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Dean Pomerleau

Getting Full PDFs of Papers

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Thanks, Dean!

 

  1.  “Go to the website http://sci-hub.io/ . Don't be disturbed by the Russian language text on the page...”

First I followed this:

 

  1.  “Paste the URL of the journal page for the paper you want the PDF for (not it's Pubmed page) into the box that it gives you. “

Then I did this.

 

  1. “After a few seconds, up pops the full text of the paper. It seems to work for a large fraction (95%?) of papers that out there but paywall protected.”

              I didn’t get this immediately. Instead, I got a box with Russian words below and was stuck with it. Today I tried it again by identifying the 5 English alphabets on top of the box and typing them in the box. I finally got it. Thanks again, Dean!

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I certainly agree with the NYT article.

 

Paraphrasing part of the United Nations Charter, she said, “Everyone has the right to freely share in scientific advancement and its benefits.”

 

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/13/opinion/sunday/should-all-research-papers-be-free.html?_r=0

Edited by AlPater

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Here is a new, really good Wired.com article on sci-hub.io, entitled You Pay to Read Research You Fund. That’s LudicrousBut I like the apparent former title of the article, and the name embedded in the link - Stealing Publicly Funded Research Isn't Stealing. I wonder if Wired's legal team baulked at the second title...

 

Here is my favorite quote from the article:

 

But saying that Sci-Hub is about copyright infringement is like saying the Boston Tea Party was about late-night vandalism. In fact, it’s a rebuke of the thoughtless, conciliatory acts of governments, institutions, and the public that are preventing the most valuable product of our society—human knowledge—from being freely available to drive discovery and innovation. 

 

I couldn't agree more. You may think I'm full of it sometimes, but very few of the detailed analyses I've done in the last six months, and virtually none of my cold exposure research, would have been possible without the help of sci-hub.io. 

 

The writer goes on to point out additional shocking and sad facts about academic publishing:

 

If it wasn’t so well-established, the traditional model of academic publishing would be considered scandalous. Every year, hundreds of billions in research and data are funded, in whole or in part, with public dollars. We do this because we believe that knowledge is for the public good, but the public gets very little access to the fruits of its investment. In the US, the combined value of government, non-profit, and university-funded research in 2013 was over $158 billion—about a third of all the R&D in the US that year. Publishers acquire this research free of charge, and retain the copyrights, even though the public funded the work. Researchers aren’t paid by publishers for their research as it’s sold piece-by-piece or by subscription through academic journals. The reviewers who evaluate the research aren’t paid either. So we pay for it, and then we have to pay again if we want to read it.

 

Join the fight help to remove barriers in the way of knowledge and support sci-hub.io!

 

--Dean

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Attempting to cheat taxpayers of the benefits of research has a long history, and is an ongoing endeavor that never stops. Here's an interesting case:

 

http://arstechnica.com/science/2016/04/accuweather-issues-90-day-forecasts-and-meteorologists-are-not-amused/

 

"AccuWeather is one of the largest private forecasting companies in the world, and in many ways has pushed the boundaries of private weather forecasting. In 2005 the Pennsylvania-based company, with the support of its home-state senator Rick Santorum, backed legislation that would have precluded the National Weather Service from sharing its data and forecasts with the general public. This legislation was resoundingly defeated because, well, if taxpayers are paying for the National Weather Service to make forecasts, they ought to have access to them."

 

In this case the legislation was defeated, in other cases similar legislation was passed, and the common thread in all of this is "public financing, private profit" - old as the hills. It's everywhere around us. 

 

One reason people are trying to get PLOS to become the default.

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TomB,

 

 In 2005 the Pennsylvania-based company, with the support of its home-state senator Rick Santorum, backed legislation that would have precluded the National Weather Service from sharing its data and forecasts with the general public. 

 

I'm ashamed to say Rick Santorum lives about 15 minutes from me, and despite me voting against him consistently, he has been first state senator, and now federal senator and Presidential candidate from my home district...

 

--Dean

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I wanted to say thank-you to everyone in this thread for bringing light to the issue.  I had never thought of the issue of public funds (tax paying dollars) supporting research, and then having to pay again to view what we paid for in the first place! It's definitely a broken system. 

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Wow, Sci-hub.io is going viral. According to this article, it has served up more that 28 million papers in the last six months, and is receiving more than 200K paper request per day. It seems pretty silly for anyone to think the copyright police may come after you for using it...

 

It's a very interesting article, with a couple interactive maps showing where all the requests are coming from. A lot from the US, but most are coming from second and third world countries, most notably India, China and Iran.

 

There is also a poll at the bottom, where you can support Sci-hub.io.

 

--Dean

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Access to Sci-hub is down at the moment via their usual URL, sci-hub.io. The official sci-hub twitter account suggests trying sci-hub.bz or sci-hub.cc. Both of these alternatives is working for me. Of course without the sci-hub.io version, all the link people have been posting will be broken, but can be fixed by substituting ".bz" or ".oz" for ".io" in the url. 

 

--Dean

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Thanks Tom,

 

That explains my prior post. Here is some more of the story you quoted from:

 

Sci-Hub is facing millions of dollars in damages in a lawsuit filed by Elsevier, one of the largest academic publishers. As a result of the legal battle the site just lost one of its latest domain names. However, the site has no intentions of backing down, and will continue its fight to keep access to scientific knowledge free and open...

 

[A]s part of the injunction Elsevier is able to request domain name registrars to suspend Sci-Hub’s domain names. This happened to the original .org domain earlier, and a few days ago the Chinese registrar Now.cn appears to have done the same for Sci-hub.io...

 

Elbakyan was also quick to add that several ‘backup’ domain names are still in play, including Sci-Hub.bz and Sci-Hub.cc. This means that the site remains accessible to those who update their bookmarks. In addition to the alternative domain names users can access the site directly through the IP-address 31.184.194.81, or its domain on the Tor-network, which is pretty much immune to any takedown efforts.

 

The Ukraine-born Elbakyan has no intention of throwing in the towel and believes that what she does is helping millions of less privileged researchers to do their work properly by providing free access to research results.

 

Go Alexandra (Elbakyan) - I for one support your noble efforts!

 

--Dean

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IN BRIEF
News at a glance
Science  06 May 2016:
Vol. 352, Issue 6286, pp. 632-634
DOI: 10.1126/science.352.6286.632
Why do you use Sci-Hub or other pirated article repositories?
 
Last week, a feature in Science analyzed 28 million download requests, made over 6 months, from Sci-Hub, a popular repository of pirated scientific literature. The data showed that Sci-Hub is widely used around the world. Science's online survey on the topic generated more than 10,000 responses in the 4 days before this went to press. (You can take the survey here: http://bit.ly/Sci-Hub.)The sample is likely biased toward Sci-Hub fans—nearly 60% of respondents report having used it, and a quarter do so daily or weekly. Still, academic publishers may fear this dramatic result: Eighty-eight percent of respondents said it was not wrong to download pirated papers. About 50% of Sci-Hub users said their primary motive is a lack of access to the journal articles (see bar graph, below), whereas 23% said they objected to the profits publishers make, and 17% said they were motivated by simple convenience. Slightly more than 60% of survey-takers believe Sci-Hub will disrupt the traditional science publishing industry.
 
F4.medium.gif
Why do you use Sci-Hub or other pirated article repositories?C. SMITH/SCIENCE
 

C. SMITH/SCIENCE

Edited by AlPater

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This story seems to be related to the topic of getting free full-texts.

 

 

NATURE | SEVEN DAYS Sharing
The week in science: 6–12 May 2016
Nature doi:10.1038/nature.2016.19871
Open-access index delists thousands of journals
 
PUBLISHING
 
Access control Thousands of journals are being removed from the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) in response to concerns about the increasing number of ‘predatory publishers’ with dubious peer-review and publishing practices. In a bid to tighten standards for inclusion, the DOAJ had asked more than 11,000 open-access journals listed on the directory to provide details about their operations. About 3,300 journals did not submit the requested information in time, so will now be delisted, says Lars Bjørnshauge, the directory’s managing director. Over the past 2 years, the DOAJ has rejected more than 5,400 open-access journals, often owing to questionable publishing ethics or lack of editorial transparency. See go.nature.com/t7aioi for more.
 
Many publications did not reapply after leading directory tightened its quality criteria.
 
Monya Baker
09 May 2016
 
A leading index of open-access journals is set to shrink by more than one-quarter after delisting around 3,300 titles as part of an effort to exclude questionable and inactive publishers.
 
The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), which at the beginning of the year listed more than 11,000 open-access academic journals, announced two years ago that it would be tightening its standards for inclusion. It asked every journal in its index to provide more details about their operations so it could ensure that they adhere to basic publishing standards.
 
The crackdown came after the index was criticized for including ‘predatory publishers’ — journals that profess to publish articles openly, often after charging fees, but that are either outright scams or do not provide expected services such as a minimal standard of peer review or archiving.
 
The DOAJ is now striking off journals that did not submit the necessary paperwork in time, says Lars Bjørnshauge, the directory’s managing director. He says that he is “absolutely sure” that the majority of the journals that did not reapply are not publications with poor ethics; rather, he thinks, they are small outfits that are unfamiliar with providing the information required for reapplication. Some 6,700 journals have reapplied, and Bjørnshauge thinks that most of them will pass.
 
Many of the journals that failed to reapply claimed to be based in the United States. But after investigating publishers’ claims about where they are based, the DOAJ suspects that some in fact operate from other countries, says Dominic Mitchell, community manager for the directory.
 
Improving trust
 
Investigating journals: The dark side of publishing
 
The tightened policy is a “huge improvement”, says Walt Crawford, a retired library-systems analyst in Livermore, California, who is currently analysing DOAJ-listed journals. “I believe DOAJ will be a reasonably trustworthy source of journals that at least intend to do honest, serious open access.” If anything, he says, he worries that legitimate journals may be omitted.
 
But Jeffrey Beall, a librarian at the University of Colorado, Denver, who assembled a blacklist of open-access journals that he terms "potential, possible or probable" predatory publishers, fears that the index still contains weak publications. A problem with ‘whitelists’ such as the DOAJ’s, he says, is that they rely on data supplied by publishers, which might exaggerate or misstate information to make their journals look more attractive.
 
Bjørnshauge agrees that there are publishers that cheat authors; the DOAJ has supported an educational campaign and plans to hire almost a dozen ‘ambassadors’ to identify questionable publishers and to promote good publishing practices across the developing world, he says. Assessing journals on a case-by-case basis should be straightforward, says Crawford. “My guess is that most scholars can figure out whether a journal is an appropriate outlet with 10–15 minutes work.”
 
The number of open-access journals is soaring: the DOAJ gets about 80 applications every week, Bjørnshauge says, and over the past 2 years it has rejected about 5,400 applications, most of them new applicants. Lack of information about licensing rights, publication permissions and editorial transparency are all important issues in rejecting publications, he says.
 
Whitelists such as the DOAJ and blacklists like Beall’s are not the only tools to make sense of open-access journals. Some crowdsourced efforts — such as Journalysis.org — ask academics to review journals. The most recent of these, a website called QOAM (Quality Open Access Market) asks volunteers with academic credentials to evaluate a journal’s policies and to describe their experience if they published with the journal — and then sorts journal titles into one of four categories, including “threat to authors”. 
 
“We go beyond what the DOAJ does to allow the stakeholders to rank the journals,” says Jelte Wicherts, who studies publication bias and data sharing at Tilburg University in the Netherlands and who helped to develop the QOAM scoring system. He thinks that there are reliable proxies — notably the transparency of a peer review system — that can be used to gauge the quality of a journal1.
 
Such crowdsourced systems can fall prey to extreme minority views, and to being gamed by pro-journal reviewers, unless many disinterested authors can be persuaded to take part, points out Bjørnshauge. Beall, too, is sceptical that a crowdsourced effort can take off. But it should be given a chance to succeed, he says. “It's great that there’s experimentation going on.”

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[Admin Note - Over on the cold exposure thread, Michael and I had the following exchange about various ways of getting publications, which we both agreed belongs over here rather than there. Michael, feel free if you'd like to copy your text into your own post, if you'd like to make your authorship of it clear. Feel free also to edit this post if you do to delete your section, or I'll do it after you post. --Dean]

 

Michael wrote:

I don't know what I may have said that you've misinterpreted/misremembered in this way, but I'm all for [ResearchGate], and use it regularly — amongst other things, to avoid use of sci-hob, which I do regard as a highly problematic (tho' well-intentioned at some level) workaround in a problematic (but not meriting abolition) situation.

 

Sorry Michael. My bad. I did misremember. I attributed an off-forum email exchange I had with a former colleague and co-author of mine, who complained about Academia.edu and ResearchGate for their sleazy practices regarding scraping for content and lax privacy policy. I really respect him, and he has similar concerns about privacy that you do, so I mistook my memory of my email exchange with him as a post by you in the Sci-hub thread.

 

FYI, here are his complaints about Researchgate (and Academia.edu). It was from private email, but I'm not revealing his name, and given his very negative perspective, I can't imagine he'd object to me spreading his disdain for them and their practices:

 
ResearchGate is the worst of the worst because not only do they spam me
with robot-generated requests like Academia.edu, but they actually forge
my colleagues' names in the From line so it looks like the mail is
coming from them.
 
Another issue I have with ResearchGate is that they pollute the search
engines with links to THEIR copies of papers which can only be read if
you join up and sign in.
 
I think Sci-Hub.io's approach is like stealing groceries to feed the
hungry.  Sure, hungry people need food right now.  But it's still theft,
and if done on a large scale, the grocery store goes out of business.
So while I don't condemn you for using the service, and would probably
use it myself if I had no other way to get a document without paying
ruinous fees, I still don't support it.
 
As you can see, his tone and his beliefs resemble yours (at least in my mind and as I understand them - especially about Sci-hub) - hence my conflation of you two. Sorry about that. If you'd like to respond, I suggest we moving the discussion to the Getting Full PDFs thread where the focus is academic freedom and information's yearning to be free...
 
To which Michael responded with everything between the bookend ======='s below:
 
=====================

All:


Michael,

 

I don't know what I may have said that you've misinterpreted/misremembered in this way, but I'm all for RG, and use it regularly — amongst other things, to avoid use of sci-hob, which I do regard as a highly problematic (tho' well-intentioned at some level) workaround in a problematic (but not meriting abolition) situation.


Sorry Michael. My bad. I did misremember. I attributed an off-forum email exchange I had with a former colleague and co-author of mine ...

 

ResearchGate is the worst of the worst because not only do they spam me with robot-generated requests like Academia.edu, but they actually forge my colleagues' names in the From line so it looks like the mail is coming from them.


I have never had this happen, and don't believe that they do it. What I suspect s/he's misinterpreted/misremembered in this way ;) is that if you come across a paper for which there is a record in RG but no available full-text, you have the option of clicking to email the authors to request that they do so. And, if they don't already have an email for the authors, they'll ask  if you have it and use it to send the request. I don't do the latter, regarding it as a violation of the authors' privacy, but I certainly routinely use their system to send either personalized or generic requests for reprints and uploads to people who are already members or whose contact info has already been submitted by some other user.
 
This is of course intended to bring in more members and expand their content, which both improves the network and makes them more viable as a platform. But it's not like the true bottery of scraping all the contacts in your email account and sending out bot requests to join that look like they've come personally from the user, as happens routinely with eg. LinkedIn (which is one of the reasons I've never joined the latter).

 

 

Another issue I have with ResearchGate is that they pollute the search engines with links to THEIR copies of papers which can only be read if you join up and sign in.


I don't believe this is true: I've downloaded papers I've come across via Google while not signed in with no problem, and sent others links to same without being told that the recipient can't use the link (tho' of course my recipient may not have tried, out of blind trust ;) or lack of time or concern, or may not have troubled me about any problem they encountered). In any case, I would actually regard this as a good policy, making it closer to a genuine network for scholarly exchange instead of just another way to get around journal paywalls for anyone who uses Google and hits one of their links. (I am aware that this is problematically elitist. But there is a long tradition — accpeted by all journal publishers — of scholars sending each other reprints, and  I can't condone outright just breaking down the walls and eroding their ability to keep the lights on).
 

 

I think Sci-Hub.io's approach is like stealing groceries to feed the hungry. Sure, hungry people need food right now. But it's still theft,
and if done on a large scale, the grocery store goes out of business.


Right. And, like the sale of groceries, there is a valuable service being provided by the journals, which the critics tend to grossly downplay.

 

As you can see, his tone and his beliefs resemble yours (at least in my mind and as I understand them - especially about Sci-hub) - hence my conflation of you two. Sorry about that.


Totally understandable. I've done worse :"-).

 

=================

 

Sorry for the weird quotations - cutting-and-pasting quotes works suboptimally in this forum software.

 

To summarize, unlike my academic colleague who distrusts and dislikes both ResearchGate and Sci-Hub, Michael appears to be similarly critical of Sci-Hub but appreciates the service ResearchGate provides.

 

--Dean

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What a difference two years makes.

 

The 0.1901 Bitcoin that I and an anonymous donor gave to Sci-hub.io in Feb 2016 was worth $74 at the time, when a Bitcoin was fetching $389. As of today it's trading at about $14,000, and our donation is worth just shy of $3000. Crazy.

 

Based on the history of the Bitcoin address we sent the donation to, the founder of sci-hub.io has received over 90 Bitcoin over the two years since we donated which would be worth $1.35M today. I hope she held onto it, since she continues to be legally assailed by science journal publishers. It is hard to tell for sure, but it looks like from the transaction history of her Bitcoin address that she probably cashed out most of it a while back, since there is only 12 BTC remaining at that address.

 

Michael, you seemed pretty skeptical of Bitcoin at the time. Any chance you (or anyone else who read this thread) changed your mind as a result of our conversation and decided to pick up some for yourself?

 

--Dean

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Here is an article pointing to data suggesting that bitcoin's environmental impact is small compared to either the production of gold or coins / paper currency : Bitcoin Has Less Environmental Impact Than Fiat Currencies

 

 

But is that the right comparison?  Only about 8-10% (IIRC) of the world's money supply is in physical form and that percentage continues to drop.  And  gold by definition is not fiat currency.   Equally important,  the comparison is entirely static-- it fails to address bitcoin's exponentially growing demand for computer power which is the heart of the issue.

 

 

Naked Capitalism  is a good site not only because of the articles but the commentary. 

 

 

Aligot December 7, 2017 at 7:35 am

 

Everything about Bitcoin has got a bit crazy, but there are technical solutions possible to reduce electricity consumption considerably (proof-of-stake instead of proof-of-work). Maybe before its 10th birthday we’ll see this happen.

 

Bitcoin’s electricity consumption as a percentage of the world’s electricity consumption = 0.14

 

 

 

Tobin Paz December 7, 2017 at 11:15 am

 

Naked Capitalism is one of my favorite sites. I rarely post due to my poor knowledge of economics and finance… I’m here to try to learn. These last two articles about bitcoin’s energy usage are puzzling for a variety of reasons. First, the claims are so outlandish that they almost defy belief.

 

Did Anyone Do Even a Minimal Check on the Sensationalist Bitcoin Electrical Consumption Story?

 

[etc.]

 

 

And the reply from

 

Outis Philalithopoulos  December 8, 2017 at 12:25 pm

 

When you say that “the claims are so outlandish that they almost defy belief,” you are not reporting accurately the conclusions of Charles Hugh Smith in the article you link to. 

 

[etc.]

 

Edited by Sibiriak

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