Alexandra Elbakyan is a highbrow pirate in hiding. The 27-year-old graduate student from Kazakhstan is operating a searchable online database of nearly 50 million stolen scholarly journal articles, shattering the $10 billion-per-year paywall of academic publishers.
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“While we don’t condone fraud and using illegal sources, I will say that I appreciate how she is shining a light on just how out of whack the system is of providing easy access to basic information that our universities and scholars need to advance science and research,” said Heather Joseph, executive director of SPARC, an organization that advocates for open access to research. “This has been a problem for decades.”
ROBERT STEELE: First off, the articles were all stolen from the authors in the first place by Elsevier and Thompson Reuters using legalized criminal processes. This is what happens when banks and corporations own the government, it is called fascism. Open Access means free, instantly. Not $1000 charged to the author by the pseudo alternatives, not twelve months later as called for by the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). It’s time to dump ALL journals published by Elsevier and Thompson Reuters — clean sheet fresh start with a distributed blockchain network in which the peer review occurs over time at the paragraph level (aggregated to the article level), and links can be made by anyone between paragraphs across all articles and all journals. I personally no longer publish with anyone that does not agree that an author’s copy can go up on my own websites. Below is what I offered Thompson Reuters, a $12 billion company on its way down, as a solution. They refused to even consider it. These ideas are freely available to anyone, including Michael Bloomberg (my favorite but he has some huge issues of his own). Bloomberg could fund the Open Source (Technologies) Agency, half of it is information-oriented, and rule the world within the decade — unfortunately Bloomberg is surrounded by people who fear any idea that will displace their existing next eggs, most of which are spoiling fast — the Bloomberg Box, for example, and his so-called Bloomberg Intelligence run by market analysts without a clue.