A Trojan Horse in the University Perimeter
On December 19, 2019, The Washington Post reported that the U.S. Justice Department is investigating the founder and operator of the digital piracy site Sci-Hub, Alexandra Elbakyan, on suspicion of working with Russian intelligence to steal U.S. military secrets from defense contractors. The article further discusses Sci-Hub’s methods for acquiring the login credentials of university students and faculty “to pilfer vast amounts of academic literature.” This has long been public knowledge. But the confirmation of Sci-Hub potentially working with Russian intelligence was major news. Both fronts of the Sci-Hub assault on stealing intellectual property are concerning. Since many academic researchers and their employers routinely receive defense contracts to perform sensitive research, the article helped posit that offering free access to academic research articles is perhaps a Trojan Horse strategy for Sci-Hub. In this presentation, we will discuss what we know about Sci-Hub, why you should care about it and what we’re seeing as an effective way to protect research information resource users.