Thursday, February 25, 2016

Fiona Macdonald — Russian Researcher Illegally Shares Millions of Science Papers Free Online

Welcome to the Pirate Bay of science
A researcher in Russia has made more than 48 million journal articles - almost every single peer-reviewed paper every published - freely available online. And she's now refusing to shut the site down, despite a court injunction and a lawsuit from Elsevier, one of the world's biggest publishers.
For those of you who aren't already using it, the site in question is Sci-Hub, and it's sort of like a Pirate Bay of the science world. It was established in 2011 by neuroscientist Alexandra Elbakyan, who was frustrated that she couldn't afford to access the articles needed for her research, and it's since gone viral, with hundreds of thousands of papers being downloaded daily. But at the end of last year, the site was ordered to be taken down by a New York district court - a ruling that Elbakyan has decided to fight, triggering a debate over who really owns science.

"Payment of $32 is just insane when you need to skim or read tens or hundreds of these papers to do research. I obtained these papers by pirating them,"Elbakyan told Torrent Freak last year. "Everyone should have access to knowledge regardless of their income or affiliation. And that’s absolutely legal. 
Russia Insider


MRW said...

Great service. Used this to access source scientific docs for various Climate Change arguments over the last three years, and read the original papers referred to in the press releases copied by, or referred to in, the NYT and WashPo. Their reporters are activist-oriented and not scientifically trained, so they rely upon press releases for a précis or interpretation. Or they muddle through an abstract and think they’ve got it. They don’t know how to recognize relative values or statistical absurdities—don’t have a clue that it’s an issue—nor do they know the difference between absolute temps and anomalies.

This is what changed my mind about what I was reading in major papers, and the disgust and revulsion I now have for the field as reported in the MSM. is definitely a keeper bookmark.

MRW said...

When I say "scientifically trained,” I mean the hard sciences. Most, the majority of, ’environmental scientists” are graduates of political science or social science university departments. They don’t have a lick of hard science in their backgrounds. That’s why you still hear the horseshit that CO2 in the atmosphere can warm the oceans. (Put ten heaters in your bathroom on HIGH and see if that warms your bathtub water beyond the surface mm.)

And they CERTAINLY don’t have the maths or statistics training required. I don’t have the latter either (not above trig and calculus from high school) but I am not above calling or emailing the paper authors to ask for an explanation. Proper statistics in the creation of experiments has become so bad in so-called “peer-reviewed” papers by 'environmental scientists’, ‘climate scientists’, and modelers that more responsible journals are now insisting that authors submit their raw data AND the statistical assumptions used to create their experiments with their papers.

NeilW said...

Essentially peer review has broken down as a system that works. In economics it is used as a redacting and censorship system that would make the Chinese State Police proud.

The only way forward is full publishing of the papers and data backing the paper. Eventually states will start funding verifiers who repeat the experiments and the analysis.

Otherwise you just have to assume that scientific papers are the same as everything published these days - at least 50% marketing and propaganda.

Peer review is past its sell-by-date, for the same reason journalism is past its sell-by-date as the 'fourth estate' - marketing and modern psychology.

Peter Pan said...

(Put ten heaters in your bathroom on HIGH and see if that warms your bathtub water beyond the surface mm.)

It will slowly warm the water through convection. Of course you have to take into account the heat capacity of the water to determine the temperature rise.