Researcher Illegally Shares Millions Of Science Papers

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  • DManDMan Master of Arts ✭✭✭

    Funny that the article states quite the opposite. Like the guy who shared the articles has been supported with access keys by a lot of other scientists who all think that the online website Elsevier charges way too much for the articles and so on... I don't know how this works but I thought usually the studies get all their funds before the articles get published and now that makes me wonder who gets the money for the papers and what happens with it?


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  • WalterWalter ✭✭✭

    Sounds exactly the same as pirating movies, music, games and all that can be digitized. The person with the copyright has no choice but to change. 


     


    You can try to fight the spread of information but you'll never win. Hell, thousands of secret government documents end up on the internet. You can be sure as hell research papers will too. Yes it can change how much science is done, but it seems much more likely that it will change how publishing is done. Science is not done to pay homage to Elsevier. Besides, they will do fine with a profit margin of almost 40%. 


  • sparefilmssparefilms Post-human Construct ✭✭✭
    edited February 2016


    On an economic level, what kind of incentives for publication occur when the fruits of that labor cannot reclaim the same amount of value they used to? As soon as you make something free of monetary cost, its quality and quantity supplied drops in almost every case.




    Then Mike Isratetel needs to show how a journal charging for access to research papers directly relates to an incentive for scientists to publish their work.


     


    Is he implying that the publishing scientists are receiving monetary incentive to publish their research in a specific journal? That is exactly the opposite of what you want in science. Monetary incentives for scientists to publish creates papers that are written with the emphasis on getting published, not with the emphasis on doing quality science.


     


    Fact is, the scientists never see royalties on their papers. The payment for access to the papers goes to the journal. This is intrinsically different than pirating music or movies, because those creators collect royalties. Since there is no monetary incentive being taken away from the scientists who publish these papers, then there will be no related impact on quality or quantity of publications. The impact rests entirely with the journal, not the content creators.


  • WalterWalter ✭✭✭


     


    Fact is, the scientists never see royalties on their papers. The payment for access to the papers goes to the journal. This is intrinsically different than pirating music or movies, because those creators collect royalties. Since there is no monetary incentive being taken away from the scientists who publish these papers, then there will be no related impact on quality or quantity of publications. The impact rests entirely with the journal, not the content creators.




     


    Good point. 


     


    It's the same in that it is spread just as easily over the internet, but the difference is who benefits/is harmed.

  • Jason HooperJason Hooper ✭✭✭
    edited February 2016

    There is a lot of misinformation in this thread.  Hopefully I can use my experience in academia, and working with publishers over the last couple of decades to make a few points and possible change some uninformed opinions: 


     


    1) Nobody is making money from research periodicals.  The publishers are classification 501c(3).  Most run at a loss and are backed by donors/sponsors.  If you actually subscribe to them, you will see the ads and list of donors that make it possible for them to keep going.  


     


    2) Scientists and researchers do not get paid for their submissions, and most are rejected.  So why do they publish?  Ever heard the phrase "publish or perish?"  Most profs and institutionalized employees have a publication requirement in their contracts.  Without publishing, their contracts do not get renewed.


     


    3)  Most of the funding goes towards the edition and peer-review of the submissions.  This is very tedious work, and people get a little bit of compensation for it.  All said and done, they might get $25/hour USD, but it does come with some notoriety (particularly chief editor) which is good for your resume.  The better the process, the more credible the journal.  Without it, you might as well be reading a printout of reddit.


     


    4) There is very little demand for niche periodicals.


     


    5) You can access just about every periodical for free at your local University.  If they don't have access, try interlibrary loan.  If you want access to these journals, and you don't want to pay the premium subscription price, this is the way you are supposed to access the information.


     


    6) Pirating academic journals is equivalent to stealing from a charity.  You might as well burgle a Red Cross, take as many blood packs as you can carry, drive to your local hospital, and hand them out to people in the emergency room.  That makes you an idiot, not a hero.


     


    On a side note, many studies are published independently, yet you will see them archived in databases like NCBI.  When accessing abstracts from these databases, make sure to look for where the article was published.  If it was not published in a journal, it did not go through the peer-review process.  This process is far from perfect, but it at least allows for commentary and questioning.  Otherwise, it is single direction communication, which is less valuable than collaboration in most cases.


  • edited February 2016

    Putting knowledge behind a paywall is also pretty fucking pathetic for humanity, regardless of how you want to spin it.  I'd love for all patents to be super short termed...say 2 years.  Make the money fast, or not...then released into the human pool.


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  • sparefilmssparefilms Post-human Construct ✭✭✭


    6) Pirating academic journals is equivalent to stealing from a charity.  You might as well burgle a Red Cross, take as many blood packs as you can carry, drive to your local hospital, and hand them out to people in the emergency room.  That makes you an idiot, not a hero.




    To be fair, she was a student at Kazakhstan university. Entirely different economic status compared to students at American universities. Following your analogy, demanding she pay for access to research papers is akin to demanding that impoverished people pay for the Red Cross to help them.


     


     




    5) You can access just about every periodical for free at your local University.  If they don't have access, try interlibrary loan.  If you want access to these journals, and you don't want to pay the premium subscription price, this is the way you are supposed to access the information.




    Sci-hub originated in developing countries with incredibly low GDP, not affluent countries where the universities include access to research papers in your tuition and fees. In the sci-hub article on TorrentFreak she states that she did not have university access to any research papers. She points out that this is not just a student issue, and that university researchers in developing countries also lack access.


  • That is an outright lie.  Texas A&M subscribes to most of the major journals.  Upon request, they will scan it and send it to another library and this service is available world wide.  You just have to ask for it.  This is quite different then ripping it off *and* distributing it across the internet.  It wasn't hers to give away.  In any case disparagement does not justify thievery.  


     




    To be fair, she was a student at Kazakhstan university. Entirely different economic status compared to students at American universities. Following your analogy, demanding she pay for access to research papers is akin to demanding that impoverished people pay for the Red Cross to help them.


     


     


    Sci-hub originated in developing countries with incredibly low GDP, not affluent countries where the universities include access to research papers in your tuition and fees. In the sci-hub article on TorrentFreak she states that she did not have university access to any research papers. She points out that this is not just a student issue, and that university researchers in developing countries also lack access.



  • Education costs money.  "Free education" is provided by tax dollars.  It is provided by the state because an uneducated population cannot support democracy.


     


    I've been to Kazakhstan.  There are educated people there - people who chose not to smoke and drink their money away and complain because their universities are bad.  Even on the most modest salary, people manage to buy what they want.  They complain because they have to pay for subscriptions, yet they spend 120 euro on a cell phone bill.  That's where their priorities lie.  They can play the victim all they want, but its not going to get them anywhere.


     




    Putting knowledge behind a paywall is also pretty fucking pathetic for humanity, regardless of how you want to spin it.  I'd love for all patents to be super short termed...say 2 years.  Make the money fast, or not...then released into the human pool.



  • sparefilmssparefilms Post-human Construct ✭✭✭
    edited February 2016

    I think your quotes between those two posts got jumbled up.


  • sparefilmssparefilms Post-human Construct ✭✭✭
    edited February 2016


    That is an outright lie.  Texas A&M subscribes to most of the major journals.  Upon request, they will scan it and send it to another library and this service is available world wide.  You just have to ask for it.  This is quite different then ripping it off *and* distributing it across the internet.  It wasn't hers to give away.  In any case disparagement does not justify thievery.  




    Texas A&M is an American university. The policies of Texas A&M tell us nothing about the access available at Kazakhstan university. There is an inordinate level of socioeconomic difference between Texas and Kazakhstan.


     


    I didn't lie about anything. Here's her statement:


    https://torrentfreak.com/images/sci-hub-reply.pdf


     


     




    I've been to Kazakhstan.  There are educated people there - people who chose not to smoke and drink their money away and complain because their universities are bad.  Even on the most modest salary, people manage to buy what they want.  They complain because they have to pay for subscriptions, yet they spend 120 euro on a cell phone bill.  That's where their priorities lie.  They can play the victim all they want, but its not going to get them anywhere.




    The average citizen's GDP in Kazakhstan is ~$12,950. What is the average Kazakhstan university student's GDP? How much is the average Kazakhstan university tuition? What can the average Kazakhstan university student afford to purchase? What does the creator of sci-hub spend her money on? How do you know she is 'playing the victim'?


     


    The bigger question is can anyone be expected to pay per paper if they cannot get access through their university? Especially from publishers that do not allow mass keyword searching of their database. For a research project that may require citing hundreds or thousands of research papers could you actually expect someone to pay $32 per paper?


     


     


    Her situation is not justification for breaking any international laws, but it is important. It shows a problem in the interaction of Western academia and developing nations. She is raising a case that Elsevier's business practices are violating human rights as put forth by UN charters, and this has serious implications for humanity as a whole.


     


    https://torrentfreak.com/sci-hub-tears-down-academias-illegal-copyright-paywalls-150627/


    https://torrentfreak.com/science-pirate-attacks-elseviers-copyright-monopoly-in-court-150916/


    https://torrentfreak.com/images/sci-hub-reply.pdf


  • sparefilmssparefilms Post-human Construct ✭✭✭
    edited February 2016


    1) Nobody is making money from research periodicals.  The publishers are classification 501c(3).  Most run at a loss and are backed by donors/sponsors.  If you actually subscribe to them, you will see the ads and list of donors that make it possible for them to keep going.  




    I forgot to touch on this point before. Elsevier, which is the academic publishing company filing the lawsuit against sci-hub, does make a profit. They made a revenue of £2.48 billion in 2014. They own the Lancet, Cell, Grey's Anatomy, and Science Direct, among others. They are not running at anything near a loss.


     


    This could actually go along with several of your points, since Elsevier is most definitely not a charity like the Red Cross. 


  • Jason HooperJason Hooper ✭✭✭
    edited February 2016

    If anyone could make 2.48 billion quid a year from publishing, everyone would be getting into the publishing business.  We would see on-line journals springing up every second and Tim Ferriss would own half of them.  You know why you don't see that?  Because it doesn't happen.  Elseiver is owned by RELX Group.  It's a publicly traded company and they are involved in many areas.  They publish a couple of journals (and their various iterations), but they don't make any money from them.  They make a little bit of money from Science Direct, which is a search engine that brokers individual journal articles from other publishers.  Elsevier publishes some pretty expensive medical textbooks, but textbooks are expensive.  People who complain about that don't understand basic economics (nor the used book market).


     


    Interlibrary loan is a lending service that facilitates the exchange of materials between two or more libraries.  Let's say you are a student studying in Kazakhstan and you need an article from a journal that your university does not have.  You just ILL the materials to your library.  A&M lends materials to libraries all over the world.  They even translate it into different languages for free.  You just have to ask them.


     


    I taught at a an international university in a border town for seven years.  The minimum wage in Mexico is $4.68 USD/day.  If they worked every single day, they would earn less than $2000 per year.  I had students in this situation, and they managed to make it to class every day, pay tuition, and get exemplary grades.  They didn't say, "I'm broke and I can't figure out how to use ILL, so I'm just going to take everything here that isn't bolted to the floor."  They worked hard and made it happen.  They are doing something to elevate their quality of life, not just complain about their situation and steal things.


     


    Alexandra Elbakyan could have obtained the articles legally, and for free, but she chose to circumvent the system and bypass the academic channels.  They probably would have left her alone if she wasn't collecting money on top of the illegal distribution.  Gee, I wonder if she completed her degree.


  • sparefilmssparefilms Post-human Construct ✭✭✭
    edited February 2016


    If anyone could make 2.48 billion quid a year from publishing, everyone would be getting into the publishing business.  We would see on-line journals springing up every second and Tim Ferriss would own half of them.  You know why you don't see that?  Because it doesn't happen.  Elseiver is owned by RELX Group.  It's a publicly traded company and they are involved in many areas.  They publish a couple of journals (and their various iterations), but they don't make any money from them.  They make a little bit of money from Science Direct, which is a search engine that brokers individual journal articles from other publishers. 




    Elseiver makes the RELX Group incredible amounts of money from publishing and selling universities access to their journals. Here are the facts, with citations:


    Elsevier employs more than 7,000 people in over 70 offices across 24 countries. The company publishes 2,000 journals and 20,000 books. In 2003 its publishing accounted for 25% of the world market in science, technology, and medical publishing.


    https://www.elsevier.com/about


     


    In 2006, Elsevier accounted for 28% of the revenues of the Reed Elsevier group (₤1.5 billion of ₤5.4B billion). In operating profits, it represented a bigger fraction of 44% (₤395 million of ₤880 million).


    http://reports.investis.com/reports/reed_ar_2006_en/report.php


     


    In 2014, Elsevier's revenue was calculated at Â£2.48 billion, roughly 42.96% of RELIX Group's Â£5.773 billion for that year.


    http://www.relx.com/investorcentre/reports%202007/Documents/2014/relxgroup_ar_2014.pdf


    http://www.relx.com/mediacentre/pressreleases/2015/Documents/reed-elsevier-results-2014-pressrelease.pdf


     


     


    EDIT: Not to mention their subscription fees of up to $14,000-$20,000 per journal, for each university that wants access, and $32 per paper for those without subscriptions. That is a major source of revenue. Elseiver is not alone in this exorbitant pricing either.


    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/aug/29/academic-publishers-murdoch-socialist


  • sparefilmssparefilms Post-human Construct ✭✭✭
    edited February 2016


    Interlibrary loan is a lending service that facilitates the exchange of materials between two or more libraries.  Let's say you are a student studying in Kazakhstan and you need an article from a journal that your university does not have.  You just ILL the materials to your library.  A&M lends materials to libraries all over the world.  They even translate it into different languages for free.  You just have to ask them.




    Kazakhstan has suffered from strict international customs policies that inhibit research papers from easily passing over certain international borders. One example, in 2014 Nazarbayev University finally acquired an alternative to the difficult to orchestrate Interlibrary Loan agreement due to the efforts of Edward Van Gemert and Wisconsin TechSearch. 


     


    On the current Nazarbayev University partnership


    One of the real bright spots of the partnership is [Nazarbayev University’s] use of the Wisconsin TechSearch. They originally wanted to develop an Interlibrary Loan agreement with UW-Madison Libraries, but it’s difficult to get materials in and out of customs internationally, and I didn’t see how that was going to work. We ended up arranging a customer relationship with the Wisconsin TechSearch, which is a document delivery service affiliated with the College of Engineering. They set up an account where they can purchase article delivery and the information they need. Faculty there appreciate and value the service.


     


    They are [also] very interested in continuing to hold [professional] conversations, in fact Leslie Moyo, our Associate University Librarian for Public Services, is setting up teleconferences for our public services staff to speak with one another. Areas of interest include access and user services and institutional repositories and the digital library.


    http://www.library.wisc.edu/news/2014/08/08/edward-van-gemert-visits-kazakhstan/


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