Meet the Robin Hood of Science

Simon Oxenham, Feb 11, 2016
Commentary by Stephen Downes

This is the story of "Sci-Hub, a website that bypasses journal paywalls, illegally providing access to nearly every scientific paper ever published immediately to anyone who wants it." It's the internet's solution to a problem that has existed for many years. "Before Sci-Hub, this problem was solved manually for years! For example, students would go to an online forum where other researchers communicate, and request papers there; other people would respond to the request." The American courts, of course, are more than willing to grant judgements against the service. "Elsevier alleges 'irreparable harm,' based on statutory damages of $750-$150,000 for each pirated work." There are about 48 million papers in SciHub. They'll never collect the money. Meanwhile, "The bird is out of its cage, and if Elsevier still thinks it can put it back, they may well be sorely mistaken." See also this article on SciHub in the Atlantic. SciHub is here.

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