Beyond Sci-Hub: Cyber Challenges for the Scholarly Communications Industry – Against the Grain

“Given recent reporting in the press,1 it seems that the legitimacy and credibility of Sci-Hub is no longer a matter for debate.  However, the challenge of how to address the continuing threat Sci-Hub poses to authors, societies, university presses, and other publishers reliant on the royalties derived from book sales and subscription income remains — and is connected to the much wider challenge of cybercrime….

Collectively, we have a responsibility to safeguard and manage a successful online researcher experience by ensuring institutional and individual access is enabled to high quality, licensed, peer reviewed publications;  that data is protected;  and entitlements from licensed institutions are safeguarded.  For example, publishers and librarians worked together as part of the RA21 initiative, now called seamlessaccess.org, to make access to articles easier for researchers using their institutional logins when they are not on campus.  As this becomes implemented across platforms and publishers, it will also negate the need for researchers to log in each time they move between publishers’ websites. …

One way that our community is looking to address and tackle these issues is through the Scholarly Networks Security Initiative (SNSI). …”

Working together to protect from cyber attacks | Research Information

“Nick Fowler and Steven Inchcoombe introduce SNSI [Scholarly Networks Security Initiative], an initiative to solve the cyber challenges facing the scholarly communications industry

Last year the Washington Post and several other media outlets reported that the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) was investigating pirate website Sci-Hub….

Such activities threaten the scholarly communications ecosystem and the integrity of the academic record. Sci-Hub has no incentive to ensure the accuracy of the research articles being accessed, no incentive to ensure research meets ethical standards, and no incentive to retract or correct if issues arise.

As this issue goes beyond that of the illegal accessing of academic research, publishers cannot tackle it alone. We need to work with librarians, university network security officers and others responsible for cybersecurity in academic institutions which is why a new pan-publisher initiative has recently been set up with the purpose of encouraging exactly that. The Scholarly Networks Security Initiative brings together publishers and institutions to solve cyber challenges threatening the integrity of the scientific record, scholarly systems and the safety of personal data. The group will explore, for example, how the dangers related to Sci-Hub use can be included in information literacy and other library outreach programs….

Ultimately a combination of forces are needed to protect institutions from cyber-attacks and to ensure that researchers are presented with the best possible user experience, safe in the knowledge that the work they are accessing is correct, up to date and properly connected to the scientific record. Awareness of the damage Sci-Hub is inflicting on institutions and academia needs to be increased. Law enforcement efforts to address the site’s illegality need to be supported. And publishers need to continue making their platforms more interactive and interconnected so that our communities can access the research we publish how they want to. We need to demonstrate that Sci-Hub is not only harmful to the research community but that it is also redundant.”