Sci-Hub: Who's downloading pirated papers? Everyone

Sci-Hub: Who's downloading pirated papers? Everyone

Organisation: Science (AAAS) (United States)

Publication Date: 03/22/2017


Publishers hate and call it illegal, but who exactly is using Sci-Hub, the world's largest pirate website for scholarly literature, and what are they reading from it. Is it just a few scientists in developing or poor countries who can't afford access to journals?. In an exclusive look at Sci-Hub downloads data provided by the website's founder, John Bohannon took a deep dive into those questions and more. The Sci-Hub data provide the first detailed view of what is becoming the world’s de facto open-access research library. Among the revelations that may surprise both fans and foes alike: Sci-Hub users are not limited to the developing world. Some critics of Sci-Hub have complained that many users can access the same papers through their libraries but turn to Sci-Hub instead—for convenience rather than necessity. The data provide some support for that claim. The United States is the fifth largest downloader after Russia, and a quarter of the Sci-Hub requests for papers came from the 34 members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the wealthiest nations with, supposedly, the best journal access. In fact, some of the most intense use of Sci-Hub appears to be happening on the campuses of U.S. and European universities.


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