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Starting from January 1st this year, access to all scientific databases and publications have been stopped for Slovak universities and Slovak Academy of Sciences. The reason is simple, the authorities have not paid the bill even for the access in year 2016. Of course, we can ask friends or authors for sending us requested publications, but this is a step back, and we don’t want to bother other people.

What could you advise for researchers in Slovakia, what can they do in this situation?

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    You are probably looking for an answer that is more sustainable and elegant than "get whatever you can on LibGen and SciHub, ignore whatever you can't"? Hmm, interesting question... – darij grinberg Jan 11 '17 at 12:27
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    Not that it is really relevant for the question, but could you be more precise on what databases and publications you mean. There are many publishers and companies and there is not just one bill to pay. Also a link for some reference would be nice. – Dirk Jan 11 '17 at 12:55
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    @Dirk: We lost connections to SCOPUS, and Elsevier, at this stage and there was an announcement that we may lose some other access, too. – Stefan Gyürki Jan 11 '17 at 14:18
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    So, your situation is similar to Germany's (probably a bit different, as the universities in Germany agreed in the joint action). I do rely on preprints and asking authors so far. I don't think that asking authors is bad. Usually they are happy to share and it only costs them a few clicks. – Dirk Jan 11 '17 at 14:25
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    SCOPUS and Elsevier are not "all scientific databases and publications" – JeffE Jan 12 '17 at 2:40
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Individual access

This question details a few ways to access scientific publications, without resorting to now-unpaid subscriptions.

Collective access

Research into ways of influencing your government's decisions that are legal in your country.

  • Writing an open letter to a relevant person in your government (that'll likely be your Minister of Education / Minister školstva) and distributing it through Slovak Academy of Science / Slovenská akadémia vied for other scientists to sign could be a good start.
  • Depending on what is legal in your country, organizing a protest march / a picket could also be an option.
  • You are likely not the only person annoyed by these changes: find others who will be willing to join your cause.

If there are people high up in the hierarchy of Slovak Academy of Science that sympathize with your cause, they are likely to have some influence on your government.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – eykanal Jan 13 '17 at 16:53
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There is a possible legal solution, but I AM NOT A LAWYER AND CAN NOT PROVIDE ANY GUARANTEE. Be sure to talk to a lawyer, before you try to do anything.

So the obvious answer is using SciHub and LibGen, but they are not legal. What as far as I know is legal is using peer-to-peer networks, such as torrents, because here the Slovak (and European) legislation should be a few steps (maybe even kilometers) behind the reality. So the solution would be to set up a peer-to-peer network for distributing articles (yes, just like torrents). Every user would join in and offer the access to his articles (authored by him) and could on the other hand get article authored by anyone else in the network for free. This would be just like writing an email to the author, except very automatic.

Since Elsevier, Springer mostly gives the authors right to share their work with colleagues, friends, etc. this would maybe even comply with their policies.

Unfortunately I do not know of such network.

Update: for anyone interested, there are at least promises that the problem will be solved, see this article.

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    I'm not sure that wouldn't be illegal too. The point of a peer-to-peer network is that every seeder shares the data with every downloader, so either every paper gets a maximum of seeders equal to the number of authors, or papers will be uploaded by people who did not write them and have no right to distribute them. What's more, many authors are outside of Slovakia - You're suggesting that it wouldn't be a copyright infringement if there was a world-wide network of automatically distributing copyrighted papers. – sgf Jan 13 '17 at 12:48
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    IANAL, but I'd be very interested in what would happen if such a peer-to-peer network would be designated (and led like) an "invitation-only research collaboration work-group", since Elsevier gives you the right to share your article with such a work-group. I wouldn't bet against Elsevier though, if they were to take you to court for it. – sgf Jan 13 '17 at 12:50

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