Sci-Hub & Freedom of Science
Ever think about who pays for science? (see here, and here for some info) Or wonder how much of our taxes goes to fund what percentage of scientific research? (Not enough in my opinion – here’s some info from 2010) Ever try to read a scientific paper in a journal? Rather than reading the sometimes terrible analysis that you find in mass-media, what about getting it right from the source? Well, have your credit card ready.
But hang on… Don’t we already pay for most research through taxation? If research is publicly funded, shouldn’t we be able to read it any time we want? Yeah, should be, but then again… what you’ll find for many papers is that you have to pay.
Well, there’s good news. Thanks to the work of some brave people, access is becoming easier. The U.K. is pushing to open access for publicly funded research and there are people out there fighting the legally questionable system that exists in the U.S. Carrying on Aaron Swartz‘s work (though possibly not at all related) there is even a web site hosting over 47 million scientific papers. Called Sci-Hub, it is fighting the system right out in the open. And the system is fighting back – trying to close it down. (Apparently that link is now being blocked, so try sci-hub.cc or sci-hub.bz if sci-hub.tw doesn’t work.)
Do a bit of research yourself and decide what you think about free public access to scientific research. If you come to the same conclusion I did, then let’s help get the word out and defend these purveyors of free knowledge! It’s bad enough the telecom companies are allowed to run roughshod over the control of data flow within the U.S., we can’t let them continue to get us to foot the bill on both ends of the scientific process. I agree with funding science for the improvements that we gain as a society, but I don’t think access to that knowledge should be controlled or limited by the fallacious gatekeepers controlling the system in the U.S.
(Edited to add working links!)