Given its reputation for tearing down paywalls to deliver knowledge and enlightenment to academics, students and researchers, Sci-Hub remains one of the internet’s most valuable data resources.
Praised by all who find its services useful or even vital, Sci-Hub also has to deal with attacks from publishing giants who would prefer to see the platform taken offline, or blocked by ISPs wherever that is a viable option.
Unfortunately for the publishers, however, those utilizing Sci-Hub tend to be tech-savvy individuals who are not only undeterred by blocks but can also have a penchant for making downloading even easier.
Sci-Hub Injector Released
The latter mission was recently taken on by Rick Wierenga, a student currently doing a double major in bioinformatics & artificial intelligence (Bachelor) at Leiden University in the Netherlands. Over the weekend Wierenga released an interesting new browser tool that turns the finding of Sci-Hub download links into child’s play.
Named ‘Sci-Hub Injector’ and released under GNU General Public License v3.0, the browser extension is easy to deploy in Firefox and is installable in Chrome with a simple few steps. Its main feature is to embed Sci-Hub download links into publishers’ own websites meaning that if someone was searching for a paper on SpringerLink, on the topic of aquatic animal nutrition, for example, they will see the enhanced results shown below:
As the image above shows, in this instance the extension seamlessly adds a very subtle Sci-Hub logo and link next to the download counter but button placement can vary on other sites. In any event, pressing the button takes the user straight to Sci-hub where the corresponding paper may be downloaded for free (rather than a minimum of £127.50 for the book in the example above).
Works on Firefox and Chrome
As things currently stand, Sci-Hub injector is available for download from the Mozilla addon store. The software also works with Chrome but is yet to appear on Google’s Play Store. Until that happens, users are required to follow some simple setup instructions listed on the project’s Github page to get the tool up and running.
At the time of writing, Sci-Hub Injector appears to be a project still under development. It currently supports several publishing platforms including PubMed, Nature, Taylor and Francis, Elsevier / ScienceDirect, Eureka Select, Science and SpringerLink but the developer says that he’s open to adding new platforms, if users submit them.
“Inject freedom into science publisher websites, with style. Please contribute new websites!” Wierenga says.
Is it Legal?
While offering a direct link to an infringing copy of a scientific paper can be considered infringement in many regions of the world, Sci-Hub injector merely links to a Sci-Hub page, not the infringing content itself.
Furthermore, the link is embedded in the publishers’ websites only in the user’s local browser, so at least on the part of the user, no distribution takes place. Only when the user visits Sci-Hub and actually downloads a paper does a potentially infringing copy get made but that’s the case no matter what mechanism is used to find and visit the site.
In any event, Wierenga advises users to be cautious, depending on the law in their region.
“I don’t recommend doing things that go against whatever laws that apply where you are. This is the user’s responsibility,” he adds.
TorrentFreak reached out to Wierenga for additional information but he declined to comment at this time.
The idea of ‘pimping’ official websites with new data isn’t new. Way back in 2008, a team created ‘Pirates of the Amazon’, a Firefox addon that embedded Pirate Bay links to movies into the Amazon website. A few years later, a similar tool appeared that did the same for eBooks, this time pulling content from Libgen.
From: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.
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