Academic Pirates Trade Science Articles

Mimi Szeto | The Varsity | November 5, 2009

Those in the medical field may be illegally distributing academic journal articles, a recent report reveals. Thousands of journal articles not available through open access have been posted online via a web forum geared at medical students and professionals, according to a study published in The Internet Journal of Medical Informatics. Users of the unnamed website requested a total of 6,587 articles within a six-month period last year, successfully retrieving 83 per cent of them.

Academic journals usually require paid subscriptions, so researchers who cannot find and pay for the articles must find an alternative. In total, the forum’s users saved an estimated $1.4 million a year. The figure was calculated based on page views and individual prices for each article, ranging from $7 to $100.