Sci-Hub provides access to nearly all scholarly literature [v1]

  • The website Sci-Hub provides access to scholarly literature via full text PDF downloads. The site enables users to access articles that would otherwise be paywalled. Since its creation in 2011, Sci-Hub has grown rapidly in popularity. However, until now, the extent of Sci-Hub's coverage was unclear. As of March 2017, we find that Sci-Hub's database contains 68.9% of all 81.6 million scholarly articles, which rises to 85.2% for those published in closed access journals. Furthermore, Sci-Hub contains 77.0% of the 5.2 million articles published by inactive journals. Coverage varies by discipline, with 92.8% coverage of articles in chemistry journals compared to 76.3% for computer science. Coverage also varies by publisher, with the coverage of the largest publisher, Elsevier, at 97.3%. Our interactive browser at allows users to explore these findings in more detail. Finally, we estimate that over a six-month period in 2015–2016, Sci-Hub provided access for 99.3% of valid incoming requests. Hence, the scope of this resource suggests the subscription publishing model is becoming unsustainable. For the first time, the overwhelming majority of scholarly literature is available gratis to anyone with an Internet connection.

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Author:Daniel S. Himmelstein, Ariel Rodriguez Romero, Stephen Reid McLaughlin, Bastian Greshake TzovarasORCiDGND, Casey S. Greene​
Parent Title (English):PeerJ preprints
Publisher:PeerJ Inc.
Place of publication:Corte Madera, CA [u. a.]
Document Type:Article
Year of Completion:2017
Date of first Publication:2017/07/20
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2019/09/02
Tag:LibGen; Sci-Hub; copyright; data-science; journals; literature; open-data; paywalls; piracy; publishing
Page Number:27
This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, reproduction and adaptation in any medium and for any purpose provided that it is properly attributed. For attribution, the original author(s), title, publication source (PeerJ Preprints) and either DOI or URL of the article must be cited.
Zweiter Preprint erschienen in: PeerJ preprints, 5.2017, e3100v2, doi:10.7287/peerj.preprints.3100v2; dritter Preprint erschienen in: PeerJ preprints, 6.2018, e3100v3, doi:10.7287/peerj.preprints.3100v3; finale Fassung erschienen in: eLife, 7.2018, e32822, doi:10.7554/eLife.32822
Institutes:Biowissenschaften / Biowissenschaften
Dewey Decimal Classification:0 Informatik, Informationswissenschaft, allgemeine Werke / 00 Informatik, Wissen, Systeme / 004 Datenverarbeitung; Informatik
3 Sozialwissenschaften / 37 Bildung und Erziehung / 370 Bildung und Erziehung
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 4.0