Get 48 Million Free Full Text Journal Articles. Right Here. Right Now.
Once upon a time, I had pretty solid access to full text journal articles…. But over the years, that access has dwindled and then dwindled again (I wear out my welcome, I fear, of my academic friends, with endless requests for sharing passwords or endless email pings containing PubMed links with shameless pleas of: “can you get this…?”)
So I was VERY interested to hear about Russian neuroscientist Alexandra Elbakyan’s website Sci-Hub, where pretty much every article ever published is available. For free. Immediately. No hoop to jump through, no complex websites to navigate.
Yes, the website contains some Cyrillic, but it’s an intuitive Cyrillic…
I tried it recently using a digital object identifier (DOI) number when I wanted access to a 2011 paper from Nature Reviews Microbiology. It worked. A downloadable PDF popped open before my eyes.
And for a different paper using a PubMed identifier (PMID). Not so much luck with PMID-the search timed out– so I tracked down the DOI number, popped it in, and voila! Success.
Dr. Elbakyan is a bit of a Robin Hood. She couldn’t afford to purchase all of the needed papers for her research and set out to make everything available to everyone. She’s been doing this since 2011- as I am sure a lot of you know already—and literally hundreds of thousands of papers are accessed through and uploaded to her site every day.
While Elsevier filed a lawsuit, it hasn’t stopped Dr. E. Indeed, it’s prompted amazing dialogue around the issue of free access to science—or lack thereof—and how it impacts researchers, clinicians, the public at large. Elbakyan argues that what Elsevier and other publishing houses are doing is illegal. She writes:
“If Elsevier manages to shut down our projects or force them into the darknet, that will demonstrate an important idea: that the public does not have the right to knowledge,” she said. “We have to win over Elsevier and other publishers and show that what these commercial companies are doing is fundamentally wrong.”
Check out this write-up on Science Alert or this one on Big Think….. And check out Sci Hub.