Journal Articles for Free

Do you know about Sci-Hub? Simon Oxenham at Big Think explains:

On September 5th, 2011, Alexandra Elbakyan, a researcher from Kazakhstan, created Sci-Hub, a website that bypasses journal paywalls, illegally providing access to nearly every scientific paper ever published immediately to anyone who wants it. The website works in two stages, firstly by attempting to download a copy from the LibGen database of pirated content, which opened its doors to academic papers in 2012 and now contains over 48 million scientific papers. The ingenious part of the system is that if LibGen does not already have a copy of the paper, Sci-hub bypasses the journal paywall in real time by using access keys donated by academics lucky enough to study at institutions with an adequate range of subscriptions. This allows Sci-Hub to route the user straight to the paper through publishers such as JSTOR, Springer, Sage, and Elsevier. After delivering the paper to the user within seconds, Sci-Hub donates a copy of the paper to LibGen for good measure, where it will be stored forever, accessible by everyone and anyone… 

If, at first pass the network fails to gain access to the paper, the system automatically tries different institutions’ credentials until it gains access. In one fell swoop, a network has been created that likely has a greater level of access to science than any individual university, or even government for that matter, anywhere in the world.

Though focused on science, a quick perusal showed that there are plenty of philosophy articles available via Sci-Hub.

Relatedly, don’t forget about The Philosophical Underclass.

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Lewis Powell
Lewis Powell
8 years ago

This news also recalls the tragic story of Aaron Swartz, who was hounded by American law enforcement for writing a program that downloaded papers en masse from jstor:

Kevin Timpe
Kevin Timpe
8 years ago

Thanks for the shout-out to the Underclass, Justin. We’re at 4373 members and growing!