In such dire times with the pandemic at its peak, should critical COVID-19 research be available to everyone? A group of hackers seems to think so.
A Reddit user named Shrine was willing to break a few laws in order to save lives around the planet. He found it absurd that thousands of useful studies on the novel coronavirus were only available to those who could afford them. He found and downloaded more than 5,000 coronavirus related research papers from a website called “Sci-Hub” and released them all on Reddit.
I realized that there were people dying and that the death rate could be higher as a result of a lack of access to the articles. Any little piece of information that we can glean from previous scientific research on pandemics, epidemics, viruses, or vaccines has suddenly become relevant and agencies all over the world need access to all of these articles.
The hacker group scanned Sci-Hub’s collection of 80 million titles related to the coronavirus and extracted them into an index. These were then exported to PDF files and then uploaded. The upload attracted thousands of seeders accessing the research within a few hours.
Shrine says that this is the first step to creating a complete open-access coronavirus research catalog. This catalog will be accessible to everyone around the globe including scientists, journalists, virology experts, and anyone who could use the information to fight the virus and save lives.
Shrine acknowledged that the project was illegal but he also said that he refused to put copyrights before human lives.