In cramped quarters at Russia’s Higher School of Economics, shared by four students and a cat, sat a server with 13 hard drives.
Headlines reduced her to a female Aaron Swartz, ignoring the significant differences between the two.
Now, even though Elbakyan stands at the center of an argument about how copyright is enforced on the internet, most people have no idea who she is.
But even after receiving the “YOU HAVE BEEN SUED” email, Elbakyan was surprisingly relaxed. The publicity made Sci-Hub bigger, transforming it into the largest Open Access academic resource in the world.
In just six years of existence, Sci-Hub had become a juggernaut: the 64.5 million papers it hosted represented two-thirds of published research, and it was available to anyone.
“I remember when the administrator at Lib Gen sent me this news and said something like ‘Well, that’s...
that’s a real problem.’ There’s no literal translation,” Elbakyan tells me in Russian.