Are all journals vulnerable to harm from piracy? Are open access (OA) journals immune to the threat? The Scholarly Kitchen brought this news to us in their article, “Are Open Access Journals Immune from Piracy?

Authors choose to pay to publish in OA journals because of the increased visibility/citations and fund requirements. It is normal for an author to want to quantify whether they got what they paid for. One way to quantify success is to use article level metrics, which will include downloads. PLOS was the leader in developing article level metrics to show authors exactly what they were paying for.

Even though Sci-Hub is billed as providing access to pay-walled content, there appear to be thousands of OA articles in the host database. When papers are downloaded from Sci-Hub and the associated LibGen database, the publisher site can’t count those downloads.

It is naïve to think that OA journals are immune to the same damage as other journals. Piracy is a threat to all of them.

Melody K. Smith

Sponsored by Access Innovations, the world leader in thesaurus, ontology, and taxonomy creation and metadata application.