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Elsevier Complaint Shuts Down Sci-Hub Domain Name | Hacker News

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Tags: piracy sci-hub elsevier freedom
Clipped on: 2016-05-05

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Elsevier Complaint Shuts Down Sci-Hub Domain Name (
191 points by yunque 3 hours ago | flag | past | web | 72 comments

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(Thanks for daveguy: ( cert) (same ip as above, cert) (same ip as above, cert) (uses a separate certificate and ip address --

And a tor site: scihub22266oqcxt.onion

You're welcome! Thanks for reposting to keep the info active. One thing to add to that:

Their original domain was, which got shut down a while back. Occasionally they post updated information to the facebook page.

Also, @fuxy. You can change your /etc/hosts file on a linux or BSD box to include the line:

That will override the DNS and go straight to the site.

Windows has a similar file located here (at least for win7):


A perfectly reasonable location for a hosts file.

Anybody know a linux script/software that would 'lock' a domain down to am IP regardless what the registrar does.

Maybe have even a out of band way of updating it without the registrars involvement.

I guess what I'm looking for would be P2P DNS server although making sure the data is not fake would be difficult without some kind of signing.

Wonder if it could use the bitcoin ledger as a kind of key server?

Edit: I know /etc/hosts does the job it's just lacking if the server changes IP

Sibling posts are accurate about hard coding /etc/hosts, although Sci Hub needs to move to IPFS [1].


/etc/hosts ?

For the locking feature I'm not sure, but there are alternative DNS networks such as

echo "" >> /etc/hosts

Yeah, I recommend against this particular example :)

Do this on your friends and families computers, and change the world.

I feel a little tingle of excitement seeing my own papers on Sci-Hub. I mean I get that they're trying to index all publications so it's not a "stamp or approval" or anything... but it does mean that people can actually access the knowledge I tried to throw into the world, which was kind of the whole point in doing it.

I'd update my academic website to link my papers to their sci-hub URLs if I didn't think I'd catch a world of flak for it.

I'm genuinely curious who you think would give you flak. Publishers? Your department faculty? The librarian at your university? Your peers?

(reason I'm interested: I'm on the board of Sage and have a board meeting tomorrow where I hope we'll be discussing sci-hub)

I felt that tingle too! I saw a book I co-edited on SciHub on the same day the publishers sent me a royalty statement reminding me that absolutely zero people want to pay 120GBP to read what I (my co-editors and contributors) put together through a whole lot of unpaid effort.

"As a result of the legal battle the site ( just lost one of its latest domain names. However, the site has no intentions of backing down, and will continue its fight to keep access to scientific knowledge free and open."

Does this not enrage people? Elsevier and closed-access journals like them, are doing all they can to impede human progress while leaching off of tax-payer dollars to do so. Something should be done to make what Elsevier and the like do illegal, are there any groups/political parties/etc going after them?

>>Does this not enrage people? Elsevier and closed-access journals like them, are doing all they can to impede human progress while leaching off of tax-payer dollars to do so. Something should be done to make what Elsevier and the like do illegal, are there any groups/political parties/etc going after them?

This does enrage many people, but one feels somewhat helpless here. But we can surely raise a hue and cry over the internet/emails/whatsapp/social media etc. Let more and more of the scientific community know about the existence of sci-hub and let these scum publishers bleed to death. Political parties may not want to disturb their money-givers though.

The onus is on the scientists. Elsevier does its job. If you were given a golden ring as a gift every day, I bet you would end up opening a jewelry shop as well. Even if scientists want to use alternative open access publishers, it's a game of who blinks first. They won't do it because their colleagues don't.

This is a case of badly screwed-up incentives. No individual has incentives to fix the system, so they keep optimizing for how they're actually rewarded [academics --> tenure / prestige, journals --> make money, govt --> get lobbied].

On the bright side, this will give some much-needed publicity to Tor Browser. Sci-hub is still available at http://scihub22266oqcxt.onion/

Does using Tor puts you on some kind of list? It would be tragic if someone used Tor to read a scientific article but then got charged with aiding terrorism or looking for child pornography.

> Does using Tor puts you on some kind of list? It would be tragic if someone used Tor to read a scientific article but then got charged with aiding terrorism or looking for child pornography.

If it does, it becomes an ethical maxim to use Tor. If it doesn't, then you can simply use Tor. So by case analysis you should use Tor.

> If it does, it becomes an ethical maxim to use Tor.

This is one of the reasons I use Tor. If there is such a list, I want it to be full of people doing ordinary stuff. In effect, I want the list to be useless.

The fact that you even have to think this suggests that you should use Tor so that they don't win in self-censoring the citizens.

The fact that using Tor puts you on some kind of list makes it essential that you do in fact use it for innocuous purposes occasionally.

Seeking privacy should never be a crime.

Not sure why everyone is downvoting. You may not go on a list, but you could be targeted by the FBI if they can produce "probable cause"

We re all in lists. In fact, the more lists we're in, the less traceable we are.

There's a good chance you'll end up on a list if you're an exit node, but if you're just using Tor I think you should be good.

Using Tor does put you on some kind of list, but you aren't going to get charged with aiding terrorism or looking for child pornography because of it. Unless you use it for those things, I guess, and get caught.

> you aren't going to get charged

What is this based on? If it's rationality, that doesn't always apply to legal and political matters, to the very human human beings who make those decisions, or to the politial situation around them.

Using Tor isn't a crime, but the NSA targets people who use or even search about Tor or VPN services for collection through the XKEYSCORE program. So his post is exactly right - using Tor does "put you on a list", but that alone isn't sufficient to be arrested. The NSA documents further state that Tor is relatively difficult to attack and the best they can do is deanonymize a small (and importantly, random) fraction of users some of the time.


nope. tor is anonymizing software used by many thousands of people. if you're really concerned use a VPN first, and download the tor browser using VPN. unnecessary IMO, but if you're concerned then this will give you an extra layer of protection.

Is there a donate location of sorts that we can pay into to support the efforts that the sci-hub person/team/organization is doing?

This is a another good cause that I would find worthy to donate to.

Edit. Ok, found it:

Apparently, only bitcoin donations are possible at the moment. BitCoint Wallet for donations: 1K4t2vSBSS2xFjZ6PofYnbgZewjeqbG1TM

I see a different Bitcoin address. I recommend people visit the site and not use the address random commenters on the internet post. Not saying the parent comment is up to something, sci-hub may have rotated the address for whatever reason. The one I see starts with 14ghuGKD

EDIT: Ah, interestingly, the 1K4t2v address appears on the homepage, but not the donate page that was linked

I thought about not posting it as well. When I did, I double-checked myself twice to make sure I didn't post the wrong one.

Accessing the ip posted in the article it shows the bitcoin address posted by the OP.

I even switch over to https to make sure the request is not modified.

>switching to https

They don't even have a valid certificate for that domain.

BUT interestingly, on a US (DO NYC) server or my house (US/Comcast):

  $ curl
  <p>Please donate to Bitcoin: 14ghuGKDAPdEcUQN4zuzGwBUrhQgACwAyA</p>%
however, on a French (OVH) server:

  $ curl
  <!DOCTYPE html>
  {cut for brevity, a fair amount of HTML here}
  <p>Please send donations to bitcoin wallet: 1K4t2vSBSS2xFjZ6PofYnbgZewjeqbG1TM</p>
  {more HTML}
DNS reports that the domain's IP is from all tested locations. I get the HTML page with the 1K4t address over tor as well

Tested from US university IP, I also get the 1K4t wallet address. Maybe a caching issue with the CDN (assuming they use one)?

Which university? I tried from the University of Washington and got the 14gh address

Is it legal to donate?

Why exactly was a New York court able to issue an injunction for a ".io" domain?

It is a British Territory extension being managed by "Internet Computer Bureau Ltd" based in the United Kingdom.

While I support open science and Sci-Hub is great, I also can see publisher's side.

Imagine the same site with pirated high quality scientific books. (There are some, but in darker corners of the Internet). Would open access to these books be advantageous for humanity? Most definitely. Will publishers get mad about it? Even more definitely. Should publisher's work be free? I think not.

However, you can't get both sides of the coin at once. Either authors are paying publishers to get their papers peer reviewed and published (they do now), or publishers may collect payments from readers and libraries. Not both ways.

With the advent of the internet, the marginal cost of producing and distributing such content has dropped by orders of magnitude since the 1990's. One would expect in a competitive, healthy economic system, some of this productivity gain would fall to customers in lower prices. This has not happened. While piracy is not the ultimate answer, it may be necessary to force the hand of the businesses and government to restructure. I don't know how/how much publishers should be compensated, but they will not give up their current rent-seeking status unless it is ripped from their cold dead hands. Information production/distribution has become a commodity, and should be priced only to support the value add of peer-review, etc. Meanwhile should authors be compensated? Yes, As an observation from the corner of science that i inhabit: authorship of 'high quality scientific books' is a 'secondary profession' with most authors having primary commitments to academic positions--which are very much enriched by authorship. I believe authors will continue to be compensated both directly and indirectly, as they are providing most of the value in the product.

> Imagine the same site with pirated high quality scientific books. (There are some, but in darker corners of the Internet).

Library genesis isn't that dark of a corner these days.

The book example is not very helpful for a few reasons.

Firstly, the authors of books do get paid—writing books is not a pure tax imposed by academia.

Secondly, books are not typically at the frontier of scientific knowledge (these days). They're interesting and helpful, but accessing them is not a necessity for keeping up to date. Put simply, books do not have a monopoly on knowledge.

Finally, and most importantly, books are not funded by the public. Research is. If the public is paying for something, they should have access to it.

> Should publisher's work be free? I think not.

What value does the publisher's work add to the work the author generated?

> What value does the publisher's work add to the work the author generated?

- organizing peer review - spell-checking and fixing layout problems - making sure that the paper stays available for a long time - handling complaints and retracting fraudulent papers - providing a single point of contact for people who would like to reuse published material (e.g., using illustrations in a textbook).

Sure, many publishers don't do a very good job for the money they are taking. Sure, there might be better approaches for disseminating knowledge than the current one. However, in the world as it is now, publishers can and do provide some value.

- At least in computer science, it's generally professors who organise the peer review (the Program Commitee)

- I've heard from several collegues that the editor introduced spelling mistakes. Sure, overall they might get some errors out, but a spellcheck is not needed.

- Well yes. But there is no need for that to be expensive.

- Do we need them for this? If there really is fraud, previous cases show it's their university that starts an investigation. I'm not sure if the effect of retracting a paper is that significant..

- If all papers were public in the first place, there is no need to contact someone if it's okay to reuse material.

Anyway publishers might provide some value, but not enough to demand we pay for every single paper, or pay costly subscriptions. They need to die already or adept.

I was once tangentially involved in the preparation of a journal. All those things you listed were done for free by professors and grad students.

About fifteen years ago I was working on a venture to make an open-content journal publishing system. It didn't pan out for various reasons, but the general argument we were making this. Here are various services, and who (or what) handles them:

- Peer review and top-level decision-making. This is handled entirely by the editorial board.

- Typesetting. We have a free system for this: it's called LaTeX.

- Copy-editing and typeset-checking. This is handled by the publisher.

- Publishing and archiving. This is handled by the publisher.

- Famous Name. This is controlled by the publisher and is pure rent-seeking.

It used to be that the publisher handled much more than this. But with a decent online publishing, workflow, and archiving system, and with a near-zero cost in publishing and archiving online nowadays, essentially the only useful service the publisher provides is copy-editing. That is very minor.

If a free online business model can figure out how to fund copy-editing and automatic standards enforcement (for example, people make awful bibtex entries, including Springer's auto-generation system), and a university institution willing to host the journal's archives, the entire utility of a publisher disappears.

The big problem is not computer science, I think, which is rapidly moving to an online model. The big problem is that non-CS fields have no typesetting facility -- they submit articles in Word, which Elsevier/Springer then hands off to typesetters in India, who typically reset the whole thing, including bibtex entries, in LaTeX for publication. These entire fields are still reliant on copy editors and typesetters, and thus are stuck with rent-seeking.

I think the right approach is for a journal to require that authors have their papers certified by one of several "copy-editing / typesetting certification agencies" (a concept I made up). It's up to the authors to pay for that. This would almost completely eliminate the value of a publisher, and as there are multiple certification agencies vying, the cost would drop to a reasonable amount.

> making sure that the paper stays available for a long time

It's something that could actually be handled much better (and cheaper) by an inter-university p2p network (like BitTorrent). Such a network would double as an on-site, offline-available library of papers.

Presumably the value in a journal publisher is: a) it's name, being accepted to certain journals is an indicator of quality b) to readers who are guaranteed published works have been peer reviewed

That being said I'm not a massive fan and I believe there is probably a model whereby you can get these value-adds without the closed down subscription system. Publicly funded research should be publicly available.

Sorry but its name!

Some of the arguments I've read against publishers are along the lines that they take papers that were funded with public money, and thus in theory are in the public domain, yet they charge an arm and a leg for that information while at the same time preventing anyone else from distributing the free versions.

So how is it that they are entitled to be payed for something they didn't create or even own for that matter? Maybe if they did actually offered an added value service, then the freebie version would be inferior and would be no need to block them from being distributed, since people would just pick their own enhanced (curated?) versions.

As far as I understand it, Elsevier should only have a say on content they actually own the copyright for, which could be a lot of papers, but if I understand correctly SciHub was publishing papers that were funded with public money, is it not? or are they also hosting papers for which the copyright is actually owned by someone else?

>>Should publisher's work be free? I think not.

What exact work these publishers are doing? How much are they demanding for that? Who is funding the research? Who is doing the work?

These publishers are just mean middlemen who are trying to extract as much money as they can/want from both the authors and the readers. Now is the time to get rid of them.

What exact work these publishers are doing?

Typesetting, third party review, offering visibility in a high quality journal?

The point is nothing is stopping scientists from publishing in other, open source journals. But they don't. That means these journals offer something of value to them.

> That means these journals offer something of value to them.

Prestige, obviously.

The other services are marginally valuable. Honestly, I wish a big foundation would agree to simply underwrite any such costs (to remove these as an objection).

The whole value of publishers is in their accumulated brand value. A brand value which they did not build themselves but instead gathered from decades of harvesting public resources.

Public resources? How do you figure? Not all research public is a public resource. Pharmaceutical companies publish, as do private foundations. Anyways, if the research was funded through public money, it gets published for free anyways.

> Anyways, if the research was funded through public money, it gets published for free anyways.

It does? I'm genuinely curious. The vast majority of research is funded with public money (to some extent).

Where is all this publicly-funded research published?

Typesetting by publisher is not valuable at this age.

Elsevier seems keen to not have third parties review the publications.

And visibility, same thing. They try to prevent it.

Yes, scientists should publish elsewhere; the contracts currently prevent them as Elsevier has power to stop them through their entrenched legacy position.



>third party review

Trivial, and happens just fine without publisher "help"

>offering visibility in a high quality journal?

Most journals are not "high quality." They're often very niche efforts, sometimes started and run as an easy way to get publication credits outside the handful of prestige publications.

Ambitious academics know that one way to raise your profile is to organise your own conference - and ask a publisher to collect and print the proceedings for you.


Obviously that's your opinion, but since when does the effort it takes to create something matter about the price? It's pretty trivial to move product from a factory to a retail store, yet people have no problem paying for that.

And again, if it's trivial, then there is nothing stopping anyone from starting their own journal. But amazingly, nobody has done that.

What's the saying about "find out why the fence is there before you tear it down"?

Most journals are not "high quality.

Who cares about most journals? Nobody reads them anyways. I'm talking Nature, Science, etc.

> Should publisher's work be free?

Publishers work is not needed, it can be distributed among authors who can do it at a negligible cost.

Maybe this is an opportune time to bring up a related concern. It's crucial that any system for disseminating scientific work be reliable and persist indefinitely. I don't like the current system, but I wonder how this will be achieved otherwise.

.cc still works for those who need it

It could probably use .se as well. TPB's .se domain still seems to be alive and kicking.

Long live Aaron Swartz

trivial but handy bookmarklet link for scihub:


I would love to learn more why Elsevier _only_ reports a profit of 37%?

I've read here on HN and elsewhere multiple times, that most of the work done is outsourced to third party labor, which is done essentially for free:

- writing papers

- organising reviews

- reviewing papers

I worked as a contractor for MacMillan (they publish nature) and it's hard to believe how much money they spend for no results. The project I was on had been running for a year when I joined. I noped out after three months and I heard it was shut down a few months after I left with nothing to show.

That was 4-6 people full time and my entire floor of 80 people was full of projects like that - projects you never heard of.

The weird thing is that everyone I worked with directly was very smart, and went on to do cool stuff.

Summary: If I had to guess the remaining profit is wasted on silly projects and high manager salaries.

Domain names should not, in principle, be subject to the arbitrary edicts of governments. I hope that, in the future, we switch to a decentralised and cryptographically incorruptible system a la Namecoin.

It is a moral duty to disobey an unjust law to protect those who cannot from its tyranny.

For injustice to triumph it is only necessary that good people do nothing.

Just like with music and file sharing, this will not hurt the large corporations. It will only hurt the researchers that depend on these papers for funding and make it more difficult for them to make a living in the future.

It will also push companies to keep research more private and proprietary. Why would I spend millions of dollars on research, only to have it freely distributed to everyone, including my potential competitors?

I've never witnesses a time where more people fight to give up more and more of their own power and hand it over to governments and large corporations on a silver platter...and then complain when it's all gone.

Are you aware that unlike musicians, academic researchers don't get paid royalties on their publications? A list of prestigious publications on one's cv leads to funding and job opportunities regardless of whether anyone pays to read them.

Lots of academics are collecting royalties on books.

Typically not large royalties, but they are collecting them.

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