Tuesday, May 03, 2016

"Library of Alexandra"

Sci-Hub has been making waves. Such huge waves that the AAAS flagship, Science has taken note, with not just one, but three pieces devoted to the website, and its founder, Alexandra Elbakyan. This profile of Elbakyan is quite balanced; it might be because a lot of downloads are by researchers in the rich countries. The third article is an editorial by Marcia McNutt: My love-hate of Sci-Hub.

Here's a WaPo summary, triggered by the revelations in Science. Here's a cool analysis of the Sci-Hub data dump [Edit: here's one more.]

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The title is from this comment in the Reddit thread on Sci-Hub from a couple of months ago.


  1. Vijay Sethuraman said...
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  2. Vijay Sethuraman said...

    Abi, out of curiosity, I checked if my own publications were in the Sci-Hub database and the first three DoI numbers I entered were there; there is a possibility that all of them are there. No wonder Elsevier took her to court! I never knew this existed. Looking at the Sci-Hub data dump, Indian-origin researchers have downloaded considerably from this site. This is probably the first time hacktivism has benefited academia. I'm pretty sure the publishers are not happy. I wonder how some of our librarian friends feel about this - might be a good topic to go over a meal. This Sci-Hub thing reminds me of Aaron Swartz, the kid that downloaded the entire JSTOR database and following a federal indictment, unfortunately committed suicide.

    I have a side comment: the name Elbakyan. I first misread it as Ekalavyan (the Mahabharata Character as we call it in Tamil). They are sort of anagrams (well, at least the bengali version 'eklabyan' is). Similarly, the name Sarkisian (also from the former Soviet bloc) anagrams to Sasikiran. Then there are similar sounding ones such as Abrahamyan and Subrahmanyan, etc.