Ban on SCIHUB and LIBGEN involved in free dissemination of scientific documents will severely impede all research activities in our country, said Dr Soumitro Banerjee, professor at IISER Kolkata and General Secretary of Breakthrough Science Society. He was addressing the webinar titled “Make knowledge free for the development of science” organised by the Kerala chapter of Breakthrough Science Society (BSS) on March 17, 2021 as part of the observance of the National Science Day.
Scientific knowledge is undoubtedly a social product, majorly facilitated by the utilisation of tax payers’ money. Since late 17th century, the task of dissemination of scientific documents has steadily been carried forward by research publications/periodicals published by science academies. During the infantile stages of organised scientific research, this mechanism played a significant positive role in the progress of science. But the changes in the socio-economic conditions of modern society have created a situation in which the market forces have taken control over the publication of scientific papers and the original creator of scientific knowledge is put at the mercy of the publisher. A few publishers have emerged as monopolies in this field and in the process it is these firms which control the distribution of research publications in the world. These publishers make huge profit by selling the research papers at unaffordable prices, even though the research in the main is carried out using the government fund and the authors and reviewers of the paper are not paid for their work. Only a united action of scientists, researchers and academics can free the scientific knowledge from the vice like grip of the profit motivated publishing industry. Dr. Soumitro Banerjee expressed confidence that the younger generation will rise up to the occasion to catalyse this change.
Dr. P.S Babu, president, BSS Kerala chapter while participating in the discussion emphasized the need for developing an international movement to make knowledge free. The webinar was organised in the background of the ongoing litigation in the Delhi High Court pertaining to the prayer by the publishing firms for a ban on the operation of Sci-Hub and Libgen in India. Mr. George Joseph, secretariat member of BSS presided over the function. Dr. Sreekumaran, executive committee member, BSS moderated the discussion.
It is reported that three international academic publishers – Elsevier, Wiley, and the American Chemical Society (ACS) – have sought a ban on the websites Sci-Hub and LibGen, which make research papers and similar academic material accessible to all. More than 2000 scientists, professors, researchers, teachers and students from all over India have signed a statement supporting free access to knowledge and urging the Court and the Government to allow the Indian academic community to continue to access Sci-Hub and LibGen. The text of the statement and the names of a few signatories are given below. CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL STATEMENT
Applauding the praiseworthy and inspiringly brave stand of Dr. Varinder Pal Singh who, as a mark of support to the ongoing farmers’ protests, refused to accept a meritorious Government award. CLICK HERE to read the statement
Click here to read the letter on the draft EIA – 2020 submitted to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.