We're bending the rules not to treat the current post as a duplicate, but the community interest seems stronger than usual.
We are a registered non profit, and are actively losing money. Developer costs, of which there are only two. Building costs--I also shovel snow!, marketing costs, hosting costs, and much more. We have the workload where we would benefit from a staff 3 times the size. Currently we are at 12. Years ago we had a fully functional publishing operation too.
But here is the thing. These open access places often are pay to publish. This is built into many grants today. Publishing costs. But not so much in the field I'm in. The social sciences. So sure, the result of that work should be open access. I just cannot help thinking this takes away from what you could be paying one more lab or research assistant.
a lot of these pay walled sites are struggling to survive as library budgets dwindle. Maybe there isn't much room left for the little players. Many are bought up or have folded over the last 20 years.
I'm struggling to think for a good reason to have journals or databases be anything other than a PDF dump, and peer review already happens on other platforms.
So a court in the United States could seize a site just because the plaintiff was based there?
Or because the .org domain registry (PIR) is based in the US?
I got an earful (screenful?) for calling a historical ethnic Russian painter Ukrainian, just because he was born in current-day Ukraine. This all predates the current conflict, and was from someone I'd consider educated, too.
$30 to read a single article is ridiculous anyway and presents a barrier to scientists who don't have, can't afford, or don't want to pay for access. I hope sci-hub stays up and improves for some time.
My previous uni gives access to alumni for life, so I can access journals for free from wherever.
Spain is not very poor, but when I was doing research in Seville, the department simply could not afford subscriptions to most physics journals, so we had to write directly to the authors with mixed success.
How do you think a scientist in Senegal would feel about spending $6,000  for access to a single journal for 5 researchers.
If the per-capita GNI is $1,000 , the equivalent in the US would be for your university to pay $330,000 for 5 people in your department to read _a single_ journal!!
However, if you were fortunate enough to attend a college that does have access, you should take advantage of it.
Research4life only gives access to what the first world thinks the third world should concern itself with. Namely <<leading journals and books in the fields of health, agriculture, environment, and applied sciences>>. I think it's a generous initiative, but it misses the point of open access.
If you're poor and passionate about math, theoretical physics, or some branches of computer science ... then, sorry, these journals are only for the rich kids.
In my uni we had pages-long emails for the lab explaining the different procedures (at least 4, e.g. access with some other proxy, etc) to try to get access to an article before requesting it.
Unfortunately, that great privilege was revoked when I stopped paying tuition (aka graduated).
Huh. Need to check on this, thanks. That said I hope sci-hub succeeds.
Unpaid reviewers (who allegedly agree to work for some 'reputation' — BS, they're anonymous) delegate the actual scientific review to the least busy student of those capable to write a syntactic semblance of a positive review.
And then you're forced to pay $30 to have a chance to finally review it for yourself, as you're the only one interested in quality.
Please pay the reviewers, or everybody (in many applied areas at least) will self-publish in blogs and judge quality on HN votes. Like it has happened with most of software research.
Most reviewers don't want $15 from the author. Quoting http://www.senseaboutscience.org/pages/peer-review-survey-20... :
> Reviewers divided over incentives: Just over half of reviewers think receiving a payment in kind (e.g. subscription) would make them more likely to review; 41% wanted payment for reviewing, but this drops to just 2.5% if the author had to cover the cost. Acknowledgement in the journal is the most popular option.
When does it end? I'm reading papers from the 1960s and '70s - where should I send the $5? Do I adjust for inflation? And how do I send Deutsche Marks to West Germany?
Shouldn't the public have free access?
We paid for them.
Companies with attitudes like Elsevier need to be buried.
I am hoping that the rent-seeking behavior of the science journals can be used as the canonical example of how copyright can harm the common good.
By endorsing and upholding this egregious use of copyright, our elected officials are clearly causing more harm than good, and the perversion of the spirit of copyright, that an author is granted a temporary monopoly so that they might recover some of their investment, portrays this use as indentured servitude at best, and outright theft at its worst.
So while I don't think anyone is really "harmed" because Disney won't release the original Cinderella or employs measures to keep it from being copied. It is very much the case that by creating this barrier to scientific research, a person or group who might change the world in a positive way if they had access, is perhaps even unaware that there is relevant work that they cannot get access to. That is definitely a harm in my opinion.
So I hope that the narrative here, which has been dominated by big media for so long, might get some interjection of a more nuanced understanding of why copyright exists, and how to craft laws that embrace that spirit, rather then the rent-seeking interests of the people who live off the work of others.
Those of us who get information from relatively unfiltered and uncontrolled sources via the Internet have long had a different perspective on copyright than those who don't.
I too hope that big media's control of the conversation is coming to an end - but they won't lose that control without a fight.
Yep they did that, it's called ezproxy.
scihub uses this AFAIK.
Funnily enough, I was just reading an article from the journal SYSTEM (Sciencedirect/Elsevier) yesterday. Very prestigious journal in my field, but it was littered with typos and mistakes - I figured surely it couldn't be the work of the two authors.
There is a larger problem at work, however, of university administration and departments using these sorts of signposts to decide who is worthy. I think both widespread managerialism in unis and a poor funding climate are both at fault.
Say you need to research some scientific algorithm or other, you paid $40 per paper just to do that? There will be 3-5 papers that are must-read, so $120-$200. Then there's another 5-10 papers that are referenced in the former, you might want to check, just for the few paragraphs that are referenced, which may contain crucial elements of the algorithm you are trying to write (often not explained in full in the original papers).
Even if you have that money to spare, wouldn't your research be hampered by the choice you stand whether that one extra paper at $40 is going to be worth the money?
"Piracy" is a very nuanced subject, depending on what/who you are talking about.
I also have a book at a major publisher, with an outrageous price, and when I saw it "pirated" I only felt joy at the fact that more people will get to read it and thus my work is more meaningful. And I also downloaded it myself, because I actually didn't have it in PDF, only in physical form.
Since when have we asked authors permission to add their book to a library? In many places (including the US) if you publish a book it is mandatory to submit it to a library.
As far as I know, libraries in the US purchase their materials like anyone else. They have the right to lend due to the Doctrine of First Sale, because what they lend they legally own.
>In many places (including the US) if you publish a book it is mandatory to submit it to a library.
According to Wikipedia, in the US publishers are required to submit two copies of a published work to the Library of Congress, not to distribute copies to public libraries.
Not in the case we're talking about here. Sci-hub doesn't provide copies of novels. It provides copies of scientific research papers, for which we, the public, have already paid with our tax dollars. The payments to journals are not deals between those publishers and the scientists; they are deals between those publishers and the government, to get us to pay again for something we've already paid for.
The drive isn't cheap though, but tape is still the cheapest media for long-term archival storage.
The projects like sci-hub.io, library.no and libgen are highly commendable. It is no news that the third-world countries are destabilized by war, economic sanctions, e.t.c. perpetuated by the world powers thereby making them re-prioritize (access to) their resources. And it is not surprising that webrtc/p2p related services are often times blocked in the first world institutions with access to articles from those digital libraries. Such technologies/protocols/tools are defined/shaped (at standardization meetings - IETF, W3C, e.t.c.) by big corporations in order to preserve their own product offerings.
Storing research papers behind paywalls is absolutely ridiculous. The law literally prevents the development of science.
Having personally seen people benefit directly(for purposes of research) from this initiative solidifies my whole hearted support for sci-hub.
On the other hand, the articles that this site hosts require payment to access. The journals typically charge $30 / article, or roughly $2,000 / year subscription.
Note that for both the open access or paid journals, researchers do NOT receive any compensation when users download articles. That is, despite the research being mostly paid by taxpayers, a PRIVATE company receives compensation for the work done by the researchers. Not only that, but the researchers have to PAY a publication fee, and that fee is higher if they want to allow open-access.
Whereas, SH/Libgen acquire copies of tens of millions of papers from everyone everywhere everywhen.
It's the difference between a local library and the Library of Congress.
Hope that made it clear.
This website at this stage seems particularly easy to take down as it is a centralized weak link.
Centralized services work great when they are legitimate: Netflix, Spotify, but decentralized work best when they are not legal.
1. The data is stored via lib Gen as torrents (for the PDFs), and a metadata database that is mirrored by hundreds of people.
2. In case of a domain takedown the site can be resurrected at a new domain very quickly - as recently happened when the sci-hub.org domain was taken down after Elsevier sued the Sci-Hub founder.
3. There's an onion site, which can't be disrupted by a centralised domain service.
Very expensive publications, like Nature Biotechnology, should at the very least provide a single download (preferably epub) of each issue.
Um, is there a source for that info? Didn't see it in the referenced article. :)
Where you can perform full text search on all the papers?
Also, isn't this better done over bittorrent?
(2) How do they get access to those papers?
This student card is typically on a public Facebook page and anyone could just use that code and get access to a wealth of journals.
In all seriousness, the act of "sharing the collective knowledge of mankind publicly" isn't morally equivalent to attacking ships and killing people. We should stop using terms that are clearly propaganda created by the film and music industry to try to muddy the waters.
> We should stop using terms that are clearly propaganda
> created by the film and music industry to try to muddy
> the waters.
It is similar to the way groups have reappropriated slurs like “slut,” “nigger,” or “queer."
Then maybe if it became popular these so-called "pirates" could cast off the shame of being tarnished by an image they clearly don't embrace at all.
"Piracy" is a negative term for "sharing of media". I don't see how sharing books between friends is a bad thing. Why is sharing music and movies suddenly "evil"?
Sure, if you have the time and opportunity to check that the certificate renewal has worked properly every 60 days. Once you've written a cron job, of course, to do the renewal.
For someone who's primary task isn't IT that's probably not something they want to worry about or will forget about until people complain that the SSL is broken.
Probably better to throw $ to her to buy a multi-year SSL cert from a vendor.
These sites do want to maintain security, so their users can keep coming back rather than getting copyright strikes or worse fines and getting scared off. That doesn't stop them from putting viruses in the ad banners, but that is not getting their users arrested.
Try a quick survey of the most popular pirate sites and see how many support HTTPS. You might be pleasantly surprised.
My point is that by using HTTPS, these sites have demonstrated a higher level of proficiency with security tools than many more popular mainstream sites. I agree the scammy fake download buttons are a problem though, but that's what ad-blockers are for...
The firewall cannot do deep packet inspection on encrypted connections, since it cannot decrypt the data: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_packet_inspection
For example a firewall would see that you entered Google.com but not what you searched
I don't think this was an egregious title rewrite, but the word "pirate" was becoming the subject of discussion, which a title shouldn't be (and that goes double for extraneous ones).
I totally get that journals are evil, and charging money for research generated with public funds is questionable. It's very frustrating as a small entity needing to view articles, and being asked to cough up $25-50. That said, there are legitimate alternatives (like emailing the corresponding author, or professional society memberships, or alumni library access, or DeepDyve). The linked website is flagrantly violating copyright and that should be cause for concern; not breaking the law is part of every engineering (and professional) ethical code.
-Dr. King, Letter From a Birmingham Jail
Although, many, many push to change the law / restrictions put on scientific research. I can't spend time to google and list all the references. start here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_science#Projects_promotin...
If being a professional means blindly following laws without thinking, I'm happy this place is not just for "professionals".
Furthermore, I am not affiliated with YC and have never been even been to Silicon Valley. I merely use this news/link aggregator because the content and links interest me.
Linking to a site doesn't even mean you are condoning it. Would you really rather the mods censor content like this because they are worried about their reputation? I think that is the day I would stop reading HN.
Those alternatives will not work 99% of the times.
I love the fact that it says pirate site.
Information wants to be free.
Maybe perceptions are completely off base sometimes.
With that said, the site isn't working for me. Pirates better not quit their day jobs.
Surely we are better than this.
One of the earliest lessons I was taught, and I taught my kids, is that if somebody else has something we want and doesn't want to share it, it's not OK to just take it.
More importantly most of the scientists want their research to be read and studied as widely as possible but have their careers to worry about. The journal system is being widely criticised but academics are not in the best position to take action against it.
The dissemination of knowledge, with it's potential for reducing inequality and increasing social mobility, is much more important than the profitability of journal publishers and outweighs the risk of hurt feelings due to a sense of ownership of knowledge (which seems like a fallacy in itself) that anyone involved could possibly have.
How useful would google really be, if you had to contact every author before reading the actual website?
That is why I don't take it away, but copy it instead.
Like the absolute power of a dictator?
Of course this is a hyperbolic example, but the real world is not only black and white and simple rules like that cannot cope with the complexity of it. The question is, where we should draw the line. And many people in here agree, that publicly funded research should be made available to the public at no further costs for the greater good.
If, the king, reserves all the political power to themselves you would not join (and expect your children) to not join in a revolution against them?
If corrupt gov officials & cronies. keep all the food/medical aide for themselves, you would let your family starve, sick child die before stealing what you needed?
My point is your "lesson" is overly simplistic and naive. Reality is much grayer and messier. Some believe what in other contexts would be considered unethical, is morally justified, even morally required when it is needed to combat injustice/other unethical situation. But, sometimes the means do not justify ends. (messy). Why you and your kids need critical thinking more than simplistic platitudes.
First, publishing costs money, even in the digital age. It costs money to comb through submissions and decide which ones are worth pursuing. It costs money to hassle scientists into reviewing the submissions. It costs money to convert every submission into the same format. It costs money to develop and host a website to disseminate the articles. All of these things cost money.
Now, who is going to pay for it? Traditionally these costs were put onto the research institutions in the form of library subscription fees. Open access shifts this burden onto the author, and ideally grants would include that into the budget.
Even if grants include that in their budget (and many don't yet), there's a finite amount of money available for research. Shifting the cost of publishing onto grants will make funding available for actual research even smaller than it is now. In some fields publishing costs are entirely negligible compared to the cost of research, but in others it's not.
Also, open access would mean that you have to have funding in order to publish a paper. As it stands right now you don't actually need funding to do research in certain fields. A math professor at a university can devote some of his spare time to a project over several years and publish a paper on it with no costs at all. This happens all the time, not every paper has funding behind it.
I'm not necessarily arguing against open access, I just think people haven't fully explored the downsides of moving away from our current system.
(Note that your mathematician gets indirect funding by having access to the university library. As a non-academic, I can use the local college library but must pay access fees for some services that are free to staff and students. At a somewhat further away university library, as a visitor I can read journals online but am not permitted to make copies.)
Nor is our "current system", concentrated as it is in the hands of Elsevier (and its 37% profit on revenue), all that old. Most people outside the big publishing companies didn't fully explore the downsides of moving away from the system we had before the 1980s - or at the least, nothing like the ongoing discussions concerning open access.
I think your post has a bit of confusion, because as far as I know, the platforms themselves are not doing the peer review, they're just hosting the content.
The big complaint about these platforms is that the institutions that send out the papers to these platforms do so completely independent of the authors. The platforms do not fund the authors, the institutions do, and for whatever reason, the institutions continue to deal with the platforms.
The platforms themselves are quickly becoming irrelevant. Hosting costs are dropping radically, and the curation methods used by the platforms are very out-dated and more focused on anti-piracy techniques instead of making the information they're hosting accessible. The only reason they're staying relevant is due to the requirement that institutions publish to them, it's not as a result of actual service provided.
The current platforms are a legacy item and they are inhibiting research. Like a lot of old legacy services, at a time they made sense, but more and more they don't.
Taypayers, as it is now. The difference is, with parasitic incumbents gone, the price will fall down massively.