Joseph Cohen and Henry Lo, both researchers at MIT, have recently a launched a peer-to-peer platform that lets academics share papers and datasets among members of the community for free. With over 1.5petabytes of data already indexed, AcademicTorrents aims to put research back into the hands of researchers, as opposed to publishers that put up paywalls to restrict access to the information.
“One aim of this site is to create the infrastructure to allow open access journals to operate at low cost. By facilitating file transfers, the journal can focus on it’s core mission of providing world class research. After peer review the paper can be indexed on this site and disseminated throughout our system,” the site’s founders note.
Because the site handles its own tracking and seeding, users can download and upload files at all times, without the fear of losing download speeds. The uploaded files can be grouped into “collections” based on interest, source, author and so forth. RSS feeds are supported for users who would like to receive automatic notifications when new content is added.
Aside from the generous collection of academic papers, NASA’s map of Mars has also been indexed by the site. The recent tragic circumstances surrounding internet activist Aaron Schwartz’s liberation of over 4 million academic articles from the online repository JSTOR, and subsequent suicide while facing charges, has made the ownership of and access to scholarly work a hot topic.
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