What do Indian Researchers Download from Sci-Hub? An Analytical Introspection

Journal of Scientometric Research,2021,10,2,259-264.
Published:October 2021
Type:Research Article
Author(s) affiliations:

Vivek Kumar Singh1,*, Satya Swarup Srichandan1, Sujit Bhattacharya2

1Banaras Hindu University, Computer Science at BHU, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, INDIA.

2CSIR-National Institute of Science Communication and Policy Research, New Delhi, INDIA.


The study has done a fine-grained analysis of the paper downloads by Indian researchers from Sci-Hub, which shows that the problem of access is endemic across disciplines and it is faced by researchers across the country at large. The download requests originating from India on a daily basis are counted, geotagged, and analysed by discipline, publisher, country and publication year, etc. Results indicate that if Sci-Hub is blocked in India, it may actually hurt the Indian research community in a significant way. The Sci-Hub downloads can thus be taken as a ‘proxy’ to draw attention to the larger issue of the need for access of research papers to the research community at large to do ‘good’ science. The study provides reliable evidence to support the draft 5th National Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy (STIP-2020) recommendation of providing free access to research papers to citizens of India. Development of institutional repositories, arrangement with international publishers, and strengthening the public-funded Indian journals, are some other issues that need serious policy intervention.

Discipline-wise distribution of research papers downloaded