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.
“Just how careful academics should be about using Sci-Hub has become a topic of concern in recent weeks, with many questioning whether sharing links to Sci-Hub could in itself be considered illegal….”
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….”
“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….”
“Sci-Hub (previously) is a scrappy, nonprofit site founded in memory of Aaron Swartz, dedicated to providing global access to the world’s scholarship — journal articles that generally report on publicly-funded research, which rapacious, giant corporations acquire for free, and then charge the very same institutions that paid for the research millions of dollars a year to access.
In a field of giant, corrupt monopolists, Elsevier is still notable for its rapacious conduct, so it’s not surprising to learn that the company has sent a copyright threat to a to Citationsy, a service that helps scholars and others create citations to scientific and scholarly literature, alleging that merely linking to Sci-Hub is a copyright infringement.
Citationsy points out that Elsevier owns one of its competitors, the “very mediocre” Mendeley….”
“Yesterday, I wrote about science publishing profiteer Elsevier’s legal threats against Citationsy, in which the company claimed that the mere act of linking to Sci-Hub (an illegal open-access portal) was itself illegal.
You’ll never guess what happens next.
Elsevier’s own journals turn out to be full of links to Sci-Hub.
It’s also not hard to understand this. You see, the researchers who write the papers that Elsevier publishes are scientists, not private-equity-backed looter/profiteers, so they are more interested in science and scholarship than ensuring that Elsevier continues to rake in billions. And since Elsevier doesn’t pay for any of the work it publishes, it’s hard for them to exert pressure to end this practice….”
“Sci-Hub is a copyright-violating site that provides infringing access to scholarly publications that are behind paywalls. Its ethics are problematic but it’s also proving very difficult to stop.
I learned this morning that the largest scholarly publisher in the world, Elsevier, sent a legal threat to Citationsy for linking to Sci-Hub. There are different jurisdictional views on whether linking to copyright material is or is not a copyright violation.
That said, the more entertaining fact is that scholarly publishers frequently end up linking to Sci-Hub. Here’s one I found on Elsevier’s own ScienceDirect site: …”
“Mindful of privacy issues, I asked a friend in campus IT to take a list of 6 or 7 domains and derive an extract file from the DNS query logs, providing just date, time and query string for anything that matched the domain information I provided. Here’s an excerpt of the result: …
Producing this extract is now part of a weekly cron job so I’ll be able to monitor the relative use of these sites over the coming months. In this one particular instance, I can’t wait for the Fall term to begin…
So what did I find by monitoring DNS queries between July 3rd and July 10th?
The graph shows activity for users on the campus network. A better name for this post might be, “What does local use of ResearchGate look like?”…
Here are the numbers if you include off-campus traffic to subscription sites (DNS resolution happens here since our proxy server is on the campus network):
- Sci-Hub (includes the .tw, .se, and .ren domains): 87
- ResearchGate: 1186
- Springer-Link: 551 (391 on-campus users; 160 via campus proxy server)
- Google Scholar: 977
- ScienceDirect: 1730 (1306 on-campus users; 424 via campus proxy server)
- Engineering Village: 129 (111 on-campus users; 18 via campus proxy server)….”
Abstract: This paper considers Sci-Hub, created by Alexandra Elbakyan, in light of Clayton Christensen’s theory of Jobs to Be Done. Because Sci-Hub is such a good solution to the jobs many people had, but could not accomplish before, it is unlikely that the efforts to shut Sci-Hub down will be successful.
The question of whether — and, if so, to what degree — Sci-Hub and similar pirate portals will lead (or are already leading) libraries to cancel journal subscriptions has been a fraught one for some time, and the debate doesn’t seem likely to settle down anytime soon.
One recent case in point: on the LIBLICENSE listserv last week, librarian and consultant Danny Kingsley made mention of a recent story in the Times Higher Education in which it was argued that universities in Europe are finding it “easier… to ditch their journal subscription contracts because so many articles are now available for free.” Furthermore, the article observed that academic library consortia, in particular, “have in recent years struck a much more assertive line with publishers over cost and open access,” with the result that, for example, “Germany’s consortium is currently without a contract with Elsevier… in part because librarians believe that academics can access free papers through sites such as ResearchGate.”
Kingsley quoted this article with some asperity, describing it as “frustrating,” given that “there is NO causal arrow between material being online somewhere and library subscriptions.” In response, Scholarly Kitchen Chef and consultant Joe Esposito called Danny’s claim “remarkable,” saying that “ResearchGate and Sci-Hub are in the background of every library negotiation with publishers now.”
In the course of agreeing with Kingsley, noted scholarly communication researcher Anthony Watkinson observed that he was “not aware of any research on library decision making processes” — which suggests not so much that there is no causal connection between library subscriptions and free online availability, but rather that we don’t yet know what, if any, causal connection there may be. But some anecdotal evidence in support of Kingsley’s position quickly came in on the list: several librarians chimed in, one of them saying that such considerations “have certainly never been in the background on any negotiations with vendors that I have been involved in,” and another saying that the availability of free or pirated content “does not influence my decision-making and isn’t considered when it comes to subscription renewals.” A third librarian suggested that such considerations are more likely to be “in the back of the minds of every Publisher, rather than in the minds of the Librarians.” Lisa Hinchliffe, a librarian at the University of Illinois and a Scholarly Kitchen Chef, pointed out that while librarians may not specifically assess the availability of free or pirated content when making subscription or cancellation decisions, they certainly do take cost per download into account — and to the degree that any library’s patrons download articles from subscribed journals through platforms like Sci-Hub and ResearchGate rather than from the publisher through the library’s website, that library’s cost per download will go up. (The entire discussion thread may be read here.) …”