Some lively Twitter banter has arisen this evening regarding the practice of sharing PDFs of scientific articles when one does not have personal or institutional access.
Specifically, some among my stead have taken to tweeting requests for articles using the #icanhazpdf hashtag.
For non-open-access articles, does this practice violate a publisher’s copyright?
(And I welcome input from my ACS overlords.)
Update 24 December: I have changed the title of this post to reflect a comment below by Michael Eisen that sharing PDFs of journal articles is an act civil disobedience toward the scientific publishing enterprise. I had previously compared the practice to the Underground Railroad or Napster music file sharing. I deeply regret the use of the analogy of PDF file sharing to the Underground Railroad, a network of abolitionists who facilitated the safe escape of enslaved African-Americans in the southern US to freedom in the North and northward to Canada. I, in particular, should be especially sensitive to making such an ill-considered analogy of one of the most degrading episodes in US history to an intellectual discussion of sharing scientific papers. It was wrong, period. I apologize deeply to those offended by my thoughtless mistake.
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