Shadow Libraries

iRights.info is carrying a very interesting interview (in German) with Balázs Bodó on the size of and the motivation behind the large scientific electronic shadow libraries that have sprung from earlier efforts to disseminate scientific papers and books in Russia. The interview particularly focuses on the conditions of academic teaching in countries where universities and research institutes cannot afford to buy expensive books or to pay the subscription fees that scientific publishers are asking for.

While the complicated topic of repositories which provide illegal access to scientific literature is to some extent orthogonal to our interests in establishing open access publication procedures with high-standard quality control, their existence and their success highlights some of the most fundamental problems with a culture that hides the most essential tools of scientists behind paywalls.

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