The Dark Web

Knowledge should be universal. No person should be denied the right to learn just because they can afford it. This is one problem many people face during research. Various scholarly articles tend to be hidden behind paywalls and expensive subscriptions. Researchers are being denied valuable information because they do not have a huge budget to track down and subscribe to a journal. Universities, libraries, and other various institutions do in fact have the budget to pay for these subscription, and therefore allow their member access to different types of information. However, not everyone has these same privileges. Do you believe everyone should have access to these scholarly journals and articles?

This is the exact question Alexandra Elbakyan answered when she developed Sci-Hub. This online tool allows people to download any scholarly journal or article that was hidden behind multiple paywalls for free. When a paper is being requested to download, Sci-Hub take the paper from a library or institution that has paid for the subscription and allows the reader to view it, free of charge. Many people benefit from this online tool. College students can use it for research papers, researches can use it for information, and just and average working person can access it for educational purposes. However, this site may be harmful to the institution that originally purchased the material. Since Sci-Hub is essentially hacking into the subscription network and “stealing” or “borrowing” the material, there can be traces or bugs left over which affects how the system operates.

Many people will say that Alexandra Elbakyan’s actions were criminal and illegal. I however think that she is standing up to the people who are less privileged and who cannot afford to either pay for the subscriptions, or be a part of an institution that does have access to them. I believe that her actions were just and that she was just trying to make it easier to access certain information without having to pay all of the absurd charges. She is allowing open access to education and learning. I feel that her actions were admirable.