Webometric analysis of alternative access to scholarly publication

Special reference to LibGen and Sci-Hub


  • Md. Liton Ali Islamic University of Technology in Gazipur, Bangladesh




Purpose: This study aims to uncover the worldwide usage patterns and growth trends of Library Genesis (LibGen) and Sci-Hub, two popular alternative access platforms to scholarly publications.

Design/methodology/approach: This study utilizes a webometric approach to analyze worldwide usage patterns and growth trends of LibGen and Sci-Hub. Data was collected between May and June 2023 on online presence, usage metrics, and pattern from different web-based tools like LibGen and Sci-Hub database, Google Trends, SimilarWeb, and existing Python and GitHub projects. Analyses are conducted by incorporating statistical techniques and previous literature reviews.

Findings: The study reveals that LibGen and Sci-Hub have experienced a notable surge in popularity despite facing copyright infringements, legal disputes, and restrictions. Conversion rates and unique visitors have significantly increased, with users from various nations, including developed countries like the USA and China. Statistical data shows a preference for accessing science and technology-related resources, particularly in the field of medicine. Most of the downloads originated from reputable publishers and academic journals. The main motivations behind using these platforms are the high costs and limited access to scholarly publications. This phenomenon has attracted researchers, academics, students, and information seekers globally as they seek to overcome financial constraints and institutional barriers hindering access to valuable knowledge.

Research limitations: The study acknowledges limitations related to potential discrepancies and biases from external software and incomplete representation of source databases. The dynamic nature of the platforms also means data is only up until 2022, potentially excluding recent developments. Additionally, the country specific data may not give the exact idea as people use Virtual Private Network (VPN) to access the platforms bypassing restrictions.

Practical implications: The findings shed light on the challenges faced by the academic community and offer potential implications for policymakers, publishers, and researchers aiming to address the growing demand for affordable and accessible scholarly publications.

Originality/value: The originality of this study lies in its application to examine the alternative shadow libraries for scholarly publications. This research contributes to the existing knowledge domain by offering valuable insights into the extent and trends of utilizing shadow platforms, focusing on the implications of copyright infringements, legal concerns, and restrictions on scholarly knowledge dissemination.




How to Cite

Ali, M. L. (2023). Webometric analysis of alternative access to scholarly publication : Special reference to LibGen and Sci-Hub. International Journal of Information and Knowledge Studies, 3(1). https://doi.org/10.54857/ijiks.v3i1.68



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