Freedom of knowledge and Sci-Hub

If you are a nerdy science type who likes to read academic and or research papers (for fun or for knowledge) you will have seen for a long time now that a lot of the papers get blocked behind a page that asks you to pay for access to the paper. These “paywalls” usually amount to around $30 to see one individual paper. If you are a university student you can get around this if your institution pays the publisher, but for your average person you do not have free access.

Science Paywall

This is very frustrating. Knowledge needs to be openly shared for the human race to advance. The power of shared knowlegde the Internet brings should not be restricted.

SCI-HUB is the latest completely awesome solution (note, may not be truly legal – see wikipedia article for the full history) that gets you access to these paywalled papers.

Here is an example. James Crutchfield’s seminal paper on Video Feedback “Spacetime dynamics in video feedback” is going for $37.95 (assuming after AUD conversion)!

In this case the paper is easily accessible elsewhere as a PDF, but a lot of papers can only be accessed behind a paywall.

If the paper you want is paywalled, take the DOI link, ie this one for the above paper
https://doi.org/10.1016/0167-2789(84)90264-1
and put it into the SCI-HUB search field to get
https://sci-hub.io/https://doi.org/10.1016/0167-2789(84)90264-1

Until the legal battles are fought and won or lost SCI-HUB is a great resource to access knowledge. Remember accessing papers this way does not take away any funds from the original researcher(s). They get nothing if you pay $30 to see a PDF.

Newton Quote

I could go on for pages about the arguments out there. Do some googling on “academic paywalls” to read all the hatred against them. I gave up trying to find a page that said it thought paywalled knowledge was a good idea.

Ever since starting this blog I have always tried to only post positive topics. The old “if you don’t have anything good to say then don’t say anything at all” line. But this topic has and will continue to annoy me past the point of silent indignation.

Jason.

Knowledge must be free

The human species advances from building on prior knowledge and sharing knowledge.

The Internet is amazing for this (in the words of Lisa Simpson “Bart, The Internet is more than a global pornography network!”). Being able to access and search for information on any topic has been invaluable for myself when writing Visions Of Chaos.

But recently (actually not so recently as it has happened for a while now) when trying to access a research paper on a specific subject you get sent to some registration page that gives you a quick abstract overview and then wants $25 to be able to download the paper. This sucks and should be outlawed.

Luckily if you then search on the title of the paper you are after you can usually find a cached copy somewhere, but not always.

There are still good indexes and search engines out there specifically for scientific related papers like CiteSeer which caches copies of the papers in PDF, PS etc. For anyone into research into any science related field CiteSeer is brilliant.

Knowledge needs to be free and accessible by anyone.

Jason.