Young scientist banned from Paypal for making journal articles free, now takes Bitcoin donations

posted 3 months ago
A young scientist from Kazakhstan, Alexandra Elbakyan, also a 31-year-old freelance coder, and officially a neurobiologist and phylologist, is running a database of over 80 million articles from academic journals that are normally available only through subscriptions. What started out of frustration when she was a graduate student became a free research service funded only through donations. For most people in the world, bitcoin is the only way to support Elbakyan’s work.

The website, called Sci-Hub, has been sued by two science publishing houses and reportedly investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice for possible espionage on behalf of Russian intelligence. (Elbakyan said she never got contacted by the U.S. authorities about it.) This effectively cut Elbakyan off the mainstream financial services such as Paypal in the West.
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