Because it works.
Because information and knowledge are public goods.
Because it democratises content.
Because much the world cannot afford to pay US/EU/JP/AU prices for content.
Because the research is (often) publicly funded, conducted in public institutions, and meant for the public.
Because information and markets simply don't work. Deadweight losses from restricted access and
perverse incentives for publication both
taint the system.
Because much the content, EVERYTHING published before 1962,
would have been public domain under the copyright law in force at the time, and much
up through 1976 and the retrospective extensions of copyright it, and multiple subsequent copyright acts
, have created.
Because the interfaces to existing systems, a patchwork fragment of poorly administered, poorly designed, limited-access, and all partial systems are frankly far more tedious to navigate than Sci-Hub: Submit DOI or URL, get paper.Because what the academic publishing industry calls "theft" the world calls "research".
Because unaffiliated independent research is a thing.
Because the old regime is absolutely unsustainable. It will die. It is dying as we write this.
Because the roles of financing
research and publication need not parallel the activity of accessing
content. Ronald Coase's "Theory of the Firm" (1937, http://188.8.131.52/http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2308556
), a paper which should
be public domain today under the law in which it was created and published, and should have been by 1991 at the latest
, but isn't, tells us why: transactions themselves have costs.
Because journals no longer serve a primary role as publishers of academic material
, but as gatekeepers over academic professional advancement
. This perpetrates multiple pathologies: papers don't advance knowledge, academics are blackmailed into the system, and access to knowledge is curtailedBecause 30% profit margins are excessive by any measure. Greed, in this case, is not good.