library genesis in Mars & Medak 2019
digital texts and collections, published a letter
article | 345
ephemera: theory & politics in organization
(Custodians.online, 2015) in support of two of the largest user-created
repositories of pirated textbooks and articles on the Internet – Library Genesis
and Science Hub. Library Genesis and Science Hub’s web domain names were
taken down after a New York court issued an injunction following a copyright
infringement suit filed by the largest commercial academic publisher in the
world – Reed Elsevier. It is a familiar trajectory th
education seems … to be self-evident’ (Baty, 2017).
Uneven economic development reinforces global uneven development in higher
education and science – and vice versa. It is in the face of this combined
economic and educational unevenness, that Library Genesis and Science Hub,
two repositories for a decommodified access to otherwise paywalled resources,
attain a particular import for students, academics and researchers worldwide.
And it is in the face of combined economic and educational unevenness, that
Library Genesis and Science Hub continue to brave the court decisions,
continuously changing their domain names, securing ways of access beyond the
World Wide Web and ensuring robust redundancy of the materials in their
The Custodians.online letter hig
ese economies are largely based on selling cheap low-skilled
labor. So, their public funders leave them in their underfunded torpor to
improvise their way through education and research processes. It is these
institutions that depend the most on the Library Genesis and Science Hubs of
this world. If we look at the download data of Library Genesis, as has Balasz Bodó
(2015), we can discern a clear pattern that the users in the rich economies use
these shadow libraries to find publications that are not available in the digital
form or are pay-walled, while the users in the developing economies
nchester: Manchester University
Collini, S. (2017) Speaking of universities. London: Verso.
Critchley, S. (2007) Infinitely demanding: Ethics of commitment, politics of
resistance. London: Verso.
Custodians.online (2015) ‘In solidarity with Library Genesis and Sci-Hub’. [http:/
Dolenec, D. (2016) ‘The implausible knowledge triangle of the Western Balkans’,
in S. Gupta, J. Habjan and H
library genesis in Sekulic 2018
t capacity to centralize and control within
the realm of knowledge distribution, one look at the oligopoly of academic
publishing and its impact on access and independent production shows its
In June 2015 Elsiver won an injunction against Library Genesis and its
subsidiary platform sci-hub.org, making it inaccessible in some countries and
via some commercial internet providers. Run by anonymous scientists mostly
from Eastern Europe, these voluntary and non-commercial projects are the
ssible to anyone, not just to members of wealthy
academic institutions. The act of acknowledging responsibility for sci-hub
transformed what was seen as the act of illegality (piracy) into the act of
civil disobedience. In the context of sci-hub and Library Genesis, both
projects from the periphery of knowledge production, “copyright infringement
opens on to larger questions about the legitimacy of the historic compromise –
if indeed there ever even was one – between the labor that produces culture
Knowledge Production’. Memory of the World (blog), 30 October 2014.
(4) For more on shadow libraries and library genesis see: Bodo, Balazs.
‘Libraries in the Post-Scarcity Era’. SSRN Scholarly Paper. Rochester, NY:
Social Science Research Network, 10 June 2015.
(5) ‘Sci-Hub Tears Down Academia’s “Illegal” Copyrig
(9) Mars, Marcell and Tomislav Medak, The System of a Takedown, forthcoming,
(10) See ‘In Solidarity with Library Genesis and Sci-Hub’.
http://custodians.online. Accessed 7 April 2018.
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