A growing trend to develop a more open network for sharing scholarly work has led to the creation of numerous methods through which individuals can legally gain access to paywalled articles, including Open Access Button, Unpaywall and “How Can I share It.”
Open Access Button Cofounder Joe McArthur says efforts by Sci-Hub, a pirate site with an estimated 65 million research-related works, reveals a solid model for online sharing, but that future efforts should keep in line with the law.
“Sci-hub shows people how easy it should be to access scholarly literature,” he said. “Unfortunately, it is in no way sustainable, and we need to continue to work within the bounds of copyright law to make sure we have a community-owned, open infrastructure for accessing research articles.”
Open Access Button was founded in 2013, according to a report by The Scientist, and similar tools have made their way into fray, including Unpaywall and Kopernio, both of which were launched in 2017.
“How Can I share It,” which was launched by the International Association of STM Publishers in 2016, was developed with the intention of creating a stable and legal infrastructure for sharing literature.
The website includes a tool through which users can enter a paper’s digital object identifier and receive a list of potential host sites.