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Academic journal file-sharing (Chronicle of Higher Education)

Chronicle of Higher Education
October 30, 2009, 02:37 PM ET
The Latest File-Sharing Piracy: Academic Journals
By Ben Terris

Illicit file sharing isn't just for kids these days. Once mainly 
used for downloading pirated music, sites have sprung up on the 
Internet that allow free swapping of academic journals (think 
Napster's younger dweeby brother).

A new study, published in the Internet Journal of Medical 
Informatics, looks at a site aimed specifically at medical 
professionals and students and finds that thousands of people 
were obtaining non-open-access materials free of charge. The 
article says that in a six-month period of watching the unnamed 
site, nearly 5,500 articles were exchanged, costing journals 
about $700,000 in that time, or about $1.4-million a year.

The site had 127,626 registered users, who during the study 
period put in requests for 6,587 journals. There was an 83 
percent success rate in finding the article. Nature and Science 
were the most commonly swapped journals.

The article does not focus on the ethical implications but does 
say, "In the field of medicine, ethics plays a pivotal role, and 
yet the site displays activities by medical students, teachers, 
and practicing professionals that are ethically dubious.

Wired Campus reported earlier this week about another attempt to 
give more access to subscription journal articles. This effort, 
called Deep Dyve, is a legal rental program that allows users to 
access articles for a set amount of time with a fee.

Copyright 2009 The Chronicle of Higher Education