Is It Party Time for STM Professional Publishers?

March 4, 2022

I spotted a TorrentFreak write up called “FBI Gains Access to Sci-Hub Founder’s Google Account Data.” The article explains that investigators are gathering information about Alexandra Elbakyan, the founder of what the article references as the “Pirate Bay of Science.”

The idea behind the service is to make paywall protected content available without the paywalls. The article explains what agencies have been involved and some of the legal procedures followed. These are routine but may be surprising to those who think about new recreational vehicles and the new pizza place.

What makes the investigation interesting is that references are made to Ms. Elbakyan’s alleged links to other governmental entities.

Several observations:

  1. Alleged links to a foreign power engaged in hostile actions move the story from scientific, technical and medical content made available without the pro9fessional publishers permission to a higher level of security concern.
  2. Professional publishers have not been happy campers since Sci-Hub became available. (Is this because the service has chewed into some revenues for these commercial enterprises? My guess is, “Yep.”)
  3. Allegedly, Ms. Elbakyan lives in Russia and, if the Wikipedia is spot on, she is studying philosophy at the Russian Academy of Sciences. (Will extradition be possible? My view is that the process will be interesting.)

When I read the story, I thought about one professional publishing big wig who said off the record, “That crazy Kazakh has to be shut down?”

Is it party time in the world of STM professional publishing? Not yet, but some may want to buy foil party hats and cheap kazoos.

Stephen E Arnold, March 4, 2022


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