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this is the proposal of scientific journals

The large global academic publishers, led by Elsevier and Springer Nature, created last February a consortium called SNSI (Scholarly Networks Security Initiative) in order to keep university institutions away from initiatives like Sci-Hub, the online library that they accuse of massive hacking by offering free access to millions of previously inaccessible papers behind pay walls.

The last initiative carried out at the end of last October by the SNSI has been a virtual seminar in which cybersecurity experts participated to raise proposals that help to fight against "digital piracy" in the field of academic research.

Y one of them has generated quite a controversy once it has started to spread on the Net.

A controversial proposal: your library watches over you

The speaker, Corey Roach, a security expert at the University of Utah, brought to the table nothing less than the option of deploy spyware on proxy servers used by libraries universities to allow access to their online services.

Roach described software capable of collecting "biometric data, such as the speed at which [los usuarios] they write or how they move the mouse ", in order to differentiate and identify individual users, users who would otherwise be anonymized by the proxy servers of their universities.

"[Obtendremos] information about them such as whether they are students or employees, the client's IP address and the URL of the material they have requested. "

Sci-Hub: the fight against inequality in access to scientific knowledge

Of course, both groups of defenders of digital rights and scientific researchers themselves they have expressed their alarm given the possibility that university libraries can collaborate with large publishers to monitor students and researchers.

Björn Brembs, a professor of neurobiology at the University of Regensburg and a member of a scientific collective that lobbies the EU to restrict publishers' ability to monitor their own users, was the first to have access to the seminar's transcript and to disseminate it (via his blog).

Brembs affirms that if that SNSI proposal ends up being translated into concrete measures (something that the consortium of publishers denies having planned for now), this fact would constitute a major threat to the academic freedom of researchers, in addition to the fact that the data collected on researchers and students could end up in the hands of the security forces or sold for profit.

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SNSI members have long tried to prevent Sci-Hub from offering free access to academic journal content (to the extent that the portal has been forced to change domain every so often and enable special DNS to access the service) ...

... but now the measures that seem to focus your attention are those aimed at prevent researchers from continuing to download these papers anonymously to help expand the Schi-Hub database.

Via | Coda

Image | Skuzzz (via Wikimedia)