The following articles are the most downloaded SAGE Publications articles from Sci-Hub for the period of Sep 2015 – Feb 2016. The download numbers are pulled from the Sci-Hub usage stats (for background read the Science article). Out of a total of about 28 million downloads, less than 2% of those, or approximately 378k, were for articles published by SAGE. Included in that subset were 171k unique articles. This is an attempt to use the pirated download stats as a method of curation.
As quick background and disclaimer: I am a minority shareholder in SAGE Publications and serve on the SAGE board of directors. SAGE is a family business founded by my grandparents. This analysis and these links to Sci-Hub are purely out of personal interest and do not reflect any SAGE position or opinion. Personally I hope we use the debate about piracy, paywalls, open access, and the future of publishing to approach our business(model) with an open mind. I have a deep respect for our customers and partners, particularly scholarly societies, who have a lot at risk as the world of intellectual property evolves. The only thing I’m sure of is that burying our head in the sand and hoping piracy simply goes away isn’t where I want to place my bet.
And for those who only see the world in black and white (from either side of the debate), I urge you to acknowledge that the issues swirling around scholarly publishing are much more complex than a simplistic “us vs them” view of the world. I encourage everyone to truly debate these issues without reaching straight for the pitchforks.
Without further ado, here are the 10 most pirated articles from the 10 most pirated disciplines in which SAGE publishes: