freeread.org: For the human right to read
freeread.org's mission is to fight for the human right to free education, and the human right to share in and benefit from culture, arts, and scientific knowledge per United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights Articles 26.1 and 27.1.
In order to ensure this right, we need free-access global libraries, but ours are in danger.
A decade ago most of humanity’s scientific knowledge sat locked behind paywalls inside subscription databases, inaccessible to the world. If a scientist didn't have the right subscription access they were charged $45 to read just one paper: equal to more than half a week’s salary in many countries. Many scientists couldn't pay, so they couldn't read.
And so free libraries were born. Free libraries offer portals to bypass paywalls, download re-shared and scanned books from private libraries. The shadow libraries Library Genesis and Sci-Hub collectively offer over 5 million books and 80 million scientific articles for free to the world. Democratizing science to bring knowledge to all people means protecting these free libraries and fighting for their survival.
Free libraries face intense legal attacks from publishers like Elsevier, resulting in domain name seizures and default judgments of millions of dollars. Both Library Genesis and Sci-Hub have managed to continue their work, but accessing their domains is difficult for readers in some parts of the world. A chapter of the free internet is ending. A new chapter of the internet is here.
A new internet is emerging: de-centralized, autonomous, and democratically hosted. We can democratize knowledge and science by taking back control of science, education, and the internet - one book at a time. Let's begin.