back to article Sci-Hub domains inactive following court order

Several domains of the controversial academic paper filesharing site Sci-Hub have been made inactive following a court order earlier this month. According to Whois records, sci-hub.io, sci-hub.ac and sci-hub.cc have their domain set to "serverHold", an ICANN code meaning the "domain is not activated in the DNS". Records for …

  1. frank ly Silver badge
    Happy

    An idea

    They can put them on The Pirate Bay. It's still out there.

    1. ibmalone Silver badge

      Re: An idea

      Haven't used sci-hub (I have UK university journal access so no need), but I think the advantage is supposed to be that it's searchable and that you can request a specific paper you need.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re: I think the advantage is supposed to be ...

    Is this a case where the pirate is offering a better service than the official channel ?

    This is the problem with media piracy generally. Once you've worked out how to get stuff via the unofficial route, you discover:

    1) no geo-blocks

    2) no need for a long-tail subscription

    3) no adverts

    4) no artificially imposed delay (see #1)

    1. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: re: I think the advantage is supposed to be ...

      That's no different to saying that thieves operate a better service than the original manufacturers.

      A stolen washing machine will be cheaper. If they nick it when it's brand-new, it'll be just as good. And likely they'll give you a hand taking it off the back of their truck. Plus when you want another one they likely can just get hold of one on minimal notice. And they'll accept cash.

      Of course they can do some things "better", depending on your definition of better.

      But if someone writes a paper and DOESN'T give it out to the entire world for free, that's their choice. Whoever may have "funded" it.

      Just nicking it, and putting it online doesn't mean that it was unreasonable to ask for money for it in the first place. No different to just giving away your cracked copy of GTA V for free... sure, it's "easier" and more convenient and no product key involved etc. but does that mean it's alright? I don't think it does.

      The problem is - are the authors of these things up in arms at the terms by which their papers are held? I don't see that. And the companies wouldn't be prosecuting and winning such court orders unless there was a commercial impetus to do so from their clients, some of whom produce that same content.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: re: I think the advantage is supposed to be ...

        "That's no different to saying that thieves operate a better service than the original manufacturers."

        The journals get their material written for free, edited for free and refereed for free. Then they sell it back to the sorts of people who wrote, edited and refereed it and, they hope, will write, edit and referee the next issue.

        I'm finding it difficult to decide just where to place the idea of theft here, especially when I see JStor charging for access to stuff I wrote for a very cheaply produced and distributed publication.

      2. israel_hands

        Re: re: I think the advantage is supposed to be ...

        @LeeD

        If anyone can be accused of theft here, it's the publishers who hide behind paywalls. They didn't pay to commission any of the articles they host, most were paid for by research grants which are ultimately (almost always) taxpayer funded.

        Also, as the entire point of publishing scientific papers is so that others can scrutinise/review/refute/reinforce the work, and that a large part of the scientific method requires this in order to build on the work of others and extend our collective knowledge, it appears to me that the publishers are nothing but parasites who are actively getting in the way of collaborative scientific advancement.

        So fuck them, and the horse they rode in on.

      3. ibmalone Silver badge

        Re: re: I think the advantage is supposed to be ...

        Academic publishing throws up some unusual situations for copyright law. It's mostly in the original authors' interests for their work to be freely available, as that increases the potential reward you get (more people using your work and citations). Authors don't get paid for submitting a paper to a journal, in fact they often pay (this is the norm for 'gold' open access, £2000 for some journals, but also occurs for subscription journals, colour pages cost extra :) ). Funders for research, particularly if publicly funded, increasingly require your work to be publicly available, funding bodies now pay an open access fee to publishers that offer that option.

        People publish so others will read the work, this is true of commercial entities too; the company is generally interested in improving their reputation and people wanting to buy their stuff, while the actual author gets something nice for their CV. This is unlike pretty much any other creative industry where copyright is involved; in music, film, gaming, and most other writing (academic book publications being different to journal or review articles) the author's recompense for their work is the money they get paid. Someone might choose to do a freebie (either for a good cause or the "exposure"), but they're sacrificing their income to do it. The situation may be a little different in the arts where researchers may intend to eventually turn a paper into a book chapter, but I'm not sure that's sci-hub's target audience.

        Where the copyright resides is an interesting question. Authors typically have to do a copyright assignment to the journal once a paper is accepted. Yes, you are signing copyright over to the publisher and possibly paying them for the privilege. However, there is usually an exemption for self archiving! So you're allowed to keep a copy of your work, they wont charge you for that. This turns out to be necessary. In the UK for example, the REF, under which university academic output is assessed, will only count papers that have been added your institution's publications database. Usually these can be publicly available, so long as it's the author's proof copy and not with the journal's formatting and (sometimes questionable) proofreading. Even before that became common many academics would have their proof copies available on their websites, and in the sciences you can often find that copy of a particular paper by googling if the journal is pay walled. It's also perfectly fine to contact the author and ask them for a copy of their paper.

        Unfortunately there's not a lot of choice, people get judged by the impact factors of the journals they publish in, and communities grow up around particular journals, which means unless you decide to move as a group you're suddenly out in the cold if you go somewhere else.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: re: I think the advantage is supposed to be ...

          There is also the fact that the bulk of the work that produces these papers is public funded and therefore the property of the public.

          The journals that are getting their knickers in a twist are usually the thieves by a) forcing copyright to be transferred to them and b) charging for public access to public funded work.

          1. JimmyPage Silver badge
            Unhappy

            Re: public funded and therefore the property of the public

            I would hazard a guess you're not British ?

            What a weird notion, that the public have a right to anything.

            I for one marvel, applaud (and most importantly) use NASAs amazing resources under that great US ideal of public money = public access.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: re: People publish so others will read the work

          I'm afraid this is just a surface detail. The real reason is that people publish, because they "have to" publish. In other words - in certain countries (I don't know about the UK), to stay afloat in "academia" (not all academic job, of course), you need to keep publishing (a minimum number of publications per year), to prove you're a "scholar" and comply with regulations. Otherwise, you just lose that job (and status). When you look at it, it's reasonable, but then, it's also madness.

          And then you can't just "publish" on your own home website with 90s clappy emoticons, nosir, it needs to be one of the "established" periodicals. And as the quality of a large volume of publications (thousands of academics, I suppose) is not sufficiently high to make it to the top periodicals (Nature, etc.), they end up "elsewhere".

          (no, I'm not suggesting it's a mega set-up when jstor and others lobbied to become the only legal channel (although I'm sure they lobby, it's their survival after all). I'm just saying a large volume, perhaps a majority of people who publish, don't care a bit whether others read, they just care they get their own, yearly quota of publications to help them stay in academic business.

          Of course, the situation might be more complex than that, i.e. if you have to pay to get published, it wouldn't add up that you spend your own wages on paying publishers to publish you, but I suppose that payment doesn't come from your purse, more like some institutional fund. But there's something definitely fishy about the business of being published, and I gathered from somewhat nervous response to my questions, asked casually, sort of, small talk. Twice, different, mature people reacted in a similar manner, something that reminded me of a boying "show me yours and I'll show you mine".

      4. patrickstar

        Re: re: I think the advantage is supposed to be ...

        I have access to a major university library with subscriptions to basically everything that's on Sci-Hub. I still use Sci-Hub - it's much, much quicker and easier than getting articles from the publishers' sites.

      5. Jack of Shadows Silver badge

        Re: re: I think the advantage is supposed to be ...

        The difference here is that academics are held hostage, in much the same manner as ransomware, by the very academic journals that obtain them tenure, and later promotion up the academic ladder. I got to get quite familiar with the process on the observing end, while my mother was working on her masters and Ph.D. and close up familiarity while I was on a doctoral track. Having to pay a publication to contigently accept one's paper, which is peer-reviewed by fellow academics for free, and then having to pay to make the paper low-cost or free to other academics, well that sticks in my craw here.

        I'm glad for the rise of sites that host papers for free as it allows me to review the works of fellow practitioners, whether we are talking science, engineering, or even the not really sciences social. I'm not the only one who connects two or more papers together, even in widely disparete fields, that puts something extremely new on the table.

        It really helps if you've walked in someone else's shoes, which I don't think you have.

      6. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: re: I think the advantage is supposed to be ...

        If you want your article published in a big name journal you have to sign over copyright to teh publisher, who have done sweet FA in terms of any research

        If you don't sign over copyright then no publication (in that journal).

        With pressure to have lots of citations & "big name" journals getting more prestige / eyeballs then there is pressure on academics to go with big name journal & sign away copyrights.

        Most academics hate the broken system & waste of cash (that could better be spent on equipment, extra staff etc)

        Maybe it needs a bit of making publishers look vile, e.g. some friends of mine work in cancer research (in academia, not big pharma) - every penny spent on journal subscriptions is a penny less on research that might give some people a few extra weeks or months of life.

        Big journal publishers - helping cancer sufferers die faster.

        AC obviously

      7. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: re: I think the advantage is supposed to be ...

        But if someone writes a paper and DOESN'T give it out to the entire world for free, that's their choice.

        As somebody who've written a scientific paper or two in my life, I can assure you that every scientist I know would love everybody and their dog to have all their papers. For free. Anywhere. All the time.

        It is almost unheard of for an author or referee of a scientific paper to be paid for their work. In fact, it is not unusual to end up in a situation where your institution no longer has a subscription for a journal in which you've previously published - so you may very well be paying to get access to the copy of record for your own work.

        However, the harsh reality is that not all means of publication are equal in terms of the exposure your work gets, the weight the community places on your results, and the contribution the publication makes to advancing your career. All of these factors, not just the cost of publishing and retrieving the article, go into the decision of where to publish. If I get exposure, better working conditions, grants, and/or a tenure position by publishing in a glossy magazine - even if it means first paying the publication charges and then making my readers go through a paywall - I would be stupid not to publish there if and when I could.

        Nonetheless, once I've done so, I would still want everybody and their dog to have the paper. So I won't condemn the sci-hub too harshly either.

        Who said scientists always have to be consistent?

      8. bibidibabodibo@yahoo.com

        Re: re: I think the advantage is supposed to be ...

        You have no idea what you are talking about!

        I bet you never have read any scientific papers.

        I have published several papers and I have always wanted to give them to every one for free! actually any scientist would like to make its published worked available for avery one for free! we actually sometimes(when we can afford) pay up to 5000$ to make it free for other to use! (open access)

        it is because my work is only valuable when others read it and the ultimately cite it in their works.

        you know who wins here? publishers. those with the money! if there is a thief here, it it the publisher not lovely Sci-hub!

        wash your mouse with soup and water naive kid!

      9. uncleYstvan

        Re: re: I think the advantage is supposed to be ...

        Your comparison with other products such as a washing machine or a video game is not that good in my opinion as the business of scientific publications is one of a kind.

        Researchers, as myself, write the articles, they do not get paid, quite the contrary, it is quite expensive to publish (few thousand dollars). The review is made by other researchers, for free again. And in most journals, the editors are researchers, who do the job for free, once more.

        In the end, the authors do not have the ownership of the final version of the paper, so they do not have the right to disseminate it (at least not the publisher's version).

        So everybody do the job for free or pay for it and in the end, researchers have to pay once more to read the articles. On the other hand, the publisher get money from ads, authors fees and subscriptions.

        I am not saying it is legally right what Sci-hub does, but I do not find any other business with such a model to compare to.

        In the meantime, it helps science, not business, and I use Sci-hub when I have to.

        Sebastien

      10. jbouv

        Re: re: I think the advantage is supposed to be ...

        I think you are not familiar with the issues of scientific publishing. The authors are effectively "up in arms at the terms by which their papers are held" ― they must pay to get published, otherwise they won't get any fundings.

        Importantly, it scientists are ethically responsible to disseminate the results of their experiments (by the declaration of Helsinki ; <https://goo.gl/Gy4Gqx>). The paywalls prevent this dissemination, so sci-hub's mission is in fact ethically better than that of eslevier and pals.

        This situation is in *no way* comparable to black market consumerism.

      11. HughE

        Re: re: I think the advantage is supposed to be ...

        The thieves in this situation are the publishing houses. They're beneficiaries of a system which allows them to acquire for free the copyright to science that is, in most cases, taxpayer-funded. They don't actually do anything to warrant gaining this copyright, beyond possibly proof reading the paper before publication.

        A scientific paper is written by the researchers who carried out the research, who submit it to a journal for publication. The publisher arranges for the paper to be peer-reviewed by other scientists (who don't charge the publishing house for performing this service). Assuming the paper passes peer review and is accepted for publication, one of the conditions of publication is that the scientists have to sign over the copyright to the publishing house. They don't receive any remuneration for doing this, however scientists are forced to publish papers because that's how scientific research is spread to the outside world, and their career progression (and likelihood of receiving funding for future research) depends on how many papers they've had published. It's a totally broken system, in which publishing houses acquire for free the copyright to publicly funded research, and then charge a fortune to other scientists for seeing the results of that research.

        If you're doing any new research, the first thing you want to do is look at the existing research in that field, which can easily amount to dozens of papers or more. At $36 or thereabouts per paper, the cost quickly adds up. Budding researchers in third world countries and non-funded lay people such as myself are particularly hard hit. It basically shuts us out altogether, unless we can find ways of accessing the papers without paying for them.

    2. A K Stiles

      Re: Is this a case where ...

      It's more a case that the pirate offering is free whilst the legitimate option is readily available but either requires a massively expensive subscription, a somewhat ridiculous one-off payment to access one article, or a massive fee on the part of the author / their institution / research funder to make the paper freely available to the public through the publisher.

      The publishers continue to exist, I suggest, through academic inertia and the general publish or perish review processes in existence up to now - e.g. "These journals have prestigious articles so I should publish there to be considered prestigious too, then I'll get promoted / paid more".

      It really needs the established 'prestigious' academics to stop publishing in and editing the expensive journals and make use of the independent / subject / institution based open access publications that charge nothing or nominal fees to move the perception of prestige away from the existing publisher environment.

  3. Pollik

    Well, the current scientific publishing model isn't working so well...the push to be published skews the the science and not all publishing sites are the same credibility.

    So maybe...in the age of the internet, who actually needs profit driven middlemen (publishers) any more. They just take money out of the system.

    Is it time for academia to collectively make other arrangements to share science?

    1. Quentin North

      Academic institutions are addressing this through Open Access.

      The main issue is that publishers charge for access to work that was often produced at taxpayer expense and at little or no cost to the publisher. If I am a researcher at a university my work will often be paid for by grant funding raised for taxation. In order to get my work published I give it to a publisher who puts it on a website and then charges everyone, including me and my university, to read it.

      OA seeks to fix that, but big publishers who control the market are not playing ball.

      http://www.hefce.ac.uk/rsrch/oa/whatis/

      https://oaspa.org

  4. monty75 Silver badge

    Streisand Effect

    I, for one, have only heard of Sci Hub because of news stories about the takedown attempts.

    1. patrickstar

      Re: Streisand Effect

      To be honest, I don't think it won't lead to any big increase in Sci-Hub's user base.

      The reason being that very close to 100% of all potential users already know about it. It's been a big thing in academia for quite some time now.

      1. FrancasT

        Re: Streisand Effect

        No so. Many potential users do not yet know about sci-hub.

  5. JimmyPage Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Is there any future for science publishing at all ?

    After all, with Trump there, and the Barmy Brexit Brigade here both ignoring science they don't like, who is going to waste years studying anyway ?

  6. Spacedman
    Pirate

    I am leet hacker

    sudo echo "80.82.77.83 sci-hub" >> /etc/hosts

    1. frank ly Silver badge

      Re: I am leet hacker

      They are now on scihub.org. I am leet Googler :)

      1. Mephistro Silver badge

        Re: I am leet hacker (@ Frank Ly)

        "They are now on scihub.org"

        No, that's different stuff. scihub.org contains only a few publications with titles in the format "American Journal of This and That". Inside the page, the last letter in the site name is not a 'b' but a 'ß', as the German 'long s' or whatever it's called. Even with the 'American' monikers, all the content seems to have originated in the Middle East.

        In my opinion, that site is dodgy as Hell!

        What seems to be the real stuff is in sci-hub.bz.*

        Edit:

        * As Mr. Yank Lurker wrote ten hours ago a few comments below this one. :-)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I am leet hacker

        No they ain't. That is a totally different site. (a publisher passing off as a pirate site - oh the irony!)

    2. 2+2=5 Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: I am leet hacker

      > sudo echo "80.82.77.83 sci-hub" >> /etc/hosts

      I've tried but something seems a bit odd. Was that one or two greater than signs?

      1. Mycho Silver badge

        Re: I am leet hacker

        Two greater than signs redirects output to the end of an existing file. One greater than sign redirects output to a new file, overwriting anything already there.

      2. AmenFromMars
        Joke

        Re: I am leet hacker

        Doesn't work for me either, not sure what I'm doing wrong...

        C:\>sudo echo "80.82.77.83 sci-hub" >> /etc/hosts

        'sudo' is not recognized as an internal or external command,

        operable program or batch file.

        1. Dwarf Silver badge

          Re: I am leet hacker

          @AmenFromMars

          Do scientists still use Windows ???

        2. patrickstar

          Re: I am leet hacker

          That command line wouldn't even work on an actual Linux system with sudo, since the >> redirection will take place in the original shell as the current user and not the one started as root.

          And to top that off, none of my Linux systems have sudo...

        3. Nattrash
          Trollface

          Are scientists smart enough..?

          Am I being silly when I expect that scientists, you know, the ones that work at universities and stuff, who knows, might even have PhDs, in general are smart enough to fill in an IP address like 80.82.77.83 or 80.82.77.84 directly into their URL bar in stead of a web address? Dear me, maybe they're even smart enough to store it as a browser bookmark!

          "But... But... But they said..."

  7. shifty_powers

    Good Summary

    Much as i often disagree with him, George Monbiot sums it nicely:

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

    The scientific method is the best we have, the gold standard we should be working to. The scientific journal industry, on the other hand, is all kinds of fucked up.

  8. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    Working as of Thanksgiving morning

    80.82.77.83 and https://sci-hub.bz/ appear to work fine so far, just tried them (did not download any articles if you are wondering). So the blockade is a failure as one can get around it without too much difficulty. It looks like another game of whack-a-mole is commencing.

    1. wayward4now

      Re: Working as of Thanksgiving morning

      I typed "cancer" into the search bar and got back nothing.

  9. steelpillow Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Let's be fair

    Publishers do have a responsibility to ensure proper peer review before publication. Most reviewers that I ever met seem to do it for free, but editorial grunt and other business costs (marketing, web maintenance, etc) do have to be paid for. That justifies at least a token charge for access to their resources, perhaps requiring a short copyright period after publication.

    If the publishers didn't welch on their responsibilities by getting only a fraction of submitted papers reviewed so the queues build endlessly, and even then letting the cranks review each other's stuff on especially-profitable pseudoscience rags, then I might have a grain of sympathy for them.

    Authors stick with the mainstream journals only because they need the prestige it brings for their next funding round.

    No, peer review and scientific publishing are shot to shit with more and more mainstream authors settling for arXiv or similar, and the publishers have only themselves to blame. Let's be fair about that.

    1. ibmalone Silver badge

      Re: Let's be fair

      Publishers do have a responsibility to ensure proper peer review before publication. Most reviewers that I ever met seem to do it for free, but editorial grunt and other business costs (marketing, web maintenance, etc) do have to be paid for. That justifies at least a token charge for access to their resources, perhaps requiring a short copyright period after publication.

      That's plausible, and some fund it out of OA fees, rather than end user. I do wonder about the amount OA fees cost though. I don't know if academic editors get remunerated, but they're the ones who read abstracts, send stuff out for review and decide hanging committees. I've not often been corresponding author, but when I have, the proof reading that comes back looks mainly automated (and in at least one case systematically replaced a real word with a non-existent one). Firms like Elsevier have serious scale for their platforms, and I suspect paid staff time per paper is pretty low. Unfortunately author pays models have the problems you describe about pseudo science (or sometimes just recycled or not very good science) due to poor incentives.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Let's be fair

        Elsevier etal also charge the author. Most journals have page charges and extra charges for images and extra-extra charges for colour images.

        Paying page charge surcharges for colour images in an online journal is a little eyebrow raising.

  10. jonfr

    They need to move to OpenNIC

    This website needs to open to OpenNIC. Court orders have no value there.

    OpenNIC, https://www.opennic.org/

  11. raving angry loony
    Flame

    Who are the pirates?

    Papers whose researchers used public money for the research should not be hidden behind the paywalls of corporations that feed, like parasitical slugs, on their work. Some might call it piracy. I call it "about fucking time".

    Private researchers can do what they want. But if the research was paid for, even partially, by the public, said public should be allowed to read the results without paying a disproportionate tax to a parasite. A very wealthy parasite.

  12. Long John Brass Silver badge

    arXiv etc

    Don't understand why Universities and research labs don't get together and build out something like arXiv for a wider range of topics. You could build in a peer review workflow to boot. While we are at it a linking mechanism to referenced papers that would allow things like if a paper is discredited then any linked papers would also get "down voted"

    If everything on such a site is creative commons style licence; Then the dead tree journals would have to pay to reproduce. This way the "arXiv" style site could get some funds to keep the platform running and maybe a few pennies to the authors and reviewers?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "and that Sci-Hub is no longer a threat"

    because it's not about the law, it's about eating into their profits. They don't give a flying monkey's (...) about the law, but it does no harm to the bottom line (quite the reverse), to use the law to your advantage...

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re. Martin Eve

    "Academic publishers would do better to reroute their efforts into developing business models for scholarly communications that allow open dissemination of educational research content and that are, therefore, immune to initiatives such as SciHub."

    I'm trying to read the above in plain English, and can't quite make much sense, can anyone help?!

    "developing business models for scholarly communications" = WTF, possibly: "make money from...."?!)

    "open dissemination of educational research content" = sharing, unrestricted / free of charge

    "immune to initiatives such as SciHub" = WTF, self-contradictory, given that SciHub is "sharing, unrestricted". Possibly he meant: "better than SciHub"?

    or is "open dissemination" plain double speak, i.e. "sharing freely within a carefully selected elite of those, who believe to be a carefully selected elite"? :/

    1. GrapeBunch Bronze badge

      Re: re. Martin Eve

      Welcome to the scenic Veil of Eve sham.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So why do we still have journal subscriptions?

    The most surprising thing about all this is that although we have had sci-hub for 6 years, libraries have still not cancelled their journal subscriptions! Isn't this an irresponsible waste of university funds? Why are librarians so terrified of publishers?

    1. nijam Silver badge

      Re: So why do we still have journal subscriptions?

      > Why are librarians so terrified of publishers?

      Wrong question.

      Try "Why are librarians so terrified of online sources that they are not the gatekeepers for?"

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. A K Stiles

      Re: So why do we still have journal subscriptions?

      Because not using the legitimate sources for the publications deemed necessary would get the university sued into non-existence in a short period of time? Whether academics etc. might be happy to use the 'illegal' source, having the business actively promoting that activity would not go down well...

  16. goodjudge

    Scientific publishing

    On the general issue of the world of scientific publishing, if you have a little while (it is Friday afternoon) then I'd recommend this long article from the Guardian from last June:

    https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/jun/27/profitable-business-scientific-publishing-bad-for-science

  17. GrapeBunch Bronze badge
    Coat

    alt.pub

    Please send your paper, along with three box tops and fifty cents, to my academic journal Neture. If you're lucky, they'll think it was a typo.

    Mine's the one with the really big prestige in the front pocket.

  18. Brian Allan 1

    Science for the masses! What a totally idiotic way of not getting science out there!

    All science should be free and easily accessed!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      All science should be free and easily accessed!

      After reading through the comments (and a couple of excellent Guardian of articles linked from the comments), I note that one aspect of the scientific publishing process - namely quality control - has been barely mentioned (although one of the Guardian pieces does touch on the subject briefly).

      Having access to an article is one, and very important, thing. Comprehending it is quite another. When I referee an manuscript from my own field, where I know of most of the established ideas and concepts, it nonetheless often takes me several days to establish whether the work is sound, original, and free of obvious mistakes. The better and more original the work is, the harder it is to comprehend and verify - precisely because it does not regurgitate the things I already know.

      While I could invest this kind of time for the few dozen papers I referee each year (and I am grateful to my employer for understanding the importance of me doing this work, and picking up the tab), it would be quite impossible for me, or anyone else, to subject the hundreds published papers I rely upon to do my real work to the same level of scrutiny. Most of the time, I have to take this work at the face value, and assume that whoever done the refereeing and editing for them was as diligent as I would be myself.

      Not being totally naïve, I realize that some authors are incompetent (or worse, lying), some referees are not doing their job, and some editors let it pass. The usual way to calibrate my level of trust is by the reputation of the authors (if I happen to know them or of them) and the reputation of the journal. And the latter is where most of the value of the scientific publishing process is for me. I know that some journals are trustworthy, while others ... well, not so much.

      Any adjustment or replacement to the current publishing system will need to to somehow preserve this chain of trust. This is precisely why arxiv.org, or any other self-publishing system, is not the answer: with arxiv I am reduced to relying on the reputation of the authors - and I can neither know everyone nor verify every bit of information myself.

      1. FrancasT

        I KNOW that some journals are trustworthy

        How would you KNOW a journal is trustworthy? Is it the publisher? Or the scientific Association backing it? Or the editor-in-Chief? The board? The peers who review?

        I am thinking it is neither the journal nor the publisher. It is the peer-review system. And unless you know the author or the reviewers to be trustworthy and their intelligence and/or knowledge more reliable than yours, there ought not be a chain of trust. Expect there to be mistakes, bias or worse.

        http://michaelnielsen.org/blog/three-myths-about-scientific-peer-review/

        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=fraud*[Title]+AND+%28scien*[Title]+OR+research*[Title]%29

        http://theconversation.com/hate-the-peer-review-process-einstein-did-too-27405

  19. DropBear Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    "Elbakyan said she "of course" intends to keep operating Sci-Hub. "

    Atta girl....

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Gotta chip in here

    There are a few comments that equate this to theft, the journals DO NOT produce content, and MOST of them DO NOT PAY to reviewer and those who submit articles.

    This'd be okay if they sold them for printing cost + 10% but no, a PDF of an article is > £35

    You can SOMETIMES ask the author but this generally isn't liked. Some link it on their home pages and then play dumb when caught.

    A journal's only costs are printing and postage AND THE STAFF TO OPERATE THE PRINTERS.

    As such Sci-Hub is not comparable to TPB (a topic for another time) and has A LOT of support

    Thanks for the IP links!

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Despite the fact that this was not an easy decision and many people may not seem so right about it, I believe that this should have happened. Such questions always arose and you can always find different points of view on this topic. It is not necessary to be divided into two camps: who is "for" and who is "against". I think this should be a useful experience.

    Actually there you can find an example of report - https://papercheap.co.uk/blog/post/write-a-report

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