[Taxacom] Monbiot editorial on academic publishing

Arne Erpenbach arne.erpenbach at gmx.de
Thu Sep 1 16:46:23 CDT 2011

Excuse my interference, it is kindly ment.
Wolfgang, you made quite a point:

> However, it is 
> counterproductive to simply jump up and down and complain about the 
> status quo [...] without also pointing out that there are 
> a considerable number of unofficial ways in which one can get hold of 
> *most* publications for free. Perhaps we as individual publishing 
> academics should do our bit to educate the interested public in how to 
> get the papers.

May I assume that the lot of those "unofficial ways" would be considered
illegal under the current copyright legislation in most countries on
*this* globe? However, despite that, I totally agree with Wolfgang. But
I started wondering about two things:

- First, to the knowledge of any taxacomers, are there any cases of
legal prosecution of individuals, or institutions, for sharing pdfs of
scientific publications with fellow researchers?

- Second, are there more than two people to your knowledge (i.e., Aaron
Swartz and Gregory Maxwell) which are actively challenging the current
model of paywalling content in a novel way?  (Just to get this clear,
starting a new journal would hardly be considerd to be novel, would it?)

If someone does not know what I am referring to, the "JSTOR incident"
got some of media coverage a couple of weeks ago.
cf. https://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/20/us/20compute.html?_r=1


or directly at MIT, which has a lot of details:

Money quote: "Demand Progress, a group which Aaron Swartz founded, runs
online campaigns to fight online censorship. The organization is
currently rallying support for Swartz with an online petition that has
been signed by over 35,000 people."

(Wait... There have been already more that 35,000 people in July who
would support someone who did MAC spoofing to bulk download  scientific
publications from JSTOR?! Also, I learned they check your MAC adress on
download. As if the IP is not enough. I would assume JSTOR also saves it
in the PDF, like the time of access.)

And this was a reaction to the detention of Swartz:

Please be aware that he uploaded papers which were publicly available
through the Website of the Royal Society. See the file and it's
description here: https://thepiratebay.org/torrent/6554331/

Bottom line: I am at all not sure if it would be legal to download and
redistribute this file (or any of the contained files) under the current
local legislation.


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