Archivists Are Trying to Make Sure a ‘Pirate Bay of Science’ Never Goes Down – VICE

“It’s hard to find free and open access to scientific material online. The latest studies and current research huddle behind paywalls unread by those who could benefit. But over the last few years, two sites—Library Genesis and Sci-Hub—have become high-profile, widely used resources for pirating scientific papers.

The problem is that these sites have had a lot of difficulty actually staying online. They have faced both legal challenges and logistical hosting problems that has knocked them offline for long periods of time. But a new project by data hoarders and freedom of information activists hopes to bring some stability to one of the two “Pirate Bays of Science.” …”

 

Publishers Announce a Major New Service to Plug Leakage – The Scholarly Kitchen

“Today, a group of the largest scholarly publishers is announcing a new effort to improve discovery and access, fight piracy, compete with ResearchGate, and position their platforms for an open access ecosystem. Their new “Get Full Text Research” (GetFTR) service will meaningfully improve access for the vast majority of users who discover articles from starting points other than the publisher website. This important development in user experience more importantly provides further evidence that publishers are finally beginning to address digital strategy in an environment of growing leakage that has steadily eroded their ability to monetize the value they create. At the same time, it probably does not yet go far enough to reset the competitive environment….

Publishers have been working on improved discovery and access for several years now. The effort to create RA21 (now SeamlessAccess.org) is helping to overcome one major access stumbling block by making the authorization process smoother. GetFTR, a service that signals to the user whether they will have access to the full-text and then routes them directly to it, is a natural next step. 

Backed by the American Chemical Society, Elsevier, Springer Nature, Taylor & Francis, and Wiley, GetFTR has two components. First, it enables the discovery service to indicate whether the article full text is available to the user before clicking on a link to the publisher page and if so to link directly to it. It requires that a user has disclosed their institutional affiliation through the SeamlessAccess.Org “Where Are You From” service, which in turn stores the affiliation information locally on their browser. The user’s institutional affiliation is sent along with the article DOI to a service which then queries the appropriate publisher to determine whether the individual should be entitled to access the article. This should take place seamlessly in the background as a list of search results is loading. The user will see, in a list of search results, clear information such as a green or red button, on whether they will be able to access the full text of each article prior to clicking on the link to it. A user who then clicks on the link will be taken to their institutional login or directly to the article without any intermediate pages if they are already logged in during the current session. This is a natural next step to improve access by leveraging federated authentication that is being rolled out more broadly in the wake of RA21. If enough subscribing institutions adopt federated authentication and the GetFTR technical implementation is successful it will measurably improve user experience in many cases. 

In a way, however, the second aspect of GetFTR is more significant, because it recognizes that, in the workflow described above, many users are not entitled to access the licensed version. Naturally, a user with entitlements through a subscription will be routed to the version of record. But the service will also provide an alternative for others who do not have licensed access, an alternative that each publisher will be able to determine for itself. Some publishers might choose to provide access to a preprint or a read-only version, perhaps in some cases on some kind of metered basis. I expect publishers will typically enable some alternative version for their content, in which case the vast majority of scholarly content will be freely available through publishers even if it is not open access in terms of licensing. This alternative pathway is a modest technical development but will have far-reaching strategic implications. 

GetFTR is intended to be entirely invisible to the user other than an array of colored buttons indicating that the link will take them to the version of record, an alternative pathway, or (presumably in rare cases) no access at all. Thus, like RA21, the brand name is not intended to face towards users. Digital Science and Elsevier expect to pilot GetFTR in the first quarter of 2020 through their platforms Dimensions, Mendeley, and ReadCube Papers. GetFTR characterizes these kinds of discovery and scholarly collaboration platforms as “integration partners.” Technical details about the service and associated APIs for publishers and integration partners are available online. …

For publishers, this situation is increasingly untenable. Pirate sites include nearly 100% of licensed publisher content. In addition, various kinds of repositories make green versions available and scholarly collaboration networks provide access to tremendous amounts of content as well. But it is not just availability elsewhere that is a concern. The use of SciHub, ResearchGate, and other alternative sources of access has exploded. With usage growing rapidly through these alternatives, the share of usage taking place on the publisher site is declining….”

Unlock Knowledge – Get this Extension for ? Firefox (en-US)

“This add-on currently appends https://whereisscihub.now.sh/ to URLs and redirects to sci-hub and libgen, so you can access journals and books for free from many unethical paywalls.

Our motivation: Guerilla Open Access Manifesto by Aaron Swartz
Information is power. But like all power, there are those who want to keep it for themselves. The world’s entire scientific and cultural heritage, published over centuries in books and journals, is increasingly being digitized and locked up by a handful of private corporations. Want to read the papers featuring the most famous results of the sciences? You’ll need to send enormous amounts to publishers.

There are those struggling to change this. The Open Access Movement has fought valiantly to ensure that scientists do not sign their copyrights away but instead ensure their work is published on the Internet, under terms that allow anyone to access it. But even under the best scenarios, their work will only apply to things published in the future. Everything up until now will have been lost….”

Worldwide inequality in access to full text scientific articles: the example of ophthalmology [PeerJ]

Abstract:  Background

The problem of access to medical information, particularly in low-income countries, has been under discussion for many years. Although a number of developments have occurred in the last decade (e.g., the open access (OA) movement and the website Sci-Hub), everyone agrees that these difficulties still persist very widely, mainly due to the fact that paywalls still limit access to approximately 75% of scholarly documents. In this study, we compare the accessibility of recent full text articles in the field of ophthalmology in 27 established institutions located worldwide.

Methods

A total of 200 references from articles were retrieved using the PubMed database. Each article was individually checked for OA. Full texts of non-OA (i.e., “paywalled articles”) were examined to determine whether they were available using institutional and Hinari access in each institution studied, using “alternative ways” (i.e., PubMed Central, ResearchGate, Google Scholar, and Online Reprint Request), and using the website Sci-Hub.

Results

The number of full texts of “paywalled articles” available using institutional and Hinari access showed strong heterogeneity, scattered between 0% full texts to 94.8% (mean = 46.8%; SD = 31.5; median = 51.3%). We found that complementary use of “alternative ways” and Sci-Hub leads to 95.5% of full text “paywalled articles,” and also divides by 14 the average extra costs needed to obtain all full texts on publishers’ websites using pay-per-view.

Conclusions

The scant number of available full text “paywalled articles” in most institutions studied encourages researchers in the field of ophthalmology to use Sci-Hub to search for scientific information. The scientific community and decision-makers must unite and strengthen their efforts to find solutions to improve access to scientific literature worldwide and avoid an implosion of the scientific publishing model. This study is not an endorsement for using Sci-Hub. The authors, their institutions, and publishers accept no responsibility on behalf of readers.

Pirate website Sci-Hub is making the world’s academic research free to all. But at what cost? | The Star

“Sci-Hub remains a one-woman show. According to Elbakyan, she does all the programming, server configuration as well as communication with users and media on her own. Sci-Hub’s expenses are a few thousand a month, covered by user donations. Payments are in bitcoin only. PayPal shut down her account in 2013 after a complaint from Elsevier about Sci-Hub’s copyright infringement. Donations have dropped off as a result, said Elbakyan. “People send donations to PayPal accounts very actively, unlike bitcoin.” …”

Pirate website Sci-Hub is making the world’s academic research free to all. But at what cost? | The Star

“Sci-Hub remains a one-woman show. According to Elbakyan, she does all the programming, server configuration as well as communication with users and media on her own. Sci-Hub’s expenses are a few thousand a month, covered by user donations. Payments are in bitcoin only. PayPal shut down her account in 2013 after a complaint from Elsevier about Sci-Hub’s copyright infringement. Donations have dropped off as a result, said Elbakyan. “People send donations to PayPal accounts very actively, unlike bitcoin.” …”

Is Scholarly Publishing Like Rock and Roll?

Abstract:  This article uses Alan B. Krueger’s analysis of the music industry in his book Rockonomics: A Backstage Tour of What the Music Industry Can Teach Us About Economics and Life as a lens to consider the structure of scholarly publishing and what could happen to scholarly publishing going forward. Both the music industry and scholarly publishing are facing disruption as their products become digital. Digital content provides opportunities to a create a better product at lower prices and in the music industry this has happened. Scholarly publishing has not yet done so. Similarities and differences between the music industry and scholarly publishing will be considered. Like music, scholarly publishing appears to be a superstar industry. Both music and scholarly publishing are subject to piracy, which threatens revenue, though Napster was a greater disrupter than Sci-Hub seems to be. It also appears that for a variety of reasons market forces are not effective in driving changes in business models and practices in scholarly publishing, at least not at the rate we would expect given the changes in technology. After reviewing similarities and differences, the prospects for the future of scholarly publishing will be considered.

 

On the limitations of recent lawsuits against Sci?Hub, OMICS, ResearchGate, and Georgia State University – Manley – – Learned Publishing – Wiley Online Library

“Key points

 

The 2017 Sci?Hub judgement has, to date, proven unenforceable, and it appears that enforcing the 2019 OMICS judgement will similarly prove challenging.
Business developments and changing expectations over sharing digital content may also undermine the impact of the ongoing cases against ResearchGate and Georgia State University.
Stakeholders should consider these limitations when deciding how to resolve scholarly publishing disputes….”

Elsevier Says It’s Infringing To Link To Sci-Hub; Hypocrite Elsevier Links To Sci-Hub All The Time | Techdirt

“Academic publishing giant Elsevier really, really, really hates Sci-Hub, the site that offers up access to lots of academic research. Elsevier has sued the site directly and tried many times to get it blocked (which, to date, seems to have only helped it get more attention). Last week, Elsevier got all legal-threaty against Citationsy, a site that helps scholars create citations. Elsevier claimed that Citationsy was infringing its copyright by linking to Sci-Hub….

But, here’s the issue: as Martin Paul Eve pointed out, Elsevier, itself, points to Sci-Hub pretty damn often….”