Bastian Greshake · Analyzing the SciHub data
"If you’re following the world of academic publishing (and the paywalls that keep researchers from doing their jobs) you will have heard of Sci-Hub, which offers an elegant way to get around those paywalls. Often called the PirateBay of Academia, Sci-Hub gives you access to over 48 million paywalled articles, happily ignoring copyright. In my book that’s a great thing to do, after all it’s the general public that’s paying academic research and they are the ones that suffer most from paid access. And don’t get me started about the absurdity of university libraries having to buy back the results their own institutions generated. In any case, between September 2015 and February 2016 over 28 million downloads were done using their system. And last week Sci-Hub published the meta-data for those downloads, along with analyses done on the data and very cool visualizations. The data includes not only the time the download was done, but also the DOI that was requested (which also tells you which journal/publisher was paywalled) and the country/city from which the download was made. When I saw this data I immediately wondered whether most of those downloads were made from outside universities/by the general public or whether they were done by academic researchers who couldn’t get access through their institution due to the lack of subscriptions. So I started digging into the download times, looking at which weekdays and times most downloads occurred ..."
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