How Much Should a Poor Scientist Pay to Access Old Research Papers?

Those interested in latest publishing trends will find the following articles interesting -

1. The battle between Elsevier and Sci-hub


In a lawsuit filed by Elsevier, one of the largest academic publishers, Sci- is facing millions of dollars in damages. However, the site has no intentions of backing down and will continue its fight to keep access to scientific knowledge free and open. “I think Elsevier’s business model is itself illegal,” Sci-Hub founder Alexandra Elbakyan says.

With a net income of more than $1 billion Elsevier is one of the largest academic publishers in the world.

The company has the rights to many academic publications where scientists publish their latest breakthroughs. Most of these journals are locked behind paywalls, which makes it impossible for less fortunate researchers to access them. is one of the main sites that circumvents this artificial barrier. Founded by Alexandra Elbakyan, a researcher born and graduated in Kazakhstan, its main goal is to provide the less privileged with access to science and knowledge.

The service is nothing like the average pirate site. It wasnt started to share the latest Hollywood blockbusters, but to gain access to critical knowledge that researchers require to do their work.

When I was working on my research project, I found out that all research papers I needed for work were paywalled. I was a student in Kazakhstan at the time and our university was not subscribed to anything, Alexandra tells TF.

Note: Sci-Hub is temporarily using the domain name. The .org will be operational again next week.

2. The Future

High-energy physicists gave us the internet. Therefore, it is worth checking how they solved the publishing problem.

Citing and Reading Behaviours in High-Energy Physics. How a Community Stopped Worrying about Journals and Learned to Love Repositories

Contemporary scholarly discourse follows many alternative routes in addition to the three-century old tradition of publication in peer-reviewed journals. The field of High-Energy Physics (HEP) has explored alternative communication strategies for decades, initially via the mass mailing of paper copies of preliminary manuscripts, then via the inception of the first online repositories and digital libraries.

This field is uniquely placed to answer recurrent questions raised by the current trends in scholarly communication: is there an advantage for scientists to make their work available through repositories, often in preliminary form? Is there an advantage to publishing in Open Access journals? Do scientists still read journals or do they use digital repositories?

The analysis of citation data demonstrates that free and immediate online dissemination of preprints creates an immense citation advantage in HEP, whereas publication in Open Access journals presents no discernible advantage. In addition, the analysis of clickstreams in the leading digital library of the field shows that HEP scientists seldom read journals, preferring preprints instead.

N. N. Taleb embraced arxiv to publish his latest research with the following note -

Academic production is now up to 99% housekeeping, chickenst, dealing with referees and perfecting commas, marketing, and only 1% substance. So trying the exact opposite with the following mode; wrote a paper, the shortest possible one on the idea. Put on FB here for 24 hours for crowdsourcing correction (Carl Fakhry found the math typos and inconsistencies in notation). Submitted the first draft to ArXiv, where it was posted a with day delay. Kept some typos in the first version (such as “reponse” instead of “response”) to signal I don’t give a fk, that this is not “job market science”.

If the idea has merit, it could eventually circulate perhaps be even plagiarized, and this may even take years and years. If it lacks in rigor it will certainly die, as there is no formalism to hide the BS. All in all the non-substance part of the process turned out to be < 1 hour. Now to other, possibly, deeper things.

Do not forget to check our new membership site with a lot more information on bioinformatics.

Written by M. //