Pirate journal site could bring publishing to its knees


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A pirate journal service contains over 85 percent of all published academic research usually found behind the paywall of journals, a new study claims.

The ‘sci-hub’ database, set up by Alexandra Elbakyan, a Kazakh national who lives in Russia, is a strong advocate of the Open Access movement in science, which firmly believes all research should be free to read.

“The Open Access is a new and advanced form of scientific communication, which is going to replace outdated subscription models. We stand against unfair gain that publishers collect by creating limits to knowledge distribution”, a statement on its homepage reads.

According to the study by data scientists 6.5K medicine journals are available through the hub, equating to 15 million out of a potential 19 million papers. Coverage of  the most cited journals exceeds 90%.

The website, originally hosted at sci-hub.org, has been ordered by courts to change its domain address and is now on;y available on the dark web.

However one of the world’s largest science publishers, Elsevier, is certainly not going down without a fight. Last month it was awarded $15 million in damages by a US court after it sued the website for copyright infringement. It remains to be seen if the publishing giant will ever receive the money from the pirate site.

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