As a reviewer, I review manuscripts (MS) for 31 top journals like J. Geophysical Research, Desalination, Energy, Allied Geophysics, Renewable and Sustainable and Energy Reviews, Applied Geochemistry, Geothermics, Applied Geochemistry; Geochemical Exploration;  Environmental Earth Sciences;  Arabian Journal of Geosciences;  Water Quality Research;  Process safety and Environmental protection;  Environmental Geochemistry and Health;  Journal of Hydrology; Management of Environmental quality;  Geofluids;  Water Resources Management;  Journal of African Earth Sciences;  Advances in Artificial Intelligence;  Applied Geophysics; Paleogeography, Paleoclimatology Paleoecology;  Geothermal Energy;  Current Science; Marine Georesources and Geotechnology;  Desalination;  Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews;  Hydrogeological Processes;  The Geological Society of India;  Physics and Chemistry of the Earth;  Water Air and Soil Pollution;  Geomechanics and geophysics for Geo-energy and Georesources;  Geophysical Research Letters and Colloid and Interface Sci.

Reviewers and Editor and Editorial Board contribute immensely for maintaining the scientific standard of Science and Engineering papers unlike the Predatory Journals (read https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/the-game-pjs-play/ ). In the year 2020, I reviewed 41 MS. Science (including Engineering) papers published in top journals carry a wealth of information, cutting across countries, religion, caste, and creed. No barriers to the flow of science. Because of this cross-pollination of scientific ideas man can discover new vaccines, resolve DNA codes, send satellites to space and send communications to any part of the universe, and many more.  The sacrifice made by the reviewers and the editors and the editorial board is immense……no measure to measure their contribution for the up-keep of humanity. A reviewer spends a considerable amount of time reviewing an MS…… its authenticity, background check on the authors’ publications, scientific content based on a thorough review of the literature.  Thus a reviewer while reviewing an MS has to go through a volume of literature to check the validity of the MS. A reviewer is final authority for an MS to be published. To reject a MS or to accept a MS is in the hands of a reviewer. So the responsibility of a reviewer is enormous. Patents are filed based on scientific investigation, new inventions are made based on publications. Take for example the current “Facebook” and “Whatsapp” (forgetting about the other controversial news items about these platforms which are being debated now ) and similar Apps did not fall from the sky like a shooting star!! They emerged based on science, based on an exchange of ideas, based on communication in print media, etc. True with Google. The authors spend an extensive amount of time and energy in writing a paper……..thinking about a problem, designing an experiment, conducting an experiment, checking the results, presenting the results with collaborators or colleagues or in conferences before making it into a scientific publication. Even the agencies funding the research do not ask for anything but a report from the authors or the investigator.

Such is the growth of science and scientists in the world.  These people do not get a single penny for the work except for their promotion which is their breadwinner.  These authors sacrifice by transferring copy-rights to the publishers too.

Now, who are the beneficiaries……all the publishing houses….Elsevier, Springer, Wiley, and all other such publishing houses?  They enjoy the benefits of the poor teacher, suck their blood and drop them like a hot potato.  Like “throwing crumbs  of bread to the barking dogs to salience them”, reviewers are given free access to any published papers through Science Direct for a month. Earlier when a author publishes a paper in a journal, he used to get a complimentary copy of the journal. This is slowly replaced by a free pdf copy of the paper. And now that is also gone. Only one link to the authors that he can share and people can read it online. Even the authors have to buy their publication once it is published. What a downfall to the scientific community.  These publishing companies virtually squeezed the scientific community who has no voice to express or represent.

Imagine if all the reviewers refuse to review the MS, where the world will be today?? Mankind would have been perished by now. In fact, when I was in my earlier reviewer career, I rebelled, wrote to the editor on why I should give my time free. Then I realized that this is for the benefit of humanity and I should not expect remuneration for the sacrifice I do. I silently fell online and started accepting MS for review from Editors.

Now there is one bright star that rose among the scientific world and scientific community in the name of Alexandra Elbakyan to fight for the cause of this silent sacrificing community. No arguments, no requests no email. She simply devised a method to download any scientific papers that are published free of cost. The publishing giants could not digest her service to science. She shook the publishing houses. They lost the war and ran behind the courts like cowards. Instead of running to the courts, these scrupulous “houses” should have found a way to come over this problem. The publishing houses make a fortune at the expense of the scientists. They out-source the work to developing countries and further make money from cheap labour. Disgusting attitude.  The courts should thrash their petition…..even the lawyers once, I am sure must be a victim to this cruelty of publishing houses. The courts should allow Sci-hub in all the countries. The publishing houses should be asked to pay a royalty to the authors for the work published in their journal. Time has changed and I am sure several Alexandra Elbakyan will  rise from the ground in support of the science and scientific community. Alexandra Elbakyan herself faced a tough situation while doing her graduation. She is a IT graduate specialized in info-security. She worked on brain-machine interface and developed a system that can use brainwaves as password. What a wonderful technology!! She found it difficult to get published literature related to her field due to inaccessibility of papers published in journals. Her frustration led her to develop software that can help researchers to download whatever scientific literature researchers need freely. This is how Sc-Hub emerged

While giving an interview to https://science.thewire.in Alexandra said “Today, most scientists view the academic publishing system as fundamentally unjust and exploitative. The problem is that publishers are not actual creators of these works, scientists are – they do all the work, and academic publishers simply use their position of power in the Republic of Science to extract unjust profits. Sci-Hub does not enable piracy where creative people are deprived of the reward they deserve. It is a very different thing”.  She is right. She continues “ What does one mean by the word ʻpiracyʼ? Only after several years was I able to comprehend how some people use this word in a bad sense. Most scientists do not care about the legal status at all. They want to do science, and they need to access academic literature to do it, and these legal things — they are in a different reality that scholars do not belong to at all, another planet or a different universe……Researchers do the actual work: they invent the hypothesis, do the experiments and write the articles describing the results of these experiments. Then they publish this article in an academic journal. They cannot simply put this article online on their blog: to be recognized as research work, it must be published in a respectable peer-reviewed journal. So they send their articles to publishers like Elsevier, Wiley, or Springer…… Publishers send articles they have received to other scientists for peer-review. Reviewers give their opinion on whether the work should be accepted in a journal or not, or if some additional work must be done. Based on these reviews, the article is published or rejected”

“Because most academic works and the most popular works in Sci-Hubʼs database are from these publishers, and Elsevier is the leading one in numbers. These companies form an oligopoly that currently controls all academic communication. These publishers alone perhaps control the majority of science. They are key players.  The Sci-Hubʼs view is that science should not be controlled by a few big companies but it should be a dynamic network of learned societies.” says Alexandra Elbakyan. She is right…..it is science for the benefit of people.