September 28, 2021

Journal Article: “Can Scholarly Pirate Libraries Bridge the Knowledge Access Gap? An Empirical Study on the Structural Conditions of Book Piracy in Global and European Academia”

The following article was recently published by PLOS One.

Title

“Can Scholarly Pirate Libraries Bridge the Knowledge Access Gap? An Empirical Study on the Structural Conditions of Book Piracy in Global and European Academia”

Authors

Balázs Bodó
Institute for Information Law, University of Amsterdam

Dániel Antal
Independent Researcher, Netherlands

Zoltán Puha
Tilburg University

Source

PLOS One 15(12): e0242509
DOI: 0.1371/journal.pone.0242509

Abstract

Library Genesis is one of the oldest and largest illegal scholarly book collections online. Without the authorization of copyright holders, this shadow library hosts and makes more than 2 million scholarly publications, monographs, and textbooks available. This paper analyzes a set of weblogs of one of the Library Genesis mirrors, provided to us by one of the service’s administrators. We reconstruct the social and economic factors that drive the global and European demand for illicit scholarly literature. In particular, we test if lower income regions can compensate for the shortcomings in legal access infrastructures by more intensive use of illicit open resources. We found that while richer regions are the most intensive users of shadow libraries, poorer regions face structural limitations that prevent them from fully capitalizing on freely accessible knowledge. We discuss these findings in the wider context of open access publishing, and point out that open access knowledge, if not met with proper knowledge absorption infrastructures, has limited usefulness in addressing knowledge access and production inequalities.

Direct to Full Text Article

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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