Elbow Patches to Eye Patches? Scholarly Practices, Research Literature Access, and Academic Piracy

“Participant criteria: If you meet these criteria and are interested in contributing to a better understanding of research literature acquisition, please consider filling out this consent form and intake survey to be a potential research study participant:

Self-identify as a scholar or researcher (e.g. teach, do research, and/or publish scholarship)
May or may not be affiliated with a higher education institute
Located in the United States or affiliated with an institution in the United States
Have used Sci-Hub, Library Genesis (LibGen), Reddit/Scholar, Twitter (#ICanHazPDF) or some other online space to access research literature that you used (or plan to use) to complete your own research….

The purpose of this study is to illuminate how scholars’ engagement with and acquisition of research literature on academic pirate networks may reflect their conception of their scholarly identity which may include considerations of alienation from, resistance to, or negotiation with demands of the neoliberal academy.

The phenomenographic study will address the following research question:  How do scholars explain their experiences in participating on academic pirate networks?…”

Open access is a case study for boosting research | The Financial Express

“On August 25, the US announced an open access policy to ensure free, immediate and equitable access to federally-funded research. Americans will now have free access to scholarly works, and by 2025, all federal agencies have to implement open access policies to ensure taxpayer-funded research is freely accessible to all citizens. India could follow this path, which may change the country’s higher education landscape and can be a vital tool for achieving SDG goals….

Thus, the price inelasticity of this monopolist market has been taken advantage of by selected commercial corporates (publishers) who do not produce or fund the research but use it as a raw material for commerce. Serial crisis also gave rise to shadow libraries like Library Genesis, Z-Library and Sci-Hub….

Since most research is funded by the government with taxpayers’ money—meaning the citizens indirectly fund it—the citizens therefore have the right to access the research output. OA can improve the verifiability and credibility of research output and taxpayers can also see the impact of the research they have funded….

Recently, India promised a ‘one nation, one subscription’ (ONOS) policy to get subscriptions for all citizens of major research work published globally, a step up from the existing subscription policy through the central library consortium e-ShodhSindhu. ONOS can be a prolific policy but whether it can address the issue of serial crisis is still a question….”

Institute of Network Cultures | Christopher Kelty: The Internet We Could Have Had

“And “openness” today has become boring but essential to the massive economy of social media, which has monetized engagement based on the use of open source software and a sophisticated system of data tracking and transaction processing. Today “openness” is more likely to be experienced as part of the neoliberal managerial borg than it is the more radical liberation of knowledge for the people. Today, libgen and scihub are the open access we could have had. …

There were many who would have liked to make the internet more like the dreams of Ted Nelson or Douglas Engelbart, many who would build the Victorian Web or the Perseus Digital Library of ancient Greek and Roman texts. The internet would be epochal like the printing press and the invention of writing; it was the end of the book, as no shortage of breathless books was paradoxically announced. In the 1990s, we talked about how, once upon a time, the internet was a military project run by ARPA, but now that the National Science Foundation was in charge, it would be instead the culmination of Vannevar Bush’s imagination of the Memex, organizing the world’s knowledge for all to access and navigate, like a vast memory palace. …

But even this capitalism enthusiasm was tempered by the many things the internet still could have been. Even doused in lubricant, it was still an artistic medium, a hive mind, a multiplayer game, a playing field leveller, and a destroyer of old Idols, whether of the market, the university or the government. The internet we could have had was a haven for hackers and activists, legal scholars and (digital) anthropologists, net.artists and music pirates, cultural critics and journalists, meme-makers and Anonymous….”

This Woman Has Done More for Science Than Anyone Else in History. No One’s Giving Her Credit. | by Loudt Darrow | Sep, 2022 | Medium

“The name of Alexandra Elbakyan probably means as much to you as a clipped toenail, but I reckon in a parallel universe, perhaps where Schrödinger’s cat escaped alive and became an affluent cardboard box interior designer or something, Alexandra’s name is synonymous with scientific prowess as much as the “E=mc²” you see printed on t-shirts and coffee mugs.

But not in here though.

Of all the timelines ours must be the darkest, for not only is Alexandra’s name less recognisable than Marilyn Manson without the clown makeup on, she is also being persecuted by the law and facing international multi-million-dollar fines for her revolutionary work….

Sci-Hub equalises the field. It gives science back to the scientists. It makes it accessible no matter which college sweater you wear.

And scientists are grateful for it — only in February of this year, more than 40 million papers were downloaded from India, China, and the US. Papers that are downloaded from Sci-Hub also get their citations doubled; that means more scientists get to read them and build their work upon them.

Sci-Hub may be the pirate bay of science. Not as sexy a contribution as the Special Theory of Relativity or the Laws of Motion. But is no doubt the work that will have the most impact on science as a whole.”

Sci-Hub: The Largest Scientific Papers Library and Alternatives

“Sci-Hub is a library of scientific papers and journals that anyone can access for free. The site contains over 64 million papers from over 24,000 journals, making it one of the largest scientific libraries in the world. Anyone can search for and download papers from Sci-Hub, without needing a subscription or login. This makes it an invaluable resource for students and researchers who would otherwise have difficulty accessing this information. While some publishers have raised concerns about copyright infringement, Sci-Hub provides a valuable service by making knowledge more accessible to everyone.

The best alternative is Library Genesis, which is free. Other great sites and apps similar to Sci-Hub are Z-Library, Project Gutenberg, and Ebook3000.

Sci-Hub alternatives are mainly eBook Libraries but may also be Torrent Search Engines or Paywall Remover Tools….”

Opinion: Open access is not open – The Varsity

“The convenience of accessing open-access science literature for free comes at a cost to the authors themselves. In the case of open-access journals, researchers are required to pay Article Processing Charges (APCs) for publishing their accepted work. Furthermore, as an unnamed senior researcher from North America included in a recent study points out, open access may disadvantage authors in institutions lacking in resources. 

In many instances, researchers cannot access or download their own work or that of their colleagues due to paywall restrictions. The lack of accessibility and control over one’s own copyright material and how it is disseminated is a predicament reminiscent of the reason why Taylor Swift decided to claim ownership for her music by re-recording her old albums. …”

Access to science for junior doctors and neurologists in French-speaking countries: challenges and future perspectives

Abstract:  Background and objectives: Science education developed historically from experimentation science to model theories of cognition. Digitization in medical science brought about new challenges of access to science for education and publishing. The aims of our study are to describe the differences in access to science and scientific publications for junior doctors and neurologists in French-speaking countries, and to identify difficulties and their association with demographic, workplace, social and personal factors. Methods: We performed a thirty-nine-question-survey to define access to science from two major perspectives, scientific education, and scientific publishing. We explored scientific education through demographic data and scientific resources (institutional, online, personal), and evaluated scientific publishing of thesis and articles according to demographic data, number of publications, and difficulties with publishing. Results: Our study identified personal and environmental factors interfering with scientific access, some of which are attributed to junior doctors and neurologists in French-speaking countries as age, gender, ethnicity, income and work and life-balance. A heavier load was observed for African scientists. The main scientific resources used for medical education were Journals 82,9%, Congresses 79,4%, and Sci-Hub 74,5%. Junior scientists are facing major difficulties in writing in science due to linguistic (56,5%), financial (64,7%), scientific (55,3%), and logistic (65,3%) factors. Conclusions: This paper suggests that ethnicity, age, gender, and work-life balance can all impact access to science at different levels. The challenge now is to create digital platforms that modernize medical education and help build bridges for research within diverse scientific communities

Does Open Access Really Increase Impact? A Large-Scale Randomized Analysis

The Open Access Citation Advantage (OACA) has been a major topic of discussion in the literature over the past twenty years. In this paper, we propose a method to constitute a control group to isolate the OACA effect. Thus, we compared citation impact (MNCS) of 2,458,378 publications in fully OA journals to that (weighted MNCS) of a control group of non-OA publications (\#10,310,842). Similarly, we did the same exercise for OA publications in hybrid journals (\#1,024,430) and their control group (\#11,533,001), over the period 2010-2020. The results showed that there is no OACA for publications in fully OA journals, and that there is rather a disadvantage. Conversely, the OACA seems to be a reality in hybrid journals, suggesting that a better accessibility in this context tends to improve the visibility of publications. The lack of OACA for publications in fully OA journals is to be expected, as a great proportion of OA journals are newly created and less attractive to high-impact senior researchers.Another striking result of this paper is the fall of the OACA from 2016. The citation advantage fell from 70% to 9% between 2016 and 2020 (for publications in hybrid journals). We wonder if this fall is linked to the increase in the notoriety of pirate sites (eg Sci-Hub) from 2016. In other words, the democratization of pirate sites instantly cancels the positive effect of OA publication insofar as the question of access to scientific content no longer arises.

Case leaning against Sci-Hub, Delhi HC remarks in hearing

” “I am ready to (issue a) decree and it will not be good for you, it will beagainst you,” the Delhi High Court said to lawyers representing Sci-Hub, an online repository of pirated academic papers, while hearing a lawsuit filed by three publishers of scientific journals and articles – Elsevier, Wiley, and American Chemical Society (ACS) – on May 13.

Sci-Hub’s counsel Nilesh Jain challenged the plaintiffs’ claims that it has a copyright of the material that is hosted on Sci-Hub – a new turn in the case. But Amit Sibal, the counsel for the publishers, pointed out that Sci Hub had not amended their written statement (containing the rebuttal arguments of the parties that have been sued)….”

Sci-Hub, Libgen case needs CCI attention | Deccan Herald

“There are no slam dunk legal provisions that can change the situation. Several creative legal and policy arguments have been proposed – from fair dealing rights, amendments to compulsory licensing provisions to better government funding. The publishers too have very strong arguments to support their case of copyright infringement. The legal battle between the ‘greedy’ publishers and the ‘rouge’ websites has been going on for more than a year. While legal clarity on the copyright front will take its own time, a significant regulator that should take interest in this vital market is the Competition Commission of India (CCI)….”


OASPA Webinar: Shadow Libraries and Access to Knowledge: Origins, Policies, Legality, and Accessibility, May 12, 2pm (BST)

Large segments of the scholarly literature, both from backlist catalogues and new publications, continue to be only accessible behind paywall infrastructures. This poses a challenge to those scholars not affiliated with well funded research institutions, in particular in the Global South, exacerbating extant inequities. At the same time, the often cumbersome user interfaces of paywall-protected platforms continue to prevent efficient usage by researchers who do happen to have access to these materials. As a result, an ecosystem of so-called “shadow libraries” has evolved, developing different strategies to make closed content accessible to a wide scholarly public. Contrary to for example the music and movie industries, the academic publishing industry has been unable to formulate a platform solution that would provide an alternative. This OASPA webinar will address the origins and architecture of these forms of widely used online repositories, their position in relation to Open Access policies, legal aspects in terms of copyright and fair use, and what they can teach us in terms of accessibility. The webinar will be chaired by Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei (punctum books) and we welcome panelists Arul George Scaria (National Law University Delhi), Martin Paul Eve (Birkbeck), Marcell Mars (Memory of the World, Pirate Care) and Balász Bodó (University of Amsterdam). Please join us live for this free webinar and contribute to the discussion and please share within your networks.

Who Owns Scientific Knowledge? | OpenMind Magazine

“When legality trumps ethics it is society’s loss. A court case in India, pitting the upstart pirate websites Sci-Hub and Libgen (Library Genesis) against the global giants of peer-reviewed publishing, should help decide a critical issue: whether scientific information should be available only for a fee, or available free to citizens who are already funding it with their tax money and to the rest of the world….

Piracy is not a moral failure, Liang says; it is a market failure. You can’t stop piracy through legal decisions or technological control. “The only way that you can win over piracy is through market correction.” ”

Exploring Shadow Libraries: What is Sci-Hub? – TechAcute

“Some countries have declared the website to be illegal, while others have not. The issue is further complicated by the fact that many of the articles that are available on Sci-Hub are copyrighted. This means that even if the platform is legal in a particular country, downloading copyrighted materials from them may still be illegal….”