Is Sci-Hub Increasing Visibility of Indian Research Papers? An Analytical Evaluation

Abstract:  Sci-Hub, founded by Alexandra Elbakyan in 2011 in Kazakhstan has, over the years, emerged as a very popular source for researchers to download scientific papers. It is believed that Sci-Hub contains more than 76 million academic articles. However, recently three foreign academic publishers (Elsevier, Wiley and American Chemical Society) have filed a lawsuit against Sci-Hub and LibGen before the Delhi High Court and prayed for complete blocking these websites in India. It is in this context, that this paper attempts to find out how many Indian research papers are available in Sci-Hub and who downloads them. The citation advantage of Indian research papers available on Sci-Hub is analysed, with results confirming that such an advantage do exist. 

The Public Should Have Access to the Surveillance Court’s Opinions

“For decades, a special court—the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, or “FISC”—has issued secret legal opinions authorizing the U.S. government to conduct sweeping programs of electronic surveillance. These opinions have had a profound impact on Americans’ rights to privacy, free expression, and free association. But many of them are entirely hidden from public view….”

Now Is Not The Time For Publishers to Go After Online Libraries: Hachette Book Group, Inc. v. Internet Archive – The Temple 10-Q

“Nothing better promotes the progress of science and the arts than access to knowledge, especially during a global pandemic. COVID-19 has highlighted how our society has changed in the past few decades and how much it needs to change in the decades to come. As schools and workplaces, law firms included, went partially or completely remote, connectivity and access to online resources became more important than ever. It is in this environment that several publishers chose to bring litigation against Internet Archive (IA) in Hachette Book Group, Inc. v. Internet Archive. 

Open Library is a non-profit digital library founded by IA that offers online access to more than 1.3 million books that it has digitized into a PDF format. Operating under the Controlled Digital Lending (CDL) model, Open Library lends out only as many books as it has physical hardcopies of. Essentially, the basis of CDL is that a book must be owned to be loaned.  …”

Researchers avoid preprints when possible, publisher’s survey says

“A recent survey by academic publisher Springer Nature suggests academics strongly prefer to read and cite final versions of journal articles over earlier drafts….

Nearly 1,400 ResearchGate users responded to the survey in early 2020. A majority of survey respondents said when given the choice between an earlier version of a journal article and the final published version of record, they would choose the final version, viewing it as the most credible and authoritative source. When citing an article in their own work, 83 percent of respondents said they preferred to use the version of record over earlier versions….

It is not particularly surprising that academics say they would choose version-of-record articles over preprint versions of the same article, said Jessica Polka, executive director of ASAPbio, a group that advocates for the open publication of STEM research.

In a recent analysis of articles published on preprint servers bioRxiv and medRxiv, Polka and her colleagues found relatively few differences between preprint articles and their final published counterparts….

While staff at Springer Nature have worked over the past two years to increase their collaboration with ResearchGate, staff at several other major academic publishers have actively tried to distance their companies from the site and diminish its role in the research information landscape — an interesting division in approach.

In 2018, publishers including Elsevier and the American Chemical Society formed a group called the Coalition for Responsible Sharing. This group sent thousands of take-down notices to ResearchGate demanding the site remove unauthorized copies of journal articles. Elsevier and ACS have also filed copyright infringement lawsuits against ResearchGate, legal battles that are still working their way through American and German courts….”

A Martyr and a Warrior: Guerilla open access movement and the continuing battle for radical access to scholarly literature

“Anubha will reflect on the arc of the guerilla open access movement, and its turning points such as Aaron Swartz’s prosecution, Libgen’s and Sci-hub’s missions, and more. She will also highlight the movement’s connections and relevance for Indian researchers….

 

 

Arul will be providing an overview of the legal issues involved in the litigation initiated in India by three major publishers against Sci-Hub and Libgen. He will discuss the specific facts of the case and examine whether there are any legitimate grounds for granting a “dynamic injunction” against Sci-Hub ad Libgen. As part of the remarks, he will discuss the factors that a court needs to take into consideration while deciding on an injunction application. During his remarks, he will also touch upon some of the important lessons for the global community from the prosecution of Aaron Swartz in the US and the tragic end of that prosecution.”

#EmpoweringLibraries |

“Borrowing digital books is a lifeline for people who cannot physically access a library. But a new lawsuit by four corporate publishers against the Internet Archive attempts to prevent libraries from lending digital versions of their books or digitizing their collections. The impact on our most vulnerable communities, as well as on our cultural heritage, would be severe. …”

The Monopoly of Journal Subscriptions and the Commodification of Research – The Wire Science

“So the final question is whether the government of India should try to address the basic problem of proprietorship of knowledge, and its subsequent commercialisation, by negotiating for a better deal from journal proprietors for access at less exorbitant fees; or should it examine how to change the law to give proprietary ownership to the creators of the knowledge?

The earlier bulk subscriptions negotiated by Uruguay and Egypt, cost them about Rs 48 per capita, while India currently spends about Rs 12 per capita. For India to arrive at an agreement at the same rate as Uruguay and Egypt would mean an expenditure of roughly Rs 6,500 crore (or $890mn). As it is, in India, public funding for research is scarce and becoming scarcer by the day through market-friendly policies. Changing the law, on the other hand, would either mean modifying existing legal provisions or at least passing legislation with respect to publicly funded research and its products within India as well as free access to such research globally….

Meanwhile, we must be quite clear that Sci-Hub and Library Genesis are providing an enormously useful service to scholars all over the world. It will be a long time before any official agency in India will be able to provide a comparable service. The best we can hope for is that the court cases against them languish for as long as possible as they do for much less laudable causes.”

Poland’s ‘legislation’ of Holocaust history vs. Netherlands’ open-access archive | The Times of Israel

“When historians seek to research what Dutch citizens did during Nazi Germany’s occupation of the Netherlands, they have access to a stack of files that’s taller than the National Mall in Washington, DC.

Twenty years ago, those files of the “Central Archive of Special Jurisdiction” were deposited at the Dutch National Archives in The Hague. Suddenly, 300,000 case files on Dutch citizens suspected of having collaborated with Nazis were made available to everyone….

The climate in the Netherlands differs sharply from an allegedly “research-muzzling” atmosphere in Poland. On February 9, a district court ordered prominent Holocaust historians Jan Grabowski and Barbara Engelking to apologize to a woman who claimed the scholars slandered her deceased uncle….

In Poland, research into the Holocaust has become a lightning rod since the Law and Justice party was elected in 2015. Simultaneously, the digitization of the Netherlands’ “special jurisdiction” archive has helped researchers piece together a diverse mosaic of Dutch citizens’ wartime behavior….

Poland has its own version of the “Central Archive of Special Jurisdiction.” In 1989, files from the communist-era security services became available to the public, including those related to Nazi collaborators….

According to Grabowski, Poland’s “History Laws” are intended to “defend the good name of the Polish nation.” Any claims that Poland bore responsibility for the Holocaust are now criminalized, despite the historian’s documentation that 200,000 Jews were murdered by their Polish neighbors….”

Sci-Hub Case : Founder Elbakyan Takes ‘Fair Dealing’ Defence; Says Academic Journals Exploitative

“Online repository of science articles, Sci-hub, has taken the defence of ‘Fair dealing’ before the Delhi High Court in a suit for injunction filed by publishing houses Elsevier Ltd, Wiley India Pvt. Ltd., and American Chemical Society over alleged copyright infringement. The website’s founder, Alexandra Elbakyan has submitted that the platform is engaged in providing free access to research publications and scientific material, for the benefit of the students and researchers and the consequent benefit of the public….

Thus, it is claimed that the suit is barred by Section 52(1)(a)(i) of the Copyright Act. The provision provides that ‘Private use including research’ of a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work amounts to fair dealing and shall not constitute an infringement of copyright….”