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RE: Academic journal file-sharing (Chronicle of Higher Education)

A really interesting article.  If there is one web site out there 
doing this there are surely others.  As universities cut serials 
budgets are students going to retrieve articles illegally through 
this and similar web sites?  It will be interesting to see how 
this plays out in the coming months/years and exactly what the 
ethical ramifications are.  Nature or Science could potentially 
sue a student or researcher for obtaining an article illegally 
but could the university be held liable as well?  Would a 
university withhold transcripts/diplomas for an ethical breach?

David Thibodeau

>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