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Library Genesis (LibGen) is a search engine for articles and books on various topics, which allows free access to content that is otherwise paywalled or not digitized elsewhere. Among others, it carries PDFs of content from Elsevier's ScienceDirect web-portal.
Controversy surrounds the copyright status of many works accessible through this website. Some publishers like Elsevier have accused Library Genesis of providing pirate access to articles and books; in turn, said publishers have been accused of immorally benefiting from publicly tax funded works, research papers and textbooks written by professors on public payrolls.
Started around 2008 by Russian scientists, it absorbed the contents of, and became the functional successor to, library.nu, which was shut down by legal action in 2012. The portal primarily draws from the online database Sci-Hub, which was developed by scientific researcher and hacker Aleksandra Elbakyan, who was then a Kazakh graduate student. In 2011, this repository has archived more than 60 million articles.
In 2015, the website became involved in a legal case when Elsevier accused it of providing pirate access to articles and books. In response, the admins accused Elsevier of gaining most of its profits from publicly funded research which should be freely available as they are paid for by taxpayers. LibGen is reported to be registered in both Russia and Amsterdam, making it unclear which legislation applies, and whether defendants would attend a United States court hearing. LibGen is blocked by a number of ISPs in the United Kingdom, but such DNS-based blocks are claimed to do little to deter access. It is also blocked by ISPs in France, Germany, and Russia. In late October 2015, the District Court for the Southern District of New York ordered LibGen to shut down and to suspend use of the domain name (libgen.org), but the site is accessible through alternate domains.
As of 28 July 2019,[update] Library Genesis states that its database contains more than 2.3 million non-fiction books, 76 million science magazine articles, 2 million comics files, 2.2 million fiction books, 0.4 million magazine issues. By 2017, it reportedly provided around 200 million downloads to users from around the world.
- On the LibGen homepage hover over topics. (http://libgen.io/#)
- Cabanac, Guillaume (April 2015). "Bibliogifts in LibGen? A study of a text-sharing platform driven by biblioleaks and crowdsourcing" (PDF). Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology. 67 (4): 874–884. CiteSeerX 10.1.1.698.4283. doi:10.1002/asi.23445. Retrieved 28 November 2015.
- Glance, David. "Elsevier acts against research article pirate sites and claims irreparable harm". Retrieved 2015-10-05.
- Bodó, Balázs (2018-04-27). Library Genesis in Numbers: Mapping the Underground Flow of Knowledge. ISBN 9780262345705.
- Joe Karaganis (2018). Shadow Libraries: Access to Knowledge in Global Higher Education. MIT Press. p. 53. ISBN 978-0-262-34570-5.
- Bodó, Balázs (4 November 2014). "The Genesis of Library Genesis: The Birth of a Global Scholarly Shadow Library". SSRN 2616631. Cite journal requires
- Bode, Karl (2018-12-03). "'The Pirate Bay of Science' Continues to Get Attacked Around the World". Vice. Retrieved 2019-10-09.
- Karaganis, Joe; Bodo, Balazs. "Analysis | Russia is building a new Napster — but for academic research". Washington Post. Retrieved 2019-10-09.
- Mance, Henry; Correspondent, Media (2015-05-26). "Publishers win landmark case against ebook pirates". Financial Times. ISSN 0307-1766. Retrieved 2015-10-05.
- "UK ISPs must block ebook pirate sites (Wired UK)". Wired UK. 2015-05-27. Retrieved 2017-08-18.
- "Denmark Blocks Sci-Hub Plus Streaming, Torrent & YouTube-Ripping Sites". TorrentFreak. 2019-09-26. Retrieved 2019-10-09.
- "Court Orders Shutdown of Libgen, Bookfi and Sci-Hub - TorrentFreak". TorrentFreak. 2 November 2015. Retrieved 2017-08-18.
- Schiermeier, Quirin (2015). "Pirate research-paper sites play hide-and-seek with publishers". Nature. doi:10.1038/nature.2015.18876. Retrieved 2015-12-06.
- "Sci-hub, bookfi and libgen resurface after being shut down". TorrentFreak. 21 November 2015. Retrieved 7 January 2016.
- "LibGen.io Home Page". LibGen.io. Library Genesis. Archived from the original on 2019-08-10. Retrieved 2019-07-28.