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LIBLICENSE-L  March 2016

LIBLICENSE-L March 2016

Subject:

Re: SciHub

From:

LIBLICENSE <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

LibLicense-L Discussion Forum <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 13 Mar 2016 21:16:30 -0400

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From: "Jean-Claude Guédon" <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Fri, 11 Mar 2016 10:41:20 -0500

In response to Alex Holzman, let me clarify something again.

OA and Sci-Hub are two entirely different activities. I wok on the OA
side of things, not Sci-Hub.

I do distinguish between well-behaved presses, and greedy presses.
This is quite different from a list of presses that could be, to use
your words, ripped off.

This said, I am trying to understand why something like Sci-Hub should
exist at all. That is why I have tried various metaphors, some
borrowed from others, some my own. Robin Hood, etc. Instead of
expressing indignation, I am trying to analyze the situation. What
makes Sci-Hub possible? Is it just bad people is there something more
to it.

I have nothing against copyright and publishers trying to enforce
copyright. However,  I believe it creates a Procrustean bed that is
not well suited to scholarly materials and research results. I firmly
believe that such materials should be treated in a separate,
appropriate manner where the objective would be optimal accessibility
rather than optimal profit. But that is also an entirely different
issue, one which has little to do with Sci-Hub.

I do have a lot to say against publishers who generate a 40% profit.
And I do not have to reflect long to understand why some people, in
some countries, resort to piracy and even some form of direct action.
When social, economic or institutional situations reach certain
thresholds, forms of behaviour begin to appear that transgress
established rules. Eventually, in many cases, the pressure induced by
the situation brings about changes in the rules and the gestures
originally viewed as transgressions, bad behaviour, trouble making,
etc., tend to be reinterpreted, often as acts of courage, although not
always and not necessarily so.

University presses do not generate 40% profit, and their modes level
of income, if it even exists, is entirely justified. I have no quarrel
with them, quite the contrary. Many of the positions adopted by UPs
reflect their economic and institutional fragility. Even when I
disagree with a specific position taken by UPs, I generally understand
why they end up where they are. Incidentally, understanding does not
mean condoning or agreeing.

What I have not done is sounding indignant with regard to Sci-hub. I
have not because I am trying to maintain a critical distance to all of
this.

Finally, let me reiterate that Sci-Hub has nothing to do wit OA. OA
has always been respectful of copyright and its heavy reliance on CC
licenses is the best proof of this assertion.


Jean-Claude Guédon

Professeur titulaire
Littérature comparée
Université de Montréal



Le jeudi 10 mars 2016 à 19:49 -0500, LIBLICENSE a écrit :

From: Alex Holzman <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Wed, 9 Mar 2016 23:10:23 -0500

Jean-Claude, let me try to understand your position.  You think
violating the copyright of all publishers is ok because some
publishers are "viewed as unacceptable"?  Or do you think every
publisher trying to enforce copyright is by definition unacceptable?
Including, say, university presses and learned societies who not only
do not earn anything remotely close to 30% profits every year, but
often turn every penny of what they do earn back into the publication
of other scholars' work or the promotion of other scholarly activities
by means of things like teaching and research grants?  Or do you have
a list of publishers whose copyright it's ok to infringe and another
list of those whose articles you would not download because they're
trying in their own way--perhaps not your way, but their own way--to
further scholarship?  Cause last time I looked, university presses and
learned societies are not generating "profits" or even surplus
anywhere near the rates you like to cite when justifying your actions.
What's a fair return for a press operating at an overall deficit to
begin with?  Or a learned society that uses journal earnings to
support their members, who after all, are scholars themselves?

I'm just very, very confused about how you decide who deserves to have
their publications ripped off and who does not.  And if the answer is
everyone, what's the justification?  Because you can not in any
sensible interpretation of the scholarly publishing world as it exists
today accuse all academic publishers of avarice just because they
still employ an end user pays model in conducting their business.

Thanks,

Alex Holzman

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