Pirate Open Access: Defeating Monetized Academic Publishing - Information Matters
peter.suber's bookmarks 2021-11-30
"In particular, so-called “pirate” open access has the potential to undermine current for-profit exploitation of scientific knowledge, and thereby create a new era of genuine universal open access. Sci-Hub (https://sci-hub.st/) is currently the largest pirate open access platform, providing direct downloadable access to 50+ million scientific journal articles. Use of pirate open access provokes varying opinions in the professional community, including a palpable level of unease around questions of legality. However, pre-emptive dismissal of such platforms ignores the long-held right of citizens in democratic societies to challenge by means of civil disobedience circumstances, legal or otherwise, perceived to be unfair.
Some, even while believing that the construction of access paywalls and copyright transfer (a feature upon which the viability of corporate academic publishing depends) are unethical, may conclude that use of pirate open access, with its attendant contestable legality, is not justified. Others, however, may take the opposite view, concluding that use of pirate open access is not merely justified as a form of civil disobedience, but a moral imperative. Electronic civil disobedience in the latter instance is an act of protest against the self-evident unfairness of current publishing arrangements that permit (indeed, encourage) the sequestering, for reason of exploitation for private profit, scientific knowledge which rightly belongs in the public domain. Considering the level of corporate dominance in academic publishing, pirate open access, as a form of collective electronic civil disobedience, appears to be the best, and possibly only, option currently available for rendering scientific knowledge openly accessible to all."