They try to make it seem like they do so much to push knowledge forward - but they take the paper you wrote in MSWord, take credit for the peer-review, then make it into a PDF and ask for your money.
The internet is going to destroy them and they are running scared. How long can you sustain a business that relies on paywalling PDF files?
Reproduction costs are irrelevant to scholastic publishing. A technical solution to reproduction won't change anything.
Scholastic publishers make money through their monopoly on the legitimate use of articles and books. The question is more like "how long can you sustain a business that relies on the law?". And the answer is probably: a long time.
Of course, this is upsetting only on a personal level, but the entire process is extremely toxic to learning.
I wanted to see for myself, but it would cost me $45 each for these two 5-page papers that were 50-years-old. Luckily, I have a relative who is a Professor and she got me the papers, which I then directly quoted in the thread to show Carson was quoting the papers verbatim.
My relative responded by claiming I was lying. With dozens of friends and family members munching popcorn and watching our debate, the only thing I could to to defend myself was to post the papers online illegally in my defense.
I won the debate (or at least was able to walk away from it knowing nothing would convince my opponent), but in the process of researching this subject, I have found dozens of publications making the same false claims about Carson and her legacy. With few readers being able to fact-check the claims by simply having access to two 5-page 50-year-old papers the debate is complete he-said/she-said.
I fully support this civil disobedience. Defending the name of a historical figure is one thing, but when people can't get access to health research, it endangers lives.
Given that this data tends to be locked in the methodology section, which is quick to check if I have access, I tend to outright reject the paper as I cannot trust any claims made in the abstract. Even worse are when there are papers you cannot trust at all because of overt biases of their authors (unless the findings are produced by others who do not share those biases, normally if you get people on both sides of some issue reaching the same finding you can be more confident in the results).
In my situation, I've never reached anywhere near that point. All my works are available for donwload as PDFs, and even if they weren't, my research group keeps a repository where we can re-download/point/email anyone who asks for them.
We haven't published in IEEE journals (yet), but as of our countrys law, we are the authors, and we hold rights to our work (for example, distribution) as we see fit. As a matter of fact, per a "new" law (it's a few years old, but it's becoming effective now), we have to keep that institutional repository I mentioned earlier.
My question is: how is your situation, and how were you forced into this ridicule thing of having to pay for your own work?!
As for your questions:
1. There are publishers which require you to relinquish all your rights to distribution, copying etc.. In other words, they basically own every right to the final work. This is usually circumvented by just distributing the latest draft for free. IIRC, one of our papers was published in such a journal. We did receive a copy of the journal, which I obviously don't have, it's in our lab's library.
2. For the others, there's no way for me to say "oh, hi, I'm this paper's author, can I please have a copy?", and in at least one case, we didn't receive a copy of the journal it was published in. Some publishers are nice and give you a pre-print PDF of the article, so that you can actually substantiate your claim that you published it if your institution requires more detailed bookkeeping. But many skip straight to giving you the middle finger and telling you how you can buy the journal if you want it.
I'm hesitant to give publishers' names because this was long enough ago that a) my memory is a little foggy and b) things I say may no longer apply.
So basically, at this point, neither me, nor my former colleagues have physical copies of the journals themselves. I didn't care enough to save the PDFs (nor am I likely to care soon -- that's why I only find it funny in a moderately annoying way), and my former colleagues aren't allowed to send me the final articles in PDF format, either, at least under the paper equivalent of EULA.
I ask only because I thought people who study these things are more likely to say they research "electrical engineering" (if they want to be general and applied), or "condensed matter physics" or maybe "materials science".
I'm really just curious about the relevant terminology / sociology of academia.
We were doing research on simulation and model extraction techniques for passive structures in very high-frequency (think 30 GHz) integrated circuits. At these frequencies, the lumped-element approximations break down, so you can't describe the functioning of passive devices in the familiar manner, based on Kirchhof's equations et co.. That means SPICE-family tools can't give you proper results anymore, and you kind of need them to design the circuit.
The "proper" way to do it is full-wave simulation; unfortunately -- especially for very wide-band devices -- that's computationally very costly (simulating the behaviour of the device at a specific frequency isn't very cheap on its own, but we're talking about simulating it for a whole range of frequencies, which could span tens of GHz). You could plug those results into SPICE, of course, but running these simulations took hours, sometimes even days, for a single run, which is completely impractical. It's also not the level you want to work at when designing circuits -- where you're solving "circuit problems", not "field problems".
So what we were trying to do was:
a) Figure out how to make the simulations faster and more accurate, and
b) Figure out how to extract a model from them, i.e. an equivalent circuit, which could be readily used by the design engineers.
We did that through a combination of things like running as few simulations as possible and extrapolating, running simulations in parallel and so on. It wasn't some major scientific breakthrough, but then again, I worked there during my 3rd and 4th year of university; it was the most difficult kind of work I'd done until that point.
a) Authors need to be published in certain journals to have their work read by their peers, and gain credibility.
b) Academic journals (Elsevier, etc.) require you to hand over the rights to the paper to them.
b) As I understand, in my country it's impossible for an author to loose rights over his own work. However, I'm not a lawyer and can't give more specific details.
The fact that Snowden's leaks were made possible by insecurity, and now seemingly everyone is against insecurity, is ironic enough that it makes me wonder if that was really the intent all along...
Do you mean by suppressing the action before it occurs? I thought that one of the points of civil disobedience was to get caught, so as to increase visibility of the problem and become a catalyst for change.
Things that should by any right be a civil case or misdemeanor are instead charged as multiple overlapping felonies in order to coerce a plea bargain, which is effective to deter all but the most dedicated from demanding their day in court. Then the court won't allow you to make the case for jury nullification or any other argument that the law is wrong to the jury, and prosecutors will be allowed to exclude anyone from the jury who is sympathetic to the idea that juries shouldn't convict when they don't agree with the law.
You can only make the case that the law is wrong to the judge, and no matter how stupid the law is the judge can only agree with you if it violates the constitution. Which plenty of very, very stupid laws clearly don't, so you become a convicted felon without having had an opportunity to make your case to anyone with the power to do anything about it.
In theory the outrageous nature of that process should inspire the public to demand change, but have we passed Aaron's Law yet? 
However, people are generally fat and happy. A surveillance state in wall-e's world just does not mean the same thing without the downtrodden masses which have fueled past revolutions.
Well, yes. It's not a judge's job to strike down bad law. We're already too close to a system where the judiciary acts as a super-legislature.
>At the same time there is reason to think that Gandhi, who after all was born in 1869, did not understand the nature of totalitarianism and saw everything in terms of his own struggle against the British government. The important point here is not so much that the British treated him forbearingly as that he was always able to command publicity. As can be seen from the phrase quoted above, he believed in “arousing the world”, which is only possible if the world gets a chance to hear what you are doing. It is difficult to see how Gandhi's methods could be applied in a country where opponents of the regime disappear in the middle of the night and are never heard of again. Without a free press and the right of assembly, it is impossible not merely to appeal to outside opinion, but to bring a mass movement into being, or even to make your intentions known to your adversary. Is there a Gandhi in Russia at this moment? And if there is, what is he accomplishing? The Russian masses could only practise civil disobedience if the same idea happened to occur to all of them simultaneously, and even then, to judge by the history of the Ukraine famine, it would make no difference.
Reflections on Gandhi
It becomes much harder when the oppressors can use a small and dedicated mobile murder-force.
The most worrisome example of today is China, which has an iron grip on the spread of ideas within the country. If China deemed Sci-Hub to be an issue, they would shut it down (via DNS poisoning) and incarcerate anybody who spoke in its favor.
It doesn't work in practice. Indeed, having more laws to help enforce basic laws would seem absurd, if the practice of lawgiving was in principle wrong. But lessening law would seem absurd, if avoiding lawlessness was the idea in the first place.
I hope this increased publicity won't lead to shutting down the site or freeze its paypal account.
Edit: not sure if the commenter is her, but she's done amazing work regardless.
The whole publishing scam is not about giving (or restricting) access from research to peons, it is to justify sucking the money of public institutions.
When the situation sucks for people, they get motivated to try to change the system. It is already hard enough for people to try to change things, because research is hard enough, and then if you start to refuse publishing in unethical journals the next idiot is going to do it as well as you would.
Comparatively, many people are for the status quo regarding copyright in general because they know very well that piracy is an option. At a RMS talk, the (university!) crowd mostly unanimously cheered when he said "yes piracy" and booed when he said "... thus we have to change copyright". He was then asked "but what if hollywood disappeared with the change?".
What if they did?
It's the lie of all middle-men that they are necessary to the process. Composers didn't stop writing music when the concept of a noble benefactor died: the business model changed. Architects didn't stop building beautiful buildings because religions couldn't afford giant churches and kings stopped building palaces. Movies will continue to be made if Hollywood dies, and if history is any indicator, the art form will develop more rapidly once it's no longer hampered by outdated business models.
Source: My partner is a librarian at a smaller university, this happens every few months and they lose access to major online platforms for days if not longer every time.
There clearly is blame put on the proxies
> it [the proxy] is a major headache that can get the whole university locked out
Whether either the practice of lock out should be blamed for immoral licensing or the proxy servers blamed for immoral illicit access, is not properly explained here.
Just because you think in categories of 'blame' doesn't mean everyone else does.
For some people there is a difference between causality and guilt.
edit: oh http://libgen.io/scimag/repository_torrent_notforall/
New torrents seem to be appearing at the rate of 14 per month = 700GB/month = 2.7Mbit/s. For the majority of people, I'd say it is beyond any one person being able to mirror the lot.
It seems like an application for a Freenet type system, but one where the files are guaranteed to never be deleted, even if they are rarely accessed.
If someone wants to donate IT skills and coding time (this is a thing that I've read several times in HN), perhaps it would be great that someone puts together a system that takes a PDF, OCRs it when necessary, detects images and graphs, and uses all of that to create a light version of the document (html/latex/markdown/whatever); and then puts all of those TB through that tool.
The reduction in storage and network costs might be a lot more than a standard donation!
With all the pieces locked up, it is difficult if not impossible to do such science and statistical analysis. In other words, it is antithetical to the nature of science.
I didn't see/read enough to confirm this, in Schwartz's case. Nonetheless, I think the idea and the opinion are valid.
You might, for example, look at trends in the use of a given scientific instrument, or with a bit of NP, when the field switched from using "computer" to mean a machine instead of a person.
It was an eye-opener to see how gendered the scientific papers were in the 1960s, where the scientist is invariably a "he" and the secretary/typist is a "she". Some simple questions I have are: how have those trends changed over time? Is it different for different subfields?
It's impossible to do that on my own when the papers cost even $1 per copy.
It would require extraction of meaningful data, be therein lies the rub. There are several large projects looking into collecting/sharing scientific data, mainly focusing on persuading and empowering researchers to share their full data sets.
But what can we do where the raw data is not available? Is anyone working on ways to reliably extract data from the millions of PDFs in research databases?
There are several open-ended questions here. If anyone knows of work in these areas, or is interested in this, I'd be very keen to talk.
Anyways, thank you very much for sharing.
As someone who works at the edge of biology, I have noted that the publishing business reviews the papers get knowledgeable peer-reviewers(pressed for time) and then ask difficult questions of the authors. Some papers aren't good enough, they get rejected. This culling has some value, much as it irritates the scientists.
Scientists are always trying to get their work published/sited and ranking journals is something that happens with some regularity http://www.citefactor.org/journal-impact-factor-list-2014_0-...
Of course, want to download an article on the first genome assembly of drosophila from 15 years ago... $30. (I can access articles like this though my work in academia, if I go though the library and cross my fingers the moon is in the right phase, the the pdf link might show up).
Holding knowledge and parsing it out for profits is somewhat suspect.
Note that anything US government NIH funded since 2005 is required to have access.
for example. This paper, published by a coworker in an official "journal" but still available for free via pubmed.
I get the "joy" of uploading lots of data from screens to the us goverment pubchem website. I'm not sure anyone downloads it, but its there. They have an interesting embargo system which holds the data till publication (I've never used that, some people really care about that stuff)
Researchers in academia also pass around papers. The peer reviewers do to, if they find something interesting. We've gotten requests for data from unpublished papers.
I've found another way to get access is to simply email the author of a paper. Of course, this mostly only works for those still enrolled at the academic institution where the research took place, but I've had good luck with it.
To those who are not financially struggling: Why do you pirate? What is your moral justification?
I believe that copyright is immoral, hence "piracy", for me, requires no further moral justification.
Copyright is a racket, established by rent-seeking, mostly unproductive but powerful individuals/corporations. It's a cartel/monopoly that discourages market competition, one of the most important inventions in history. The only connection between copyright and theft that I see is that by extending copyright retroactively, politicians (and their corporate sponsors) are stealing from the public domain. most importantly, copyright does little-to-nothing to encourage creativity and likely even prevents it. I see it as an obstacle to progress.
I wouldn't necessarily oppose a limited copyright term (14-20 years seems plenty), but I completely oppose the current regime. However, I still often pay for media (after having pirated it and confirmed its value) to support the author(s).
One of those rights is to sell it to big unproductive but powerful individuals/corporations.
I pirate too, but I respect the ultimate creator's right.
There is an implicit acceptance of the current copyright system and the laws regarding copyright as it stands, in your comment.
Look at the big picture, we have created a society that thrives on imposing artificial restrictions on everyone and the only people who benefit from it are big corporations.
By giving complete rights over the invention to the inventor or a corporation, we are limiting the potential impact of the invention.
Instead if access to such knowledge is made freely available, the possibilities are endless.
What if Sir Tim Berners-Lee patented the World Wide Web and monetized it?
If this isn't sarcasm I think either interpretation can be easily disproved.
That sounds simple, but it's not.
Imagine this scenario: Disney makes a poster to advertise a Mickey Mouse. They display the poster in public. You (someone with no contractual relationship with Disney) see the poster, and decide to make kids' toys that look like the character in the poster.
How would your principle apply to this situation?
> I pirate too, but I respect the ultimate creator's right.
It may be the creator's right, but it isn't necessarily the creator's will. There are a lot of reasons to publish in particular journals, and restricted access to the published paper isn't necessarily the desired effect, it may just be an unfortunate side effect.
If we're talking just about scientific articles, the need for piracy is obvious; without institutional access to journals, proper research of a subject is ludicrously expensive. In writing a publication, I generally use about 50-100 citations, and yes, you actually have to read them. And for every one that you did use, there are one or two that you didn't. So, simply putting together a manuscript would cost on the order of $5,000-10,000. In actual practice, this is something like a month of searching and reading papers. To sustain that rate is obviously impractical.
This makes those without institutional access completely deprived of useful access to the world's research. It's a terrible, indefensible situation.
I agree that the current journal/paper fee is crazy, but to say that piracy is the "obvious" answer is short-sighted, in my opinion. I very much enjoy the conversation though.
My experience with academia is very limited, but I happily used sci-hub & libgen when I was researching the Hierarchical Fair Service Curve paper.
And then the reviewer says "you should compare this to papers X, Y, and Z", each of which costs $35+ for a non-subscriber to read.
If papers can be accessed for free, then the only expense required to follow cutting edge science is time, and everyone with an internet connection can join in. At $30/paper, suddenly only the rich (or those with rich patrons, such as tenured professors at rich universities) can afford to play.
Researching a topic, it’s easy to skim 100 papers in a couple days, trying to figure out which ones are relevant and which ones aren’t. Paying $3000 just to sort through and find the 5 out of 100 papers which bear closer scrutiny is very expensive, even for someone who isn’t “financially struggling”. (No, the abstracts alone aren’t sufficient for this.)
And it’s not clear that the money is going anywhere useful. The scientists who wrote the papers never make a profit: all the money goes to a couple of rich corporations, who will use the money to further impede scientific progress.
This, a thousand times. Compounded with the problems of research quality and legitimacy that this essay highlights, it's even worse than looking for mere "relevance". Many published papers are outright dross, serving as filler that further increases the power of a $30-$45/paper paywall.
More problematic , the three major publishers are in UK, netherlands and US, which means the rest of the world's scientists donate their science to make these publishers richer.
It's not quite that dire. DeepDyve , which is kind of like Spotify for academic journals, provides online access to 12 million articles from 10000 peer reviewed journals. You can buy access in blocks of 5 articles for $20, or unlimited for $40/month ($30/month if you buy a year at a time). They also have free 5 minute previews so if you are not on one of the unlimited plans you can get some idea if you want to buy a particular article or not.
It's not a great solution, but if you have more time than money, it's a possible alternative.
Most people in academia have neither.
That's different than "no time."
If someone truly has no time to wait a week or two for an ILL request (I'll assume the local public library offers it as a free service) they they have no time to read the paper, no time to carry out research, and no time to write up the research.
How then do they plan on taking on a new project when they have no time?
It's not even close to an alternative.
I don't do research, but from my point of view the issue is pretty much settled, there's no reason to doubt. Current publisher are just plain wrong and don't deserve people to feel bad over them.
The stand I take with Scientific Papers is much different - these papers are backed by institutions which are commonly tax-payer funded or non-profits. As a citizen, you have already paid for the funding of this research and not being able to access that data doesn't seem fair.
It's like if you paid, before hand, to see a movie created, but never allowed to watch it.
If you're really poor, then as a citizen, you probably haven't. This is a spot where wealth inequality, copyright and culture collide interestingly.
If you are poor a movie or book costs a much larger percentage of your disposable income than someone who is rich. As a society we kind of do have to answer the question of whether poverty should exclude people from culture (or science in this case). So it does become a moral justification. I support the moral right of the starving to steal from the well fed, and count it a moral failing of the well fed that there are permitted to be starving while they luxuriate in their wealth.
But what would I care if some 13 yo kid in a developing nation watches it on the internet? They will never be able to pay for this movie. There is nothing to be made from this.
And, you know, entertainment has value. Sure, my script could be fluff, but maybe i have a disabled kid in it, and this brings a lot of internal growth and strength to some.
It's a tradeoff, and it isn't clear what the answers are (again, IMO). Rights of the creator to control the destiny of their creation vs the rights of humanity. In the US we have decided that libraries are legal, for example. I can read and consume movies endlessly and never pay a cent, legally. Also, I can open a used book and CD store, and resell products. That hurts the economics of the publisher and producer, but is a net gain to humanity (IMO). Publishers don't get a dime of the money from my used book store, yet it is legal because we have determined that in this case the rights of the consumer trump the rights of the publisher. A different nation, or different time, might lead to different decisions. Let's not get too 'judgey' over people that fall in a different place on that spectrum.
OTOH, if there is no way to get paid at all, movies in their current will essentially disappear - essentially no one is going to do a Hollywood type production as a hobby. So, conundrum.
Personally, I will never judge somebody that thirsts for information, can't pay for it, and downloads it instead. There is no harm to the producer other than "I want to control my creation". I recognize that desire, but I personally think there are bigger things in play here that trump that.
Scientific research, on the other hand, is paid for, not by "me", but by "us" - by the pooled tax money of millions of people. I, as an individual, do not have the money to "buy a ticket" to all the research that we, as a group, have paid for.
What really needs to happen is that we, the taxpayers, put pressure on the government to insist that all government-supported research publish the results for free online somewhere.
Publishing in open journals costs significantly more (on the magnitude of thousands per paper) so this plan would likely require significant amounts of additional funding.
Given that there are dozens if not hundreds (possibly thousands) of open journals, many of which are heavily digitally based, well tied with distributed storage, and willing to work with any significant publication – the claim that "this plan would likely require significant amounts of additional funding" doesn't even pass the first smell test.
You don't just get to assert things without support. That's not only not good science, it's terrible argumentation.
It's pretty obvious that there is a revenue stream that disappears when choosing open access over a paid viewing model.. To cover that - when an author publishes a paper and wants to use the open access model, they pay the journal. The costs come from administering peer review.
The true cost of publication is unknown - "Diane Sullenberger, executive editor for Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in Washington DC, says that the journal would need to charge about $3,700 per paper to cover costs if it went open-access. But Philip Campbell, editor-in-chief of Nature, estimates his journal's internal costs at £20,000–30,000 ($30,000–40,000) per paper. Many publishers say they cannot estimate what their per-paper costs are because article publishing is entangled with other activities" - also from .
 - http://www.nature.com/news/open-access-the-true-cost-of-scie...
side note: I fully support open access, but using current publication system and open access would either push some costs on the scientists writing the papers which would be covered by taxpayers in the case of gov-funded research.
Do not conflate that with the more general piracy issue. The way these journals work is basically coercion: scientists are kept in a loop where they have to publish in the traditional journals because that's what gets the funding, and the funding sources use the same system because they (haven't bothered to create another|are afraid to|are lazy). To top it all, university libraries are forced to pay exorbitant annual fees to access the articles that their own staff wrote, corrected and reviewed for free (they even do the pictures for them). And all this is running on taxpayer money, yet the journals don't report to anyone. It's a mad system if you think about it.
Although you make a good point that piracy of one thing may be dissimilar to piracy of another thing, both acts are still considered piracy. That is why I asked a question about generic piracy.
its not free. taxpayers have paid for it (and are not getting it for aforementioned reasons)
So arguably to some measure, taxpayers pay for H-wood productions too... (or for that matter, the products of any corporation which leverages tax giveaways, trade tariffs, or any other government - provided handout). Government $ is taxpayer $.
If I fund my own research, and ask Springer to publish it for me, then why are we forced to make it unrestricted?
Does this rule only apply to journal articles, or does it also apply to books on a research topic?
Edit: The parent's reply was "yes" when I replied.
Edit2: I am unsure which "free" you are referring to. Maybe all knowledge should be "libre", but I hesitate to say all knowledge should be "gratis".
I believe it actually is, morally speaking, but it's just not a very good one in this example.
"In the face of multinational, highly profitable corporations citing mere copyright when human rights (“Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.”) are at stake, civil disobedience of the kind Sci-Hub is a great example of, becomes a societal imperative."
I agree, papers should be cheaper, but should they be universally free via sci-hub... I dunno.
Suppose something is funded by US taxes. It could be harder to restrict access to only citizens than to make it available to the world. For example, should a US citizen who is overseas (eg, on a 6 month sabbatical) be able to access the system?
Or it could be that only downloads from the geographic US are allowed, but further distribution is not prohibited.
Consider an existing journal article written by a US government employees. That work is in the public domain. It is not possible to infringe on the copyright ("pirate") the paper because there is no copyright protection, and in the US there is no "sweat-of-the-brow" protection for non-creative additions like OCR'ed text added to the PDF.
I think it would be an excellent test case to take all of the papers from sci-hub, extract those where the author is a government employee, and have a "public domain sci-hub" version containing only public domain articles.
The lawyer bill would be rather high, so I'm not going to do it. You would likely also have to show that you were actively filtering out papers which weren't in the public domain, and of course reply to DMCA. I can't figure out a business model which would support that. Still, I think YouTube and similar sites show that such a site is not fundamentally illegal.
Did you read the article?
Publishers are the ones doing the stealing (yes stealing not piracy, because piracy at least leaves the original accessible).
There is no direct effect of piracy on the author of a work. There is no physical carrier particle for piracy, and no sense organ for "being pirated"; pain receptors do not immediately fire. The indirect effects may include decreased numbers of purchases of copies of that work, unauthorized derivative works being created, people experiencing the work that would not have been able to otherwise, and so on. It is not obvious to me that the net sum of these is negative (or positive, for that matter), so the question becomes: why do I think it's permissible to expose the author of a work to these indirect effects?
We need a moral understanding of the world to answer this question. Traditionally we start with notions like property and autonomy: you can't take someone's stuff, and you can't force someone to do something, or manipulate their body without their consent. However, a piece of data is not property; it's an idea. This is evident when we look at simple data, such as the numbers 0, 1, or 2. They're mathematical concepts. Then we can look at bigger numbers, such as the AACS key, 13,256,278,887,989,457,651,018,865,901,401,704,640. Any cutoff at which we might decide numbers stop being ideas and start being something else (such as property) would be utterly arbitrary, and the goal of our morality is to be just, not arbitrary. Thus, if we want to make it impermissible to pirate files, we have to make it permissibile to censor ideas. Western society generally has come to consensus that censorship is impermissible except, some hold, in cases involving deep physical or emotional harm or suffering, such as child abuse. It seems clear that the indirect effects of piracy do not fall into this category, so these objectors need not be concerned. The real worst-case indirect effect is destitution (starving on the street), and Western morality does not compel one to prevent destitution. You can even look at the notion of "competition" in the market as encouraging one to indirectly work toward the destitution of our competitors, and view piracy as a competitor in the market for copies of the work. Even for those who truly consider it unacceptable to let someone go destitute (who might also argue the immorality of capitalism), it's possible to engage in piracy while working to prevent eventual destitution of creators through other means.
Traditionally in these arguments one then moves the goalposts from moral permissibility to desirability, saying that "although we consider it technically OK to pirate, mustn't we agree that it's not the optimal behavior?".
For one thing, you've already "lost the argument" by moving the goalposts. But if we look at this as an attempt to, rather than pick a winner for an Internet fight, come to a more comprehensive understanding of the world, it is clear why this question immediately comes to mind. People are worried that we'll starve our artists and musicians and authors and programmers, or have to subsist on what little art, literature, and software we can skim off of independently wealthy authors, crowdfunding, and preorders. They see the creative output of the current world and worry we're going to change circumstances in such a way that makes that level and quality of output impossible.
My answer to this concern is that there's a huge amount of creative work being done right now that is illegal, and operates via happily evading enforcement. Even the portion of this that is legal, protected by "fair use" clauses or licensing agreements not converted into machine-readable form, is often deleted by automated systems which cannot process intent; this happens widely on YouTube. There's another large category of creative work that is simply not done out of fear of breaking copyright laws. This is every TV show that ever failed to win licensing rights, and a bajillion pieces of unwritten software; this is unreleased albums rotting in archives because samples couldn't be cleared to release them. It is not justifiable to short these authors and works, who are being censored now, for the sake of those who wield copyright and censorship as silencing weapons. I do not have the hard numbers (and honestly this is not a numerical question) to say the world would be more musical, literarily richer, or have better software without copyright. If this is a question that can be objectively answered, I can't exclude that its answer may be negative. But I do have an argument that says the only ethical option is for us to move toward inhabiting that world.
Obviously, the loss is kind of abstract for the publisher but it isn't for the small college that spends half or more of its annual acquisition budget on journal subscriptions and is then locked out of what it spent tens or hundreds of thousands on (depending strictly on which publisher locked them out until they can demonstrate that abuse as been shut down.)
Sure, if you're Hardvard or Stanford library, you can play hardball with the publisher and get your access restored immediately but if you're a small institution, someone's week in the library just got ruined to satisfy the platform owner that abuse has been shut down... For now. It really hurts the small institutions who can least afford it.
Your comparison implies that the "rich" pirate eventually pays.
1. Paying for information is immoral. You don't want to make withholding information from you profitable for people. You don't want to encourage this kind of behavior.
2. When I wan't to play a game or watch a movie I want to do just that. I don't want to play "decide if the thing's worth the price". It's tiresome and unnecessary.
3. In most cases I wouldn't want to consume the information I'm pirating if my information environment haven't been polluted by advertisement to make me want the thing. You pushed some information on me that I haven't sought without paying me for the use of my brain so I won't pay you for the information you are trying to sell.
4. Some software is priced at levels directed at corporations. Entities whose income levels vastly
exceed their sanity. I'm individual. I can't afford that even if I'm rich for an individual. I still want to check out your software and maybe even use 5% of it's capabilities. I won't restrict myself just because you haven't thought how to satisfy me, neither I'll require that you think about me.
5. I'm a student. You'll get your money from the corporations that will hire me after I learn your software. Isn't that why you push your software in my school?
6. No. I won't play "pick the correct version/licence" so I can get the software as individual, student, scientist, whomever... I won't fill registration form. I'll just pirate the full version. It's easier and I don't want to stumble at artificial barriers.
7. Sharing is caring. I won't withhold the information I have from my friends especially if it effortless to share. I'll happily use information shared by my friends.
8. Business is trying to manufacture morality around copyright. "you wouldn't steal a bear.." and such. Listerine made you think your breath stinks. Flushable wipes people told you flushable wipes are necessary for you and flushable... Enough is enough. They can't be allowed to tamper with definition of theft.
9. Copyright makes lawyers flock to software. Lawyers tax everything they flock to. You should do anything you can to make lawyers move somewhere else or better yet stop being lawyers.
10. Copyright makes creativity very hard. You can't remix things without thinking "Do I have right to do that?" Not many people object to giving credit where credit is due. Many are prevented from acting by unknown, potentially exorbitant price they could pay for creating something that uses thing they took from internet. This kind of poisons creativity for a lot of people.
... I guess I'm out.
Any other creative moral justifications?
Or what are the moral justifications of not pirating software (beyond the obvious, creatives should be rewarded for they creation, and bit more sketchy, investors should get return on their investment)?
What criteria do you default to when defining the "poor" class?
Remember that you assume that being poor allows you to break any moral principle.
Your assumption that I am morally unimpeded because I am poor is wrong though. By assuming too much about me I am glad to see that you understand irony.
In reality, Alexandra is an avid supporter of Putin's regime and a borderline fascist (in the original sense of cooperative state). Last year, when Dynasty non-profit fund (which sponsored thousands of Russian researchers, mostly in natural sciences) got expelled from Russia because of political reasons, she welcomed it because "they were against Putin". Here is my translation of her words :
> [Dynasty] fund is one of the main supporters of "Liberal mission" fund. It supports, develops and advocates "liberal" ideas. In Russian realities it means support of Maidan [Ukrainian revolution], Bolotnaya [location of major protests in Russia in 2012], propaganda against Putin and Russian government.
She hates liberalism and the West in general. To add to the picture, here is what she really thinks about Sci-Hub (context: someone questioned her moral authority) :
> We will fight you not only with bans , I warn you . … I understand why you are so against Sci-Hub - it's one of the projects that Russia can be proud of and this doesn't fit into your narrative of "everything is bad in Russia". And given that I support the government - it turns into a nightmare for people like you.
So yeah, when I see comparisons like
>Actions of civil disobedience like those of Aaron Swartz and Alexandra Elbakyan
it's very hard not to throw up. No, it isn't "civil disobedience"; she is a complete, utter opposite to civil activists like Aaron Swartz. Sci-Hub is born out of indifference to intellectual property, total invulnerability to lawsuits (Alexandra lives in Russia and Kazakhstan, which aren't aren't very fond of cooperating with US institutions) and poverty of Russian scientists. Yet she manages to see it as a "thing Russia can be proud of".
It is very sad that media picks up the accustomed narrative of activist underdog and completely misses the context of her true views. Doing this, journalists both distort reality and miss a very interesting and provocative story of a statist (and probably somewhat mad) woman which found herself in a right position in a right time to get Western media attention.
: «Так, например, фонд Зимина являлся одним из основных спонсоров фонда «Либеральная миссия». Этот фонд поддерживает, развивает и пропагандирует «либеральную» идею. В Российских реалиях это означает поддержку Майдана, Болотной, пропаганду против Путина и Российской власти.»
: «Если потребуется — и не только с помощью банов с вами воевать будем, имейте это ввиду. … Я понимаю, почему вы так против Sci-Hub — ведь это один из проектов, которым может гордиться Россия, и это очень не вписывается в вашу пропаганду о том, как всё в России плохо. А на фоне того, что создатель проекта поддерживает государство — это вообще оборачивается кошмаром для таких, как вы.»
: She bans everyone who even remotely don't support her views in VKontakte Sci-Hub group.
: Yep, it seems like a physical threat in the context. Sorry if I wasn't able to convey it in the translation.
EDIT: formatting, typos
The terms may vary on the transfer of copyright, but in general you are not authorized to self-host a free version of your article. You can sometimes pay the journal a significant amount of money to make it open access to the public.
Some authors, myself included, ignore the agreement and still host free copies.
Now, is this because these authors are exercising their own right to distribute their work, and many other authors don't want to expend that effort? The copyrights don't change after all, so collating these and redistributing could also be the same as sci hub.
It used to be that when you published a paper and transferred copyright, you received a number of copies of the publication for yourself. You could send these out to others who wanted a copy. This was especially important before xerography machines were common, as it was difficult to make your own copies.
Even in the 1990s, an academic researcher might get a postcard asking for a reprint to be sent in the mail.
So research publishing has long had a tradition where the author has a limited right to redistribute copies directly. (To be certain, the publisher made the reprints so this wasn't part of copyright but rather a codified expectation of the author/publisher relationship.)
This tradition was carried over into electronic publication Why? Consider the 1990s and early 2000s when the transition to electronic journals took place, and imagine the authors up in arms for having that distribution ability taken away.
This is why you can get a copy from the author. It's sometimes also formally specified that author may also distribute a copy on a personal or research web page. Sometimes this permission is for the author's final draft version, and not the proof copy used for the publication.
But there wasn't a tradition of sending the paper to a tertiary reprint service.
(Feel free to post other sources if you know of them ;) )
The scientific community should reclaim their intellectual capital.
so how about a service where you publish the paper, but pay for the peer review that grants your paper an accreditation of significance or legitimacy
this current system of peer review to enter our journal to determine legitimacy is prone to too many errors: corporate buy outs, poor standards, peer review is only done once prepublication; and needs a revisit
i'd love an arxiv`like to have for hire peer reviewers with associated reputation, question the significance of a paper that is peer reviewed? Hire your favourite reviewer to take a second look
that said, i think all papers should be open for reading regardless of peer review, the indicator of research should be on review stead access
This puts the power into the hands of the author, who could decide if they want this as part of the open license. Rather than the current robinhood type system.
Does this already exist, anyone seen anything similar?
Not to mention completely non-enforceable. You're forbidding people to say "David et al.  did a work in this area"
So how about if part of the agreement of accessing an open article was that any published work citing it would have to be open too. is that absurd in principle? and is it really non-enforceable?
An offshoot of this would be that anyone who goes on to cite something in a non-open article, could academically be accused of not reading the article their citing, and therefor mis-attributing information. This could lessen there creditability or even be grounds for a specific type of plagiarism.