Online Piracy of Academic Materials Extends to Scholarly Books - The Chronicle of Higher Education
" ... University presses have become aware in recent weeks that unauthorized copies of hundreds and, in some cases, thousands of their books are available on pirate websites, and officials are still struggling with how to respond. Several press leaders said they wanted to be sure any stance they take against piracy isn’t perceived as an attack on the open-access movement, which is gaining popularity among some academics and librarians. It also appears that few, if any, presses have formally notified their authors that digital copies of their books are available free on an illicit website ... The site appears to be a sister site to Sci-Hub, an unauthorized collection of scholarly-journal articles created by Alexandra Elbakyan, a graduate student in Kazakhstan. While the workings of the two sites aren’t exactly clear, several press directors said they believed Sci-Hub is the tool that also powers the Library Genesis database. Both sites were ordered shut down last year as a result of a lawsuit filed by a commercial journal publisher, Elsevier ... The Cornell press publishes about 100 new books a year. Nearly 500 of its titles were listed on the Library Genesis site as of Monday. The site also listed more than 800 books from the Johns Hopkins University Press, nearly 2,000 from Harvard University Press, and more than 4,800 from MIT Press. More than 17,000 items from the biggest of all university presses, Oxford University Press, are on the site (including a book by this reporter), but it could not be immediately determined if that count also tallies some of the 380 journals it publishes ... Richard Brown, director of Georgetown University Press, which publishes just 40 new books a year, said the argument highlights Ms. Elbakyan’s misunderstanding of the position of most university presses. The Georgetown press has made 85 of its monographs available in open-access versions, but 'we have to sell stuff' to remain self-sustaining, he said. About 200 of its books are on the pirate site. The emergence of the pirate book site is especially painful for Mr. Smith. Before taking the post at Cornell, he directed Project MUSE and spent a lot of time with publishers, 'making them comfortable with this idea' of sharing their books in electronic formats. 'I hadn’t expected something like this, a systematic widespread downloading of content,' he said ..."