Guerrilla academics and Sci-hub

posted Sep 22, 2016, 10:14 PM by Admin PEMRF   [ updated Sep 22, 2016, 10:14 PM ]

Sci-hub allows users to enter the DOI of any article, and in short order the PDF of the article will generally appear on the screen.

Sci-hub (available at is an indispensable tool for those who attempt pursue any form of academic reading or writing, but do not have ready access to a University library. In fact, Sci-hub works so well that it is also extremely popular among those who do in fact have ready access to University library.

 Sci-hub has attracted a fair bit of attention from large publishers who feel that it is stealing their intellectual property. Given that the price for a reader to download a single article is $30-$45, and given that a writer will at least skim a thousand or more articles while preparing an article, dissertation, thesis or manuscript, the big publishers feel that Sci-hub is depriving them of thousands of dollars of revenue.

The reality, of course, is that the prices set by the publishers bear no relation to any planet inhabited by researchers, particularly the independent sort of researcher that the foundation tends to favor. Researchers simply have to do without, email original authors back and forth, rely on social networks both virtual and real to access the information they need. Even researchers within university settings have to jump through so many hoops to access some of this literature via their own library access that they too have come to rely on Sci-hub.

Sci-hub is necessary because publishers are greedy beyond belief. Arcane access rules for libraries derive from this greed, thereby sending younger academics into the arms of Sci-hub from whence they may never return. Others who attempt to do research outside the embrace of the University have long exchange rings with Sci-hub.

In short Sci-hub is the great equalizer in terms of access to the published literature. As such, Sci-hub deserves support, a tricky thing for a foundation to do but something that individuals can.