The Pirate University is a site specially build to allow students who don't have access to up-to-date academic resources (publications) to ask students who have, to help them out.

How does it work?

Posting a request

First, register for a new account here, check your mail and then you can post a new request for a wanted academic resource through this page: http://www.pirateuniversity.org/node/add/quest

There you describe the article you are looking for.

To facilitate people in locating the article, you can enter the title of the publication the article appeared in, its author, the year of publishing, the issue, the volume and the page it was on. Its also possible to provide an ISSN-number.

Also, we ask you to indicate from which (academic) discipline your wanted article approximately is.

To encourage others to help you out, it is sensible to elaborate on why you are looking for this publication, what kind of research you are conducting, and, for example, why you can't find it on your own.

If you don't have an account yet with the Private University you are also asked for a username and your email address to open a new account. If you already have an account, just log in.

After you finished filling the form (click “Save” at the bottom) your wanted article appears immediately in the list of wanted articles on the homepage of the Pirate University, it is tweeted on http://twitter.com/pirateuniverse and shared on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pirate-University/247382008696478.

Now you can hope that someone will stumble upon your request by chance, but of course you can also alert your friends on your current academic need by also sharing your request yourself on Facebook etc.

Suggesting a resource

When you saved your "quest", others have the possibility to suggest where you could find your article on-line. This they can do by clicking on "Suggest a new resource" on your wanted-item-page.

When your benefactor already knows where to find the article on-line, he or she can provide a hyperlink to the article in the "Add a resource" box on the right.

If the article is not yet on-line, but a contributor has, for example, a .pdf available, it can be uploaded to the Internet by clicking on the “Upload a new resource”-header. There appears a form where you can upload the article to the cloud of any of the services listed the drop down-box. The address where the file is uploaded will be pasted automatically in the “resource”-box.
The maximum upload file size here is 2MB but of course you can upload larger files directly at any of the services and manually paste the link.

Checking suggestions

Once people have suggested resources – if you provided a valid email address you are notified on this by mail – you need to verify if they are actually the article what you were looking for. You can do this easily by clicking on the links people suggested.

There is also an option to vote suggestions up or down. If a suggestion contains, for example, a spam link, we encourage you to vote it down. If you are not the person who filed the request initially, but a suggestion seems to be particularly good, you can vote it up.

When you find your article: Say thanks!

If a suggestion proves right and you found the article you were looking for, you can activate the “found” field on top of your request-page. This is to let the community know they can stop looking for the article. And as a little “thank you” you should click the “Best suggestion”-link under the suggestion which helped you out. Hereby you award your benefactor with additional 'ducats' and the best suggestion gets highlighted.

Is it legal?

The Pirate University is an on-line bulletin board on which students post requests for academic publications. You can compare it to an academic wish list. Others, who know where to find these publications, reply and if possible, provide links to the resources searched. The Pirate University is not providing, storing or sharing copyrighted material.

An important question is if the uploading of articles, publications is legal. If you are the copyright holder of the article requested, there should be no problem. Also in certain cases, if you or your institute have acquired the rights of the publication, or if it is free of rights, there shouldn't be a problem. It is probably best to consult with your librarian to see which kind of publication is okay to share on the Internet.

On principle

We believe that the interest of students around the world whose universities can't afford sufficient access to academic publication might outweigh the interest of academic copyright. Many students would not have been able to afford access to the sought publication. Preventing students, scientist, from having access to full discourses seems to be a violation of generally held academic standards.

At the same time, wealthy Western universities who buy themselves privileged access to scientific databases are not likely to cancel their database subscriptions because of the (slow and cumbersome) Pirate University. Therefore websites as the Pirate University aren't likely to affect the business case of academic publishers.

I'm not a lawyer nor a native speaker of English, so if theres anything foolish here, its probably because of that.

* PS: If you are copyright holder of an article which you see linked to without proper permission, please send us a mail, describe the quest and your copyright claim, and we will remove the contested link.

Read also http://www.plos.org/about/open-access/

Comments welcome at http://www.pirateuniversity.org/content/feedback

The Pirate University is a site specially build to allow students who don't have access to up-to-date academic resources (publications) to ask students who have, to help them out.How does it work?Posting a requestFirst, register for a new account here, check your mail and then you can post a new request for a wanted academic resource through this page: http://www.pirateuniversity.org/node/add/questThere you describe the article you are looking for.