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Alexandra Albacian: Robinhood in the modern science world
In the eyes of some, he is a 'unique personality' of science, while in the eyes of others, he is an 'unprincipled bandit'! He is benefiting countless students, analysts, researchers and scientists around the world, yet he is a fugitive in the eyes of the law! According to the British journal Nature, he is one of the top 10 people involved in science. But the US judiciary is looking forward to his arrest. I was talking about Alexandra Elbacian, who founded the Shadow Library website 'Sci – Hub'.
Known as the 'Robinhood of Modern Science', Elbakian's full name is Alexandra Asanovna Elbakian. He was born on November 6, 1988, in the city of Alma-Ata (now Almaty), the capital of the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic of the former Soviet Union. His family is ethnically mixed, and although some media outlets have called him an ethnic Armenian, he has called it "politics." According to Elbakian, his family is of mixed Armenian, Slavic and Central Asian descent.
Albacian developed an interest in science from an early age. He had a few science encyclopedias and a lot of science fiction books in his house, which made him particularly interested in technology. When she was a schoolgirl, a teacher gave her a children's series called "Dunno's Expeditions" written by the Soviet children's writer Nikolai Nosov, and reading this book caused her to become disgusted with the capitalist system, which still exists in her. He learned English while still in school.
Albakian's family was not well off, but they still had a personal computer and programming book at home, a rare occurrence in Kazakhstan in the 1990s. However, he did not have an Internet connection at home, and only when his mother took him to her workplace did Albakian have access to the Internet.
Located in Albuquerque Almaty in 2005. I. Satbayev enrolled at the Kazakh National Research Technical University and studied information security. During this time he was involved in creating a neurocomputer interface. But he gradually lost interest in his subject because he had the idea that information technology was being considered as a technical subject rather than a science. In 2009 he received a bachelor's degree in 'History of Science'. As a student she was hardworking and idealistic, but she was not described as very talented.
While studying at university, Albacian had problems using the Internet. Internet access there was extremely limited and collecting books, music or movies from the internet was very expensive. From that time on, he mastered the art of computer hacking at his own expense, and the main purpose of his hacking was to go beyond the paywall to download various content on the Internet and collect the content for free.
He moved to Russia in 2009 and spent a year in Moscow working on computer security. During this time he noticed the influence of bureaucracy and nepotism in the Russian education system, as well as anti-state sentiment among supporters of the Russian opposition. For example, one of his Russian professors openly spoke of severing the Caucasus from Russia. Elbakian was opposed to such thinking, and was put to the test for his political views. But he was able to save some money while still in Moscow and moved to Germany in 2010.
In Germany, he worked on a human brain-computer interface in a laboratory at the University of Albert-Ludwig Freiburg and became interested in transhumanism. At the same time, he and his colleagues began downloading large numbers of books and academic articles from the Internet without paying for their research needs, and since then he has been thinking of creating a website to provide researchers with free academic material.
For his work in Germany, he received an unpaid internship in Neuroscience and Consciousness at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, USA. The United States, and especially the city of Atlanta, did not like him. In the city he saw lots of homeless people and beggars, which further strengthened his negative attitude towards the US system. According to him, the way the United States was supposed to be built in the 'American Dream', the country has been built upside down.
Albakian returned to Kazakhstan in 2011 and on April 16 of the same year officially launched the 'Sai-Hub' website. Since then, millions of academic materials have been uploaded to Cy-Hub, and countless researchers, scientists and students from all over the world have access to these materials for free, which would not have been possible for many without Cy-Hub.
It is pertinent to note that there is usually a fixed price (35 US dollars or about 2,800 Bangladeshi rupees) to pay for the collection of academic material on the Internet, and many students or researchers are unable to spend this amount personally. For the most part, their educational institutions provide them with access, but it is becoming increasingly difficult for them to bear the rising costs. In addition, six publishing houses - Reed-Elsevier, Willie-Blackwell, Springer, Taylor & Francis, American Chemical Society and Sage Publishing - control more than half of the total published academic material in the United States, and they are gradually increasing the price.
In this situation, Sai-Hub has become a threat to the absolute authority of these organizations. With the help of Sai-Hub, researchers have been able to cross the pay-wall created by these organizations and collect the necessary material for themselves for free. As a result, these companies are facing financial losses, and many of the publishers have directly called Albakian a 'thief'. However, they have a legal basis for this claim, because the activities of Sai-Hub are clearly a violation of copyright law.
On the other hand, a large section of the scientific and research class has supported Albacian's initiative. Some magazines have called Elbakian a "pirate queen" and a "robinhood of science." However, Albacian himself does not like these titles. According to him, what pirates or Robinhood used to do was a crime, but sharing books or articles should not be a crime. In fact, Albacian believes in a kind of 'scientific communism', and he believes that everyone should have equal rights in the pursuit of science.
From 2012 to 2014, Elbakian studied "magistracy" at the Faculty of Public Administration at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow, but this did not end there. From 2017 to 2019, he studied biblical languages at St. Petersburg State University's Faculty of Linguistics and earned a master's degree.
Albacian is a fugitive under U.S. law. In 2015, the U.S. publishing company Elsevier filed a lawsuit in his name alleging copyright infringement, and a U.S. court ordered Elbevier to pay 1.5 million (or 15 million) in damages. In 2016, the American Chemical Society filed another lawsuit against Elbakian, and a U.S. court ordered Albakian to pay them 48 million ( 4.8 million) in damages. But neither Albakian's native Kazakhstan nor his workplace Russia are interested in extraditing him to the United States, making it impossible to enforce the verdicts in these cases. And according to Albakian, he can't pay this compensation even if he wants to, because he doesn't have that much money!
Albakian's political outlook is influenced by communism, although he is not a Marxist. He has expressed support for Russian President Vladimir Putin's policies, and is generally in favor of a strong state. At the same time, he opposes Western-backed mass movements in the former Soviet Union, because, according to him, it is important to understand who is leading the movement before jumping into it. Elbakian viewed the spread of high technology in Russia positively and was very enthusiastic about the project to build a 'Skolkovo Innovation Center' in Russia, imitating Silicon Valley in the United States.
However, his support for the Russian government has made him unpopular with supporters of the Russian opposition. In fact, Russian opposition activists launched so many negative propaganda campaigns against Albakian that he angrily cut off access to Russia in 2017. But at the special request of Russian academics, he finally changed his mind and within a few days opened the sci-hub to Russian users.
Interestingly, the Albakians have repeatedly failed to obtain Russian citizenship. In 2016, he failed the Russian language test required to obtain Russian citizenship. The following year he passed the Russian language test, but refused to swear to abide by all the provisions of the Russian constitution. Because, the existence of Sai-Hub is not compatible with Russian copyright law. It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post.
In December 2019, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that Albakian had links to Russian military intelligence, and that Russian spies were financing "Sai-Habe." Elbakian denied the allegations, saying he or Sai-Hub had no ties to Russia or any other intelligence agency. He also expressed ignorance about the donations of Russian spies, although he said that the identity of the donors to Sai-Hub was unknown, so he did not know if the Russian spies did indeed give grants to Sai-Hub. However, for security reasons, Elbakian has kept his current location anonymous.
Albacian's attitude towards the role of the United States and the Western world in world politics and science is extremely negative. According to him, he is in favor of a strong state that can stand up against the Western world and pursue its own path of development independently. He added that he did not want scientists in Russia and his homeland, Kazakhstan, to suffer the same fate as scientists in Iraq, Libya or Syria, whom the United States "helped" to become "democratic."
As per the data of US publishing houses and the judiciary, as of September 2019, an average of 4 lakh people use SI-Hub every day and according to the data of April 2020, SI-Hub.
Habe 8 crore Contains more than 10 million academic materials. Both numbers are growing steadily over time. So, whether moral or immoral, Sai-Hub is playing a very important role in the spread of knowledge in today's world, and the role of Alexandra Elbakian, the founder of Sai-Hub, is undeniable.