according to a new study published in Scientometrics. The number of times an article was downloaded from Sci-Hub also turned out to be a robust predictor of future citations….”

Delhi HC Might Have Killed Intellectual Liberty

“In what may be a landmark case related to copyright law, Delhi HC ordered online article and book repositories Sci-Hub and Libgen to stop uploading material from thousands of journals controlled by Elsevier, Wiley India and American Chemical Society….”

Sci-hub and Alexandra Elbakyan

“Now there is one bright star that rose among the scientific world and scientific community in the  name of Alexandra Elbakyan to fight for the cause of this silent sacrificing community. No  arguments, no requests no email. She simply devised a method to download any scientific papers that  are published free of cost….”

Is the Pirate Queen of Scientific Publishing in Real Trouble This Time?

“The latest lawsuit, filed in India by three academic publishers, including Elsevier, asks the High Court of Delhi to block access to Sci-Hub throughout the country. While the case is pending, the court has instructed Sci-Hub to stop uploading papers to its database. The order is not unusual; what’s surprising is that Elbakyan has complied. She has a history of ignoring legal rulings, and the Indian court has no power over Sci-Hub’s activities in other countries. So why has she chosen, at this moment, to give in?

One reason is that Elbakyan believes she has a shot at winning the case, and her odds might improve if she plays by the rules. “I want the Indian court to finally support free access to science,” she said. If that happened, it would mark a significant victory for Sci-Hub, with reverberations likely beyond India. Victory remains a longshot, but Elbakyan thinks it’s worth the hassle and expense. She didn’t even bother to contest the two lawsuits in the United States….”

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?