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Black Market Database Access To Scholarly Journals 209

Posted by timothy
from the or-join-the-texas-exes dept.
An anonymous reader writes "University libraries offer access to a vast array of valuable materials — if you have a login and password. Now people are buying and selling university credentials online, or giving them away on warez sites. They're used by upstart companies abroad who need access to the latest industrial compounds or other valuable info on databases like SciFinder."
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Black Market Database Access To Scholarly Journals

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  • NIH agrees with you (Score:5, Informative)

    by damn_registrars (1103043) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Sunday June 26, 2011 @04:24PM (#36578108) Homepage Journal

    Taxpayer funded research should not be behind pay walls or restricted in any other manner

    The largest funding source for biomedical research in the US is the National Institutes of Health (NIH). They recently passed a rule requiring NIH-funded work to be published in an accessible manner [nih.gov]. This has had some interesting results, as now journals such as Nature and Science have ways to release articles to the public so that they can be in their high-impact journals and accessible freely.

    Of course, this only applies to grants that are approved 2010 and onwards; work funded by older grants does not need to worry about this. However, grants that are were issued originally prior to 2010, and are being renewed, do.

    In other words, less federally funded work is published behind paywalls now than ever before.

  • by pla (258480) on Sunday June 26, 2011 @05:14PM (#36578414) Journal
    So, because you don't feel like heading to the library to make that photocopy, you think you'd be justified in ripping off the digital copy that some company has made available online at its own expense?

    So, have you stopped beating your wife yet?

    I feel justified in accessing, by any means authorized or not, content that MY GODDAMNED TAX DOLLARS already paid for.

    If Elsevier et al don't like those terms, they have every right to see how long they last without any content derived from public funding.
  • by moglito (1355533) on Sunday June 26, 2011 @05:33PM (#36578558)
    If everyone would just publish their papers on their web sites, as most computer scientists do (e.g., using bibbase.org [bibbase.org]), then this wouldn't be necessary. Of course, journals need to secure their funding, but I believe that with the web and the new open (peer) reviewing approaches, we don't really need journals all that badly anymore. Also, in computer science, e.g., it seems that there are now conferences that have higher standards of acceptance than the top journals in the respective fields. That is not to suggest to remove the concept of longer, more thoroughly reviewed articles though. They are important too, but could be reviewed and published in different ways (web). Print is so 19th century :-)
  • by bcrowell (177657) on Sunday June 26, 2011 @05:51PM (#36578696) Homepage

    Clearly indicates that a full copy is not going to qualify, and every element must be met for fair use.

    No, that's incorrect. The code does not say that all four factors must be met, and that isn't how the courts have interpreted it. The WP article [wikipedia.org] specifically addresses your misconception: "Common misunderstandings: [...] If you're copying an entire work, it's not fair use. While copying an entire work may make it harder to justify the amount and substantiality test, it does not make it impossible that a use is fair use. For instance, in the Betamax case, it was ruled that copying a complete television show for time-shifting purposes is fair use."

  • by tgibbs (83782) on Sunday June 26, 2011 @06:03PM (#36578766)

    The regulation requires that any paper supported to any extent by NIH and published after April 2008 be made accessible to the public, with free links from the publicly accessible Pubmed database. NIH enforces this be requiring grant applicants to submit evidence that they are in compliance for any of their own papers that they cite. Journals can request at most a 1-year window of exclusivity before the requirement goes into effect

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 26, 2011 @06:40PM (#36578966)

    ...for the public. In most public libraries that I've been to (which, granted, aren't that many but there have been a few), library assistants can help you log in to various academic research journal databases for doing research.

    At one point about 4 years ago, I called my local library in El Paso, TX (where I lived at the time) and asked them some questions about this. The library assistant was more than eager to help, and he *gave me the username and password for the State of Texas' library system to login to research databases, such as EBSCO, etc. OVER THE PHONE.*

    I started accessing stuff from home immediately : ) Unfortunately I've since lost the account credentials, but this approach, without any social engineering at all, worked out well for me (unexpectedly well!).

    Of course I can't speak for all states in the US, but you can of course give it a try! YMMV, but it worked for me once!

  • Re:No Tears (Score:5, Informative)

    by RobinEggs (1453925) on Sunday June 26, 2011 @08:11PM (#36579564)

    As Newton said: "If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants."

    Newton was merely quoting when he said this; the original source predates him by 500 years. John of Salisbury [wikipedia.org] first wrote it in 1159. I know it seems pedantic to waste a post on quote attribution, but it's an extremely widespread quotation in nerd circles and not even 1 in 100 people seems to know where it actually came from.

    Not to mention that Newton wrote the famous saying in a letter to Robert Hooke, a man with a slight build and severe spinal defect (although these didn't make him especially short), and some authors think it was actually a cutting insult rather than an expression of humility.

  • Re:No Tears (Score:2, Informative)

    by dakameleon (1126377) on Sunday June 26, 2011 @09:52PM (#36580082)

    Good Wiki quoting.</snark> As pedantic as you're being, you might as well point out that even John of Salisbury was giving attribution to someone else (Bernard of Chatres); naming Newton as the source of the quote isn't out of place, since he did say it, and in the form recognisable today.

  • by nbauman (624611) on Sunday June 26, 2011 @10:43PM (#36580276) Homepage Journal

    Indeed, but the salient point is really why government grants are being used for research which isn't available for free to the taxpayers.

    The Bayh-Dole Act. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayh%E2%80%93Dole_Act [wikipedia.org]

  • At MIT (Score:3, Informative)

    by guruevi (827432) <evi@@@smokingcube...be> on Sunday June 26, 2011 @10:48PM (#36580308) Homepage

    Login: rms
    Password: rms

    Really, most University library resources shouldn't have password protection as getting a credential at most University libraries requires practically no validation or identification. The problem however is when employees, students and others that are using other University resources share their credentials they may be getting more access due to lack of access control than the University or the donator is aware of.

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