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Carl Malamud conducting audit of public domain in scholarly literature

Carl Malamud of Public.Resource.Org has long done yeoman’s work in furtherance of the public domain. Who can forget that it was he who forced the SEC to build and maintain the EDGAR database for public access to company filings? And he’s long been on the side of open law (“Law is the operating system of our society … So show me the manual!”).

Now he’s working on a little side project to find out — and more importantly make publicly accessible! — how much of the scholarly journal literature is actually in the public domain:

“Our audit has determined that 1,264,429 journal articles authored by federal employees or officers are potentially void of copyright…In addition, 2,031,359 of the articles in my possession are dated 1923 or earlier. These 2 categories represent 4.92% of scihub.”

This represents only a small chunk of the 63+ million articles estimated to be available in SciHub, the rebel search engine that bypasses publisher paywalls to give free access to over 62,000,000 academic papers (one could, if one were intrigued, access SciHub via onion link in the Tor browser). After his analysis is done, he’ll be making it publicly available. Way to go Carl!

Read Carl’s entire tweet thread below:

CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


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