Man Posts Torrent of 18,592 Academic Papers



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The torrent starts with the title

"Papers from Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society"

You can search for that on



isn't the one of the tenets of 'science' the free sharing of information?




Electronic copy, free.

You want a printed copy then you pay for the printing.


The information itself should be free.



I can get lots of journals from my university's online library.  But thats only available if your a student..



Yes, if those institutions are supported by my tax dollars then that work is mine to access at no cost. If we the people continue to accept this type of behavior then such institutions will 'double dip' and stick it to the tax payer at both ends. How about we the tax payer vote to make those institutions pay their own way completely? How bout them apples?



I don't even know why I am even posting Maxwell said it best

“If I can remove even one dollar of ill-gained income from a poisonous industry which acts to suppress scientific and historic understanding, then whatever personal cost I suffer will be justified,”

our laws of copyright and patents have lived past their days. the days of the internet weren't even dreampt of when they written. the next problem is they are written and approved by people that don't have a clue how the internet works or how it does what it does in any way shape or form.

all they know is money is changing hands and it is not changing into their hands.

these papers exist for the betterment of humanity (that is why I percieve the authors wrote it, or it could have just been a final project.) regardless.

this is just another case of an ancient system designed with good intentions to promote advancement being abused in the name of greed.



As somebody who has actually had scientific papers published in peer reviewed journals, I may have a different viewpoint. Yes, I agree that all knowledge should be available for free, BUT - publishing is expensive and the costs need to be paid by somebody. Right now the costs are paid partly by the author but mostly by the universities or other entities that buy the printed journals from the publishers. The publishers make money from this and fiercly protect their copyrights. Eliminating the printed journal would greatly reduce the cost, but going through the rest of the process would still be expensive. I'd like to see a system that could make all of scientific knowledge free for everybody through the internet; I'm open to suggestions. I have no love for the big publishers.

In the meantime, you can go to any university library and read the journals for free. You can also write to the authors and they can either send you a reprint for free (which costs the authors dearly) or they can email a PDF of the article.



What exactly does a publisher do that a university or author can't do on their own?

I would think that giving a publisher copyright over your work seems just plain silly.  Is it for prestige to published in a particular journal? Fact checking? Proofreading? Distribution to the far reaches of the world?  Is a printed copy of a paper that important?  Does it act as a clearing house to highlight the best papers, kind of like separating the wheat from the chaff?

I ask this because I simply don't know.



You ask some good questions; I'll do my best to answer.

Reputation of a journal is very important, as is distribution. While some universities have published their own journals, they tend to be be minor publications with limited distribution. While it's posible a major university could start publishing a major journal, it would take a great many years to develop a positive reputation. It's important that the journal not have a vested interest in the papers being published, which is why a university should not publish its own papers.

For scientific fields, a paper is submitted to a journal for acceptance. An editor will determine if the paper is appropriate for the journal (a physics journal doesn't want plant biochemistry papers) and then send copies to at least 3 reputable people in the same field. These reviewers go over the paper with a fine tooth comb and can recommend to either reject, accept, or accept with revisions. Most papers need revisions; sometimes this means more lab work. When the paper is finally accepted for publication, the typeset copy is sent back to the author for proofreading. Professors are not in this for the money; it costs them (or their research grant or university) to publish their work. I won't speculate on how it became normal for the publishers to own the coptright.

I would love to see the expensive paper journals become all electronic, which would have the added benefit of saving a tremendous amount of library space. Maybe then all academic work could be public domain.




The cost of publication is highly inflated.  Anyone with a laser printer and a book binding machine can "publish" something.  You don't need an offset printing press anymore.

Academic "publishing" is nothing but a racket.  As someone who went through college and had to deal with the outrageous textbook prices, I can personally attest to this. I did some research and it turns out that, at JSTOR, there are ~10 employees making a salary greater than $250,000 a year.  Yet, somehow, they've managed to get non-profit status which is laughable since they are about as for-profit as you can get.

It should also be illegal to charge for access to taxpayer funded research.  If you accept taxpayer money, you have to make your work public domain.  See, that's how this entire racket works.  Taxpayers pay for the research and then the researchers pay the publishers with taxpayer money.  In essence, what JSTOR do is sit back, collect taxpayer money and then charge outrageous prices to access the research that was funded with taxpayer money to begin with. 



I can see the argument that publishing is very expensive, especially those who do not have full tenure and support from the university.  However, publishing within academia is big business and these publishing houses know how to play the system.

When I used to work in a lab, the publishers would come in every near the end-of-term of the spring semester and try to convince university officials, deans, and the instructors to buy their materials.  Meanwhile, they get wined and dined through 'conferences' and other lunch meets; the institutions would also receive grant money and scholarships.  All this is to ensure the every new year in September, students would be required to buy a new edition (rendering last year's materials 'out-dated').

Back to the story, knowledge should be free and shouldn't be withheld for the sake of the almighty dollar.  If it can help in a big way (like cure for cancer), don't witthold such knowledge.  That being said, authors should have a right to recover the cost of the research and publishing the materials; just don't forget that lots of academy are supported by public funds.



These articles should definitely be free.  If people want to better themselves by reading academic papers or find reliable sources for their papers, then more power to them.  Charging people for the privilege to learn something important or verify a fact is just limiting these people that have a desire to learn (or verify) and, to me, money-grubbing by the people running these databases.



I too agree that scientific/academic works should be freely available. Academia is NOT supposed to be for profit, but for the enlightenment and enrichment of anyone who wants to be enlightened and enriched, but...

...we'll be seeing this a lot more often, and we'll also be seeing the RIAA/MPAA-esque lawsuit campaigns too, instead, it will be universities and other institutions of academia going on the witch hunt =P




Academia does not make a profit from Academic papers. The publisher owns the copyright and makes the profit. The author and the university pay a fee for publishing a paper.



"Do you think scientific papers should be available for free download from academic journals?"

Yes, yes I do.



yes i do, too. 

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