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      Is Open Access

      Sci-Hub provides access to nearly all scholarly literature

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          Abstract

          The website Sci-Hub enables users to download PDF versions of scholarly articles, including many articles that are paywalled at their journal’s site. Sci-Hub has grown rapidly since its creation in 2011, but the extent of its coverage has been unclear. Here we report that, as of March 2017, Sci-Hub’s database contains 68.9% of the 81.6 million scholarly articles registered with Crossref and 85.1% of articles published in toll access journals. We find that coverage varies by discipline and publisher, and that Sci-Hub preferentially covers popular, paywalled content. For toll access articles, we find that Sci-Hub provides greater coverage than the University of Pennsylvania, a major research university in the United States. Green open access to toll access articles via licit services, on the other hand, remains quite limited. Our interactive browser at https://greenelab.github.io/scihub allows users to explore these findings in more detail. For the first time, nearly all scholarly literature is available gratis to anyone with an Internet connection, suggesting the toll access business model may become unsustainable.

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          The Oligopoly of Academic Publishers in the Digital Era

          The consolidation of the scientific publishing industry has been the topic of much debate within and outside the scientific community, especially in relation to major publishers’ high profit margins. However, the share of scientific output published in the journals of these major publishers, as well as its evolution over time and across various disciplines, has not yet been analyzed. This paper provides such analysis, based on 45 million documents indexed in the Web of Science over the period 1973-2013. It shows that in both natural and medical sciences (NMS) and social sciences and humanities (SSH), Reed-Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, Springer, and Taylor & Francis increased their share of the published output, especially since the advent of the digital era (mid-1990s). Combined, the top five most prolific publishers account for more than 50% of all papers published in 2013. Disciplines of the social sciences have the highest level of concentration (70% of papers from the top five publishers), while the humanities have remained relatively independent (20% from top five publishers). NMS disciplines are in between, mainly because of the strength of their scientific societies, such as the ACS in chemistry or APS in physics. The paper also examines the migration of journals between small and big publishing houses and explores the effect of publisher change on citation impact. It concludes with a discussion on the economics of scholarly publishing.
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            Open access: The true cost of science publishing.

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              The Number of Scholarly Documents on the Public Web

              The number of scholarly documents available on the web is estimated using capture/recapture methods by studying the coverage of two major academic search engines: Google Scholar and Microsoft Academic Search. Our estimates show that at least 114 million English-language scholarly documents are accessible on the web, of which Google Scholar has nearly 100 million. Of these, we estimate that at least 27 million (24%) are freely available since they do not require a subscription or payment of any kind. In addition, at a finer scale, we also estimate the number of scholarly documents on the web for fifteen fields: Agricultural Science, Arts and Humanities, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Economics and Business, Engineering, Environmental Sciences, Geosciences, Material Science, Mathematics, Medicine, Physics, Social Sciences, and Multidisciplinary, as defined by Microsoft Academic Search. In addition, we show that among these fields the percentage of documents defined as freely available varies significantly, i.e., from 12 to 50%.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: Reviewing Editor
                Journal
                eLife
                Elife
                eLife
                eLife
                eLife Sciences Publications, Ltd
                2050-084X
                01 March 2018
                2018
                : 7
                Affiliations
                [1 ]deptDepartment of Systems Pharmacology and Translational Therapeutics University of Pennsylvania PhiladelphiaUnited States
                [2 ]Bidwise, Inc MiamiUnited States
                [3 ]deptLibrary Technology Services and Strategic Initiatives University of Pennsylvania PhiladelphiaUnited States
                [4 ]deptSchool of Life and Environmental Sciences Deakin University MelbourneAustralia
                [5 ]deptSchool of Information University of Texas at Austin AustinUnited States
                [6 ]deptDepartment of Applied Bioinformatics, Institute of Cell Biology and Neuroscience Goethe University FrankfurtGermany
                [7 ]deptDepartment of Systems Pharmacology and Translational Therapeutics University of Pennsylvania PhiladelphiaUnited States
                eLife United Kingdom
                eLife United Kingdom
                Article
                32822
                10.7554/eLife.32822
                5832410
                29424689
                © 2018, Himmelstein et al

                This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.

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                Feature Article
                Research
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                The availability of almost all articles from toll access journals in the Sci-Hub repository will disrupt scholarly publishing towards more open models.

                Life sciences

                sci-hub, open access, copyright, journals, libgen, paywalls, none

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