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Black Market Database Access To Scholarly Journals

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the or-join-the-texas-exes dept.

Piracy 209

An anonymous reader writes "University libraries offer access to a vast array of valuable materials — if you have a login and password. Now people are buying and selling university credentials online, or giving them away on warez sites. They're used by upstart companies abroad who need access to the latest industrial compounds or other valuable info on databases like SciFinder."

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209 comments

Obligatory (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36577990)

In Soviet Russia credentials sell science.

Taxpayer Information (5, Insightful)

sycodon (149926) | more than 2 years ago | (#36577994)

Taxpayer funded research should not be behind pay walls or restricted in any other manner. Exception for information with military applications...mostly.

Re:Taxpayer Information (3, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#36578046)

Well, technically, taxpayer funded research should be available to everyone who paid taxes. Which pretty much excludes anyone outside the country and corporations.

Re:Taxpayer Information (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36578176)

Erm, corporations do pay taxes. And perform research. You can ask my accountant. :(

Re:Taxpayer Information (0)

micheas (231635) | more than 2 years ago | (#36578314)

Small corporations, and oil companies generally pay taxes.

Tech and agro companies in the US with at least ten figure revenue streams generally pay almost nothing in taxes.

Re:Taxpayer Information (1)

sycodon (149926) | more than 2 years ago | (#36578374)

I'll sign on to that.

Re:Taxpayer Information (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36578694)

The following snippet is your share of the collected data based on the proportion of research you have paid for:
 
 

7

Re:Taxpayer Information (5, Insightful)

s-whs (959229) | more than 2 years ago | (#36578594)

Well, technically, taxpayer funded research should be available to everyone who paid taxes. Which pretty much excludes anyone outside the country and corporations.

Invalid argument as research is never done isolated, but it's almost always based on previous research, and/or discussed with/helped with individuals work from other countries.

That's the whole point of academic research, it advances knowledge through open cooperation and open competition.

Academic publishers served their purpose when publishing wasn't easy, they serve no purpose at all today. Not even as editors as the real editors are in peers who are not employed as editors but working in the same field. And raising the prices as much as they have done serves noone's purpose except the asshats (those publishers) who want money for doing zero useful work.

Re:Taxpayer Information (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#36578996)

Indeed, but the salient point is really why government grants are being used for research which isn't available for free to the taxpayers. I can understand privately funded research not being available for free, and I can understand why the underlying data isn't available for free, but I don't see why government funded papers should be allowed to be hidden behind paywalls.

It's a real problem if you're going to a smaller school which can't afford to subscribe to the relevant journals placing such institutions at a significant disadvantage.

Re:Taxpayer Information (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36579024)

"Not even as editors as the real editors are in peers who are not employed as editors but working in the same field. "

Really? Ever work as an editor of a scientific journal? It entails a LOT of work. I worked with one for several years as a graduate student in his lab. It was a lot more work than I've done just reviewing papers forwarded to me by his or other journals in my own lab. Running a scientific journal takes a bit more effort than making some wordpress blog.

Re:Taxpayer Information (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36579078)

Well, technically, taxpayer funded research should be available to everyone who paid taxes. Which pretty much excludes anyone outside the country and corporations.

Invalid argument as research is never done isolated, but it's almost always based on previous research, and/or discussed with/helped with individuals work from other countries.

That's the whole point of academic research, it advances knowledge through open cooperation and open competition.

Academic publishers served their purpose when publishing wasn't easy, they serve no purpose at all today. Not even as editors as the real editors are in peers who are not employed as editors but working in the same field. And raising the prices as much as they have done serves noone's purpose except the asshats (those publishers) who want money for doing zero useful work.

All of that is a nice philosophical argument about the freedom of knowledge and in general I agree with you but to act like that's a repudiation of the ownership of the work (the creation/organization/printing/management of the prinited/scanned/whatever content) is silly. If the taxpayers pay for that it should be on them to share or not share. I think you make excellent arguments as to why they should share it but it doesn't invalidate the fact that they paid for it and need to make the decision.

Also the entire line of taxpayer reasoning seems to completely ignore privately funded research that occurs at private universities and sometimes at public universities in partnership grants with specific restrictions on what happens to the knowledge produced by the research.

Re:Taxpayer Information (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36579294)

I know you're being snarky, but corporate taxes are about 15% of the USG revenues, roughly a third of income tax revenue. Taxes work much differently for corporations than individuals (e.g. being on "bottom line" net income rather than "top line" revenue) but to say they don't pay taxes is patently false.

Re:Taxpayer Information (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36578050)

Bingo.

Higher education has become such a joke.

Re:Taxpayer Information (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36578134)

Yet this joke remains integral.

NIH agrees with you (5, Informative)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 2 years ago | (#36578108)

Taxpayer funded research should not be behind pay walls or restricted in any other manner

The largest funding source for biomedical research in the US is the National Institutes of Health (NIH). They recently passed a rule requiring NIH-funded work to be published in an accessible manner [nih.gov] . This has had some interesting results, as now journals such as Nature and Science have ways to release articles to the public so that they can be in their high-impact journals and accessible freely.

Of course, this only applies to grants that are approved 2010 and onwards; work funded by older grants does not need to worry about this. However, grants that are were issued originally prior to 2010, and are being renewed, do.

In other words, less federally funded work is published behind paywalls now than ever before.

Re:NIH agrees with you (4, Informative)

tgibbs (83782) | more than 2 years ago | (#36578766)

The regulation requires that any paper supported to any extent by NIH and published after April 2008 be made accessible to the public, with free links from the publicly accessible Pubmed database. NIH enforces this be requiring grant applicants to submit evidence that they are in compliance for any of their own papers that they cite. Journals can request at most a 1-year window of exclusivity before the requirement goes into effect

Re:NIH agrees with you (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#36579010)

It's a good start. I can understand why they can't do it retroactively, but I really do wonder why it was ever the case. I guess, these rules were probably not needed when the primary way of publishing information was in a journal and the journals cost money to publish.

Re:Taxpayer Information (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 2 years ago | (#36578408)

It's usually not, but it's only searchable on the major databases (journal compilations), and it's the databases/journals that are private. To do what you'd like, we'd have to do in the journal system, and replace it with a government run journal, and I'm sure it would be impossible for centralized governmental control of publication to be any sort of problem for science.

Re:Taxpayer Information (4, Insightful)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 2 years ago | (#36578628)

To do what you'd like, we'd have to do in the journal system, and replace it with a government run journal, and I'm sure it would be impossible for centralized governmental control of publication to be any sort of problem for science.

Others have already pointed out that for new research, the problem is already solved. NIH already requires research they fund to be published in accessible form, and it hasn't caused the medical and life science journals to go out of business. Almost all physicists post their papers on arxiv.org, and it hasn't caused the physics journals to go out of business. Your concerns about government control of science seem kind of silly to me, a bit like the infamous "keep your government hands off my medicare" picket sign. We're talking about research that is already funded by tax dollars. The journals are just parasites on a government-funded system; they have unpaid volunteers to do all the actual editorial work for them.

Re:Taxpayer Information (4, Interesting)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 2 years ago | (#36578726)

I'm still forming opinions on academic paywalls - but you most certainly have a good point right there.

I get SO aggravated when I'm trying to chase down some bit of data, that often enough is trivial in nature, but all the leads send me to a freaking paywall. Hey, I don't expect copies of textbooks, nor do I expect access to "trade secrets". There is plenty of stuff that the average person probably shouldn't have access to, unless he's willing to pay. But, FFS, I've run into paywalls when reading about psychology, chemical reactions, even HISTORY!

How in hell does Academia and their suppliers corner the market on some trivial history fact, anyway? (BTW - don't even ask what I was searching for in particular. I've forgotten now. I only remember that I hit the pay wall, and exploded. I ranted to an empty room for a good 15 minutes, LMAO!)

Re:Taxpayer Information (1)

Fnord666 (889225) | more than 2 years ago | (#36578746)

Taxpayer funded research should not be behind pay walls or restricted in any other manner. Exception for information with military applications...mostly.

Similarly universities should not be able to patent or commercialize anything where the research done to develop it was funded with taxpayer dollars. It should automatically be in the public domain available to everyone.

Re:Taxpayer Information (1)

Your.Master (1088569) | more than 2 years ago | (#36579154)

Why shouldn't they be able to commercialize it?

I get not locking down knowledge with paywalls and patents, although patents are a bit funny because the whole point of functional patents is to encourage making knowledge freely available, via the mechanism of legally-enforced limited exclusivity on products. But I don't see why it's a problem to sell stuff enabled by new knowledge?

NASA agrees with you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36579306)

Virtually all NASA contracts now require open distribution of raw data and published results. There might be a 3-6 month lag from time raw data is received on ground to time it shows up in public accessible database/archiving center (DAAC in NASA speak), but once the pipeline is established, the time lag is expected to be reduced. Now.. openly accessible does not mean "easy for casual users to browse".. but at least it's in standard documented formats and accessible via web/internet standard mechanisms.

It's about time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36578008)

Science should be about free access to other people's discoveries, so that our education and science can use these discoveries. Stuff that is published beyond a paywall is't very useful.
Sometimes people who publish stuff that is available in pay-to-read databases also put their articles and findings on their own site accessible for free.

No Tears (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36578010)

The only people with the right to keep scientific knowledge closed-source are those raised by wolves without so much as even a hint of the nature of linguistics and any thought upon how IT might have evolved. As Newton said: "If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." - it applies no less to someone so nameless their only affiliation with science is the selling of other people's methods.

Re:No Tears (4, Informative)

RobinEggs (1453925) | more than 2 years ago | (#36579564)

As Newton said: "If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants."

Newton was merely quoting when he said this; the original source predates him by 500 years. John of Salisbury [wikipedia.org] first wrote it in 1159. I know it seems pedantic to waste a post on quote attribution, but it's an extremely widespread quotation in nerd circles and not even 1 in 100 people seems to know where it actually came from.

Not to mention that Newton wrote the famous saying in a letter to Robert Hooke, a man with a slight build and severe spinal defect (although these didn't make him especially short), and some authors think it was actually a cutting insult rather than an expression of humility.

Old News (0)

Renraku (518261) | more than 2 years ago | (#36578026)

This has been going on for quite a while, actually. If you're established in the industry you can just hire a professor or grad student and then compel them to use their access..if you aren't established in the industry what do you do?

They haven't provided a decent way to look through scholarly journals that doesn't involve paying off someone at school.

Mexico? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36578028)

Is Warez doing this as some sort of program to educate people so they can enter the US or what? Seems odd to me.

Re:Mexico? (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#36578076)

No, "they're used by upstart companies aboard." It says that in the summary.

Aboard. Just like that.

Aboard what, you may ask.

To you, the doubter, I say: aboard everything.

Re:Mexico? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36578138)

They're pirates, they're aboard the Jolly Rogers, matey!

They've had this one coming (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36578038)

These publishers have been nothing but parasites profiting from publically funded research, selling individual articles for $40 a pop (often being no more then 5 page PDF files!), can't say they didn't deserve this, they probably deserve worse.

Re:They've had this one coming (4, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#36578202)

Generally I have seen lower prices (around $25/paper) but otherwise I agree. It is disgraceful that publishers are doing this, especially considering the fact that a lot of the researchers who participate in the peer review process -- the whole point of having journals -- are volunteers who never see a penny of the proceeds. If we were still publishing journals by printing them, the fee might make sense, but in an age of electronic access there is absolutely no reason for these prices, other than greed on the part of people who contribute nothing to the research.

As an alternative, I would propose that universities host archives of peer reviewed papers, and grant access to everyone. Put those tuition dollars to something worthwhile, instead of replanting the grass every year.

Re:They've had this one coming (0)

second_coming (2014346) | more than 2 years ago | (#36579272)

You need to look at the bigger picture. Journals put relevant articles together and distribute them to selected target audiences, they have a justifiable reason for existing and have to charge to keep running. You aren't just paying for the PDF you are supporting the journal and it's staff to continue working. How else do you think the journals fund themselves?

unreasonable pricing encourages copyright violatio (5, Insightful)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 2 years ago | (#36578040)

It doesn't surprise me at all that there's a huge amount of copyright violation. Here [aps.org] is the paywall page for a classic physics paper describing an experiment that tested a prediction of Einstein's theory of general relativity. The paper was published in 1960. They're willing to sell me the scans of this 5-page paper for $25. I teach physics at a community college, so I don't have free access to this journal online. If the price was something more reasonable, like $1 or maybe even $5, I might have considered paying. But at $25 it's not even an option. I can drive to the local Cal State campus, pull the journal off the shelf, and photocopy this paper for 50 cents. No, that's not copyright violation, because it falls under fair use.

What's really ironic is that new physics papers are essentially all available for free, whereas old ones aren't. Today, almost everyone in the field posts their papers on arxiv.org, where anyone who wants to read them can download them for free.

They're selling convenience (1, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#36578086)

I can drive to the local Cal State campus, pull the journal off the shelf, and photocopy this paper for 50 cents.

They're selling convenience. How much does the gas cost? And how much at your hourly rate does your time cost?

Re:They're selling convenience (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#36578262)

Major universities have a lot of computers available; it would not take a tremendous effort for those universities to host archives of peer-reviewed papers, paid for with tuition dollars. If tuition dollars can be spent replanting the grass on Ivy League campuses year after year (yes, I have seen numerous schools simply tear up old grass and replant it during the summer), why can't tuition dollars be spent making knowledge available to the world? Peer review is often done by volunteers, and so the only justification journals have for their ludicrous fees is that they host electronic copies of the papers (yes they also bind paper copies sometimes; however, this is something that could just as easily be done by any university that hosts an archive).

Re:They're selling convenience (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36579312)

It's not the costs of the computers, or even the bandwidth. Papers are not large files.
The cost is in employing people full-time (or most of their time) to organise it. You're going to need someone to run each subject area, an editiorial board of some variety (which could be the group of people running the subject areas, but that takes up man-hours). Administration to push it all around, to clean things up, and maintain a database.

You'd need:

  • All the departments of a particular sort to sign up for the scheme from a decent group of good universities (like the Russell Group in the UK)
  • Academics to use the journal(s) as their main medium - not just using it as a dumping ground for stuff that can't publish elsewhere
  • A sufficient number of researchers within the overall group, but from different institutions, working on the same research area - if it's going to get anywhere people from within the group will need to be using it as a journal to read, as well as one to publish in.
  • The support of the research council/regulators/funding source. Academic performance is often measured by how many papers people get in which prestigious journals. The people responsible need to be on board, and understand that these departments ratings are going to tank immediately when they stop using the prestigious journals, and start exempting them from that metric in funding decisions (response for other universities complaining about the exemption: "join the scheme and get exempted too!")
  • Relate to the last one. Money. As I explained at the top, you just can't do this on the side with a few hours per week here and there. It's going to take probably each department providing a minimum of one professor-level academic for a day per week, and a full-time clerical/admin/technical bod. Most will be hard-pressed to find the resources for that and that's where the current funding sources come in to recognise it as a worthwhile project and stump up the cash to employ people
  • High-calibre people who can contribute good papers, and have the contacts to build a network of referees for peer review from scratch.

It's do-able, but it'll need a number of pretty big pieces in place before it'll work - it's not something which can be started by a bored grad student with an old box under their desk like IMDB was.

The computing resources, by comparison, ought to cost about half the salary of one admin bod, and ongoing stuff like the electricity, and network capacity probably can be piggy-backed onto the regular load of one of the larger departments.

Re:They're selling convenience (5, Insightful)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 2 years ago | (#36578286)

They're selling convenience. How much does the gas cost? And how much at your hourly rate does your time cost?

I don't object if 7-11 sells me convenience by charging me twice as much as Safeway for a quart of milk. But the last page of the Pound-Rebka paper has the following note: "Supported in part by the joint program of the Office of Naval Research and the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission and by a grant from the Higgins Scientific Trust." This is research that was funded by federal tax money. There is absolutely no excuse for the American Physical Society to be charging such an exorbitant amount of money for access to taxpayer-funded research.

Re:They're selling convenience (2)

MacTO (1161105) | more than 2 years ago | (#36578482)

Not really. Libraries are increasingly ditching subscriptions to print journals. They may not want to do so, but the realities of purchasing, storing, and maintaining print collections leave them with very little choice. They are also reluctant to provide access to electronic journals to outside users, either due to agreements with the publisher or cost-per-access. (They can do that because individual articles are still subject to copyright.)

So no, it's not convenience they're charging for. They're simply trying to redefine how people access their products to maximize their revenues.

Re:They're selling convenience (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36578552)

Not the right question.

He's a community college professor. All he has to do is tell a student "you can have a couple points of extra credit if you go photocopy the paper for me."

Total cost of gas in this option (to the professor): $0.
Total cost of time.. well.. I don't know what he gets paid, but it'll take less than a minute to do. In order for a "convenience" fee of $25 to be convenient, he'd have to be making $1500/hour. Which I strongly suspect is not the case.

See, this is how convenience works. It can cost more if its more readily accessible than the next best available option. Not if its more readily accessible than if you do it/get it yourself, because that doesn't matter.

$1ish for a 20oz drink at a convenience store is okay if I'm thirsty and there for gas anyway. It'll cost me more to go get it myself elsewhere, and I'd have to spend more money/time/effort to get someone else to go get me one and bring it to me at the gas station. But if I'm at home and 2 buddies call me up asking me if I want them to pick up some beer for me, one buddy at the gas station and one at the grocery store, I'm gonna tell the buddy at the grocery store to get my beer. Because the convenience store isn't. I have a better option.

Re:They're selling convenience (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 2 years ago | (#36578770)

Working at a community college? Well, $25 will probably be 4 or 5 hours of his time.

Re:They're selling convenience (3, Insightful)

Raenex (947668) | more than 2 years ago | (#36578902)

They're selling convenience.

Partially, but the vast majority of that cost is artificial scarcity due to copyright. Don't you think your parent poster would like to put his scanned copy up on his web page? There are a lot of seminal papers in science locked behind paywalls and copyright, many -- if not most -- made with public funding.

Re:They're selling convenience (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 2 years ago | (#36579140)

That's if the library subscribes to a paper copy of the journal. If they use SciFinder, you'll find it difficult.

Re:unreasonable pricing encourages copyright viola (0)

Legal.Troll (2002574) | more than 2 years ago | (#36578254)

So, because you don't feel like heading to the library to make that photocopy, you think you'd be justified in ripping off the digital copy that some company has made available online at its own expense?

Gee, sounds like a sucker's game to me. If that's the way you want to play, don't be surprised if the online publishers close up shop and tell you to hoof it to one of those awesome locations where you can get the information more or less for free, at your own expense. Because Lord knows nobody's obligated to start up a business to cater to your whims by providing services you're not willing to pay for.

What's that? Oh, you're just complaining about the price point? I suppose I should have noticed that from the start and disregarded your comment entirely.

Re:unreasonable pricing encourages copyright viola (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#36578308)

ripping off the digital copy that some company has made available online at its own expense?

Expenses that are paid for by universities without regard to who access the paper. These companies are not suffering because someone accesses these papers; their income is as close to guaranteed as is conceivable.

don't be surprised if the online publishers close up shop

When they have such a cozy arrangement with researchers, why would they close up shop? These journals are not paying for the papers they host, they are not paying the reviewers (in many cases the reviewers are volunteers) and they are getting enormous amounts of money from the subscription fees that research institutions pay. There would be no reason for the publishers to close shop, when they are not losing money.

awesome locations where you can get the information more or less for free

You mean a "university." Or perhaps the library system of a major city. Or even a community college, as many community colleges do pay for subscriptions to prominent journals. These publishers get money from a lot of places, and the revenue stream is not going to go away until someone establishes a better system for making articles available to the world.

Re:unreasonable pricing encourages copyright viola (5, Informative)

pla (258480) | more than 2 years ago | (#36578414)

So, because you don't feel like heading to the library to make that photocopy, you think you'd be justified in ripping off the digital copy that some company has made available online at its own expense?

So, have you stopped beating your wife yet?

I feel justified in accessing, by any means authorized or not, content that MY GODDAMNED TAX DOLLARS already paid for.

If Elsevier et al don't like those terms, they have every right to see how long they last without any content derived from public funding.

Re:unreasonable pricing encourages copyright viola (1)

Miamicanes (730264) | more than 2 years ago | (#36579492)

> If Elsevier et al don't like those terms, they have every right to see how long they last without any content derived from public funding.

Frankly, I'd be satisfied if Google would just fucking give us an option to completely exclude search results behind paywalls. Yes, I know you can sometimes avoid them by just ignoring anything that doesn't have a link to view from Google's cache (big tip-off), but it's still annoying how they've increasingly littered their search results with that crap.

Or, as MrSafety sang (in a slightly different context, slightly paraphrased)... "I will not will not pay... I will not will not pay... the stuff's o-kay-ayy, but I still will not pay..."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BhhiO8ZIols [youtube.com]

Re:unreasonable pricing encourages copyright viola (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 2 years ago | (#36578436)

I'm pretty sure you have a misunderstanding of fair-use there. Care to cite the copyright code that allowed you to do that?

Re:unreasonable pricing encourages copyright viola (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36578512)

17 U.S.C. 107 [cornell.edu]

Re:unreasonable pricing encourages copyright viola (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 2 years ago | (#36578570)

Yeah, exactly, for example:
(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and

Clearly indicates that a full copy is not going to qualify, and every element must be met for fair use.

"In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include"

Re:unreasonable pricing encourages copyright viola (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36578666)

That's not the way it works. Fair use allows the use of all portions necessary to carry out the use. A full copy can be used if it is _legitimately_ used for educational use. The four factors listed are just that factors. In the law, the term "factors" has a very specific meaning and that is that they are things to consider whether or not a certain test is met (unlike elements which all have to be met). This means that if three factors point one way and the three the other the answer can still go both ways, depending on their weight. The court is required to examine and give their determination as to which way the factors go towards fair use, but given the nature of the paper it could very well be that the whole paper is required in order to properly teach it or provide context or the like. Therefore, depending on how it is actually used reproduction of the whole does not automatically result in a finding that the use was not fair.

Re:unreasonable pricing encourages copyright viola (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36579112)

Sorry, no. Following that logic, I could just photocopy a 300 page college textbook and hand it out to everyone in every college class taking that subject, because it is legitimately used for education use.

No, you can't do that, because it's not fair use,and it's not legal.

Re:unreasonable pricing encourages copyright viola (4, Informative)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 2 years ago | (#36578696)

Clearly indicates that a full copy is not going to qualify, and every element must be met for fair use.

No, that's incorrect. The code does not say that all four factors must be met, and that isn't how the courts have interpreted it. The WP article [wikipedia.org] specifically addresses your misconception: "Common misunderstandings: [...] If you're copying an entire work, it's not fair use. While copying an entire work may make it harder to justify the amount and substantiality test, it does not make it impossible that a use is fair use. For instance, in the Betamax case, it was ruled that copying a complete television show for time-shifting purposes is fair use."

Re:unreasonable pricing encourages copyright viola (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36578576)

You're lucky there's no -1 'wrong' mod or I would have slapped you with it.

Wiki: [wikipedia.org]

Fair use, a limitation and exception to the exclusive right granted by copyright law to the author of a creative work, is a doctrine in United States copyright law that allows limited use of copyrighted material without acquiring permission from the rights holders. Examples of fair use include commentary, criticism, news reporting, research, teaching, library archiving and scholarship.

Emphasis mine.

No, I'm not going to find the precise piece of legislation for you. If you want to be that pedantic then do it yourself (I'll give you a hint: you can probably find it in Wiki's sources). That's like if someone said "murder is illegal" and you were like, "Oh yeah, what precise piece of legislation says that?"

Yes, teachers can make copies of copyrighted material and use it in the classroom.

Re:unreasonable pricing encourages copyright viola (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 2 years ago | (#36578600)

I have looked it up, and the 'limited' use is precisely what he runs afoul of by making a complete copy.

Re:unreasonable pricing encourages copyright viola (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 2 years ago | (#36578626)

BTW, if interested, look at the other mistaken AC's post in response to mine and you can read the actual law that supports my position.

Re:unreasonable pricing encourages copyright viola (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 2 years ago | (#36579100)

I have. The law does not support your position. It says the amount of copied material is a consideration in finding whether or not it is fair use; it does not say it determines whether it is fair use. The law, for those of you who do want to read it: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.html [cornell.edu]

Re:unreasonable pricing encourages copyright viola (2)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 2 years ago | (#36579062)

Care to cite the copyright code that allowed you to do that?

US Code 17 U.S.C. Â 107 [cornell.edu] . Specifically, exceptions to copyright are allowed when the copying is for "teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research." Assuming the OP is doing it for one of those purposes (and he is faculty at a community college), he falls within fair use.

Re:unreasonable pricing encourages copyright viola (1)

exentropy (1822632) | more than 2 years ago | (#36578630)

I can drive to the local Cal State campus, pull the journal off the shelf, and photocopy this paper for 50 cents.

How much does gas cost where you live?!

Of course, if a student gets caught (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36578054)

They're risking sanction by their university for abuse of systems.

Stealth student (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#36578406)

What if the student enrolled for the sole purpose of selling his access to the highest bidder?

Re:Stealth student (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#36578448)

I doubt that anyone is bidding high enough to justify the cost of even a single semester's tuition. My guess is that these login credentials are either being obtained by some unauthorized means or that some undergrad whose parents are paying for his education is selling his login to get some extra money.

Re:Stealth student (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36578500)

Many of the top universities of the world don't have any fees (e.g. northern European ones).

Academic publishing is a scam anyhow (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36578064)

It's absurd that research is funded by the tax payer, but when it's submitted to a journal, they want to claim the copyright - even the original author of the work doesn't have the right to re-publish it.

In return for this, what does the journal do? Well, they have the submission checked out by a team of reviewers. Except none of these are payed for their services (which is probably as it should be, otherwise that could introduce bias). But the journal's not out of pocket there. Again, it's likely the tax-payer footing the bill.

The other thing the journal does is actually publish the final, peer-reviewed articles. Except, these days, no-one in their right mind would bother with dead trees. It's a massive waste, both to produce and distribute, and much slower and less convenient for all concerned. So they just stick the papers on a website.

I'm sure that any academic institution would be willing to host the papers for free.

I'm all for anything that breaks the stranglehold these parasites have over the world of academia. Divulging login details isn't piracy, it's reclaiming rights that should never have been surrendered in the first place.

Re:Academic publishing is a scam anyhow (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 2 years ago | (#36578204)

Web sites are not so good for long term archives. I shudder to think what would be lost if publishing to web sites became the norm.

Re:Academic publishing is a scam anyhow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36578280)

If web-only science isn't the norm already, it won't be long before it is. I work at a research institute that no longer orders any journals on paper, and hasn't done so for several years. All we get is paid-for web access to scientific journals.

Re:Academic publishing is a scam anyhow (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 2 years ago | (#36578394)

Ordering access to journals via web access doesn't preclude the existence of good paper archives somewhere.

It's the idea that all you have to do is post a PDF on some server that I find scary. Is that server going to around 150 years from now?

And yes, some of the primary sources in my dissertation are more than 150 years old.

Re:Academic publishing is a scam anyhow (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#36578416)

So universities can maintain microfilm archives in addition to providing electronic access. The question that lingers in my mind is, why do we still have academic publishers making boatloads of money selling access to journals, when there is no longer any real reason for those publishers to exist?

Re:Academic publishing is a scam anyhow (1)

tulcod (1056476) | more than 2 years ago | (#36578584)

Because research groups get paid for publishing their articles with big publishers. This is the way research works: once you discover something interesting, you can publish it, thus getting funding for more research, and this is also the reason "failed" research is so immensely impopular, especially in capitalist america.

Re:Academic publishing is a scam anyhow (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#36578606)

Yes but the question is why are we still living with a system of publishing with these companies, when:
  1. They don't pay a cent for the research
  2. They don't pay the reviewers
  3. We don't need them to print the articles for us

Re:Academic publishing is a scam anyhow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36579280)

Someone still needs to fulfill the role of the editor. It's a lot more work than just reviewing he occasional paper that's forwarded to you. I've reviewed a lot of articles. I'll do that any day rather than the workload I've seen of friends who work as editors of journals in addition to running their lab. Pay for that position is definitely in order.

Re:Academic publishing is a scam anyhow (1)

second_coming (2014346) | more than 2 years ago | (#36579342)

Because they distribute the articles to the correct target audience and also act as a filter to stop important research being lost in a sea of dross.

Re:Is that server ...around 150 years from now? (1)

music65536 (2309806) | more than 2 years ago | (#36579428)

Hello. Your question is indeed important. Certainly, individual servers will not last more than a few years. But once information is truly authorized to be free, it will be mirrored worldwide forever.

Brewster Kahle of Internet Archive fame has indeed worked upon addressing your concern. His solution is a multi tiered approach. Adapted here, it becomes: First, volatile copies would be available from local nodes such as p2p & torrents. Second level medium copies are available from volunteer archives whose function is to coral cache / distribute loads for spot questions and curious onlookers.

Then the higher level copies are the universities themselves, whose servers are more focused on heavy users. At the final level a few people do extinction checks and if too many sources go down they would repopulate the web with the text again down the layers.

Re:Academic publishing is a scam anyhow (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 2 years ago | (#36578688)

I shudder to think what would be lost if publishing to web sites became the norm.

What the parent likely mean was some sort of website backed by a database which properly indexes, links and cross references the paper in such a way that it can be queried, referenced and excerpted as needed. Care should be taken not to confuse the data storage model with the view(s) of that data when discussing such concepts.

Re:Academic publishing is a scam anyhow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36578854)

There was this invention in the 80s/90s , some physicist at CERN wanted a better way to publish and share articles, what was it again?

Oh, thats right Tim Berners Lee [wikipedia.org] invented the web...

Re:Academic publishing is a scam anyhow (1)

Mogusha (1091607) | more than 2 years ago | (#36578346)

I'm pretty sure that not being paid would instroduce more bias than having some kind of standard rate. The reason I say this is because many of the reviewers will just briefly look over the paper and give some kind of default opinion on it without really reading it well. With monetary incentive they may do a better job of reviewing it as their time is paid for.

Then again, it could also introduce a problem where people still just give a default review and take the money.

Perhaps a study needs to be done on this so that the journal can be locked behind a paywall never to be read by anyone as the price would be too high.

Re:Academic publishing is a scam anyhow (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#36578404)

You know that many of the researchers who participate in the peer review process are volunteers, right? Peer review is important enough to research that researchers will often do it for the greater good; it is also looks pretty good on a CV to be invited to review articles for a prestigious journal.

Aboard. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36578080)

I traveled aboard to the UK and the Continent when I was 21. There were many upstart companies there.

Publisher DRM activities (1)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | more than 2 years ago | (#36578084)

And piss-poor journalism, also. Subtitle "...while safeguards can be a hassle for users, librarians say the effort is worth it..." - name a single, identifiable librarian who gives a pinch of shit if the paid-journal asshats get their pound of flesh every time someone reads an article. The journal publishers can all go fuck themselves. Knowledge is to be shared, and nobody else gives a damn if these assholes make money off of it.

Re:Publisher DRM activities (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36578210)

I certainly don't. Never did and never will.

Where I work, the library staff was always forced to read and sign "educational literature" on article (and book) copyrights. It essentially prohibited us from providing services to patrons outside some questionable guidelines. It was completely contrary to the purpose of having a library. So most of the time, when the supervisor wasn't around, I would go to through my "Technically, I'm not supposed to this but... do you have a flash drive?" routine.

Interns (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36578122)

Doesn't most cheap companies already hire them for just for this reason? Access to all the journals for free.

Re:Interns (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36578294)

Doesn't most cheap companies already hire them for just for this reason? Access to all the journals for free.

[posting as AC, for certain reasons]

With my commercial employer (whence most of my income derives), my other position as a Docent [wikipedia.org] at the regional university is occasionally problematic in this regard. I obviously have access to whatever articles I need for my teaching or to support students whose research I supervise. However, I do not consider this as being a carte blanche for supplying articles to persons on the other side of the world who happen to share the same commercial employer. Firstly, my time with my employer has value - I am not a mere slave to provide articles through alternative channels. Secondly, my activity with my commercial employer is not inseparable from my academic position - they provide independent incomes, and involve different activities. I expect any "interns" would behave at least as ethically.

Having said that, the issue for tax funded research is (or should be) clearly different from similar issues for independent or commercially funded research. Results which are fully or predominantly paid for by taxation should indeed be made freely available.

meh.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36578430)

Virtually all the academic publishers using paywalls for journal articles are parasites. We should deprive them of income at every opportunity. I'd therefore happily use my numerous old academic VPN accounts to access "parasite" journals for my own work or a cube mate's work. There are of course legit journals that're wholly owned by academic societies or university departments for whome I'd make my employer pay for access. And I'd never endanger the security at academic institutions by sharing my credentials, or waste my time downloading stuff for strangers.

What do they expect? (2)

Tasha26 (1613349) | more than 2 years ago | (#36578168)

For years now, I've been meaning to view those video lectures of Great Theoretical Ideas [cmu.edu] in Computer Science from CMU. But all I get is a wall asking for my WedISO login. Btw if u have it, post it here! :)

Web server logs (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36578276)

I run a small webserver inside an .edu domain -- looking at my error logs I see daily attempts from Chinese IP addresses to connect to Science Direct and other subscription-only services, presumably looking for open proxies or connections to subscription only services accessible from users within my machine's IP block -- and this presumably explains why.

Re:Web server logs (2)

wulfmans (794904) | more than 2 years ago | (#36578328)

Chinese ip's scan every ip on the internet, you are not alone. Install fail2ban and problem solved. Unless you run windows.

State of the DB (1)

metalmaster (1005171) | more than 2 years ago | (#36578362)

My local community college has some access to scholarly journals. My vo-tech high school had a limited selection as well. One thing I can say for sure is the selection and the search mechanic were pure shit. A broad search returned full articles that weren't even remotely relevant. A search that was even slightly refined would only turn up abstracts and citations. My school boasted having access to EBSCOhost(apparently the Google of scholarly journals) but I found it to be the least helpful of our resources.

Maybe tuition at some fancy 4 year schools pays for more journals, but the selection at my local community college wasnt great.

Good, those publishers are leeches anyway (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36578424)

I work for one of those educational / journal publishers and I can confirm that they are antediluvian leeches that contribute absolutely nothing to the sum of human knowledge and they simply want you to pay for content again and again and again and are NO different than the record companies we've, um, smashed. Seriously, they help inflate the cost of education with their insane pricing models and generally crap technology. I say put them all out of business and let each university manage their publications for the general good.

Been looking for something like this for a while (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36578452)

I have a chronic illness and subscribe to a listserv to keep up with the latest research findings. However the majority of the time people just post a paper's abstract and then it's anybody's guess whether the fulltext will be available online, behind a paywall, etc. It's a huge pain in the ass for everyone involved.

Also (and fairly off topic), since other commentators have brought up the subject of the internet making physical copies of journals almost obsolete, it also doesn't seem to have sunk in to those in charge that with the internet there is now absolutely no reason not to require authors to publish the full data set behind research papers, which would significantly aid in the scientific process since anyone who wanted to would be able to double-check the data and see if the authors' conclusions were adequate, etc.

Upstart? (1)

Fieryphoenix (1161565) | more than 2 years ago | (#36578474)

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Re:Upstart? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36578998)

I assume that they mean "startup companies" rather than "upstart companies".

Science should be open anyways (3, Informative)

moglito (1355533) | more than 2 years ago | (#36578558)

If everyone would just publish their papers on their web sites, as most computer scientists do (e.g., using bibbase.org [bibbase.org] ), then this wouldn't be necessary. Of course, journals need to secure their funding, but I believe that with the web and the new open (peer) reviewing approaches, we don't really need journals all that badly anymore. Also, in computer science, e.g., it seems that there are now conferences that have higher standards of acceptance than the top journals in the respective fields. That is not to suggest to remove the concept of longer, more thoroughly reviewed articles though. They are important too, but could be reviewed and published in different ways (web). Print is so 19th century :-)

Re:Science should be open anyways (5, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#36578658)

journals need to secure their funding

Funding for what, exactly? There is no reason journals need to print and bind paper copies (the only places you really see those is in the library of a research institution, and those places are entirely capable of binding things on their own if they need to), nor do we need journals to host archives of papers (which any big university is more than capable of doing). Journals do not pay for peer review, nor do journals fund research. So what money do journals need to secure?

Re:Science should be open anyways (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#36579076)

Journals are even less justified in expecting to be paid than newspapers are. At least newspapers tend to contribute something of value in exchange for asking to be paid. Journals contribute little to no value to society, in the past that wasn't the case, but at this point, the cost of actually distributing papers is pretty trivial to the point where a $20 a year fee should more than cover the cost and by quite a bit.

There's Always A Way... (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 2 years ago | (#36578768)

Really, the only problem with journals now is regarding older material. The NIH is the largest government funding source for biomedical research in this country, and they set a requirement for results to be in open-access or accessible formats for NIH-funded work [nih.gov] . This means that new work funded by NIH grants, even if it is published in Nature or other notoriously expensive journals, will have its published results available free of charge.

Of course, academics are aware of the problems getting to other expensive journals and their archives. If you can find someone on the inside sympathetic to your cause, you can probably work something out. I won't name names, but I was able to talk a friend of mine at a large university to let me set up an old Linux system in his lab, that automatically sets up an X-forwarding reverse SSH connection to my own system at home. The result of that of course is I can run an X application on that system - which is inside their network - anytime I want access to journals that they subscribe to.

Certainly other people could make similar arrangements through friends, friends-of-friends, or similar.

States pay for access to various databases... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36578966)

...for the public. In most public libraries that I've been to (which, granted, aren't that many but there have been a few), library assistants can help you log in to various academic research journal databases for doing research.

At one point about 4 years ago, I called my local library in El Paso, TX (where I lived at the time) and asked them some questions about this. The library assistant was more than eager to help, and he *gave me the username and password for the State of Texas' library system to login to research databases, such as EBSCO, etc. OVER THE PHONE.*

I started accessing stuff from home immediately : ) Unfortunately I've since lost the account credentials, but this approach, without any social engineering at all, worked out well for me (unexpectedly well!).

Of course I can't speak for all states in the US, but you can of course give it a try! YMMV, but it worked for me once!

tax funded research (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36579302)

A moot point, perhaps, but tax funded research in other often developing nations needs to be published in the same journals. When a handful of pdf files costs more than a student's work for a month, something is very wrong. This is not theft of US based IP, but instead the limiting of free exchange of ideas, knowledge and understanding between the world's academics. The US may do much of the world's science, but every country tries to do great science and this can only be measured through scientific impact in peer reviewed journals?

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