A publisher, a copyright infringement court case and an £11.8 million fine

Elsevier publishers have won their US court case against SciHub, the Library of Genesis (LibGen) and other similar sites for copyright infringement. The fine is a hefty $15 million, or £11.8 million to compensate them for their loss of income. What next for the file sharing sites? Presumably they’ll have to pay up. Perhaps other publishers are waiting to see the outcome before instigating their own court cases. What will the impact be on SciHub, LibGen et al? Only time will tell.

Putting the court case aside, you can feel the frustration experienced by researchers and the lengths they’ll go to to obtain articles they have difficulty finding and accessing through ‘traditional’ routes. Frustration with embargoes. Frustration with paywalls. Accessing an article isn’t the smooth, seamless, user-centred experience it should be. So what happens? They bypass the publishers who they feel are responsible for blocking access to what they need. And this is where SciHub, LibGen and others come in.

As we’ve seen, copyright infringement is not something to take lightly. So how do you legally get hold of the articles (and also books) you need if the Library at Edinburgh Napier University doesn’t have them? There is a well-established request service (Inter-Library Loans) which we use to get hold of material in electronic or print format. Electronic material is usually delivered to your university email account. Print materials take more time as they are usually posted to the University before being collected by the requester.

Just to make it a bit easier, we recently introduced an online request form for inter-library loans. You can use this on and off campus to send us your requests. We’re saving the best for last, the Library pays for this service so it’s FREE for Edinburgh Napier University staff and students.