Would authors take legal action against Sci-Hub? Results of Twitter poll and reflections on my network

Well, I said I would post the result of a Twitter poll I created, asking the question “Academic authors, would you want legal action against if publishers weren’t taking it already?”.

I gave this poll a shot as I wanted to get insight into authors’ views on Sci-Hub and a previous Twitter poll I ran got a  reasonably high response (considering the size of my network). However, this particular poll only got one response. The response was a “no” (i.e. the respondent would not want legal action taking against Schi-Hub) but there is not  much that can be read into this, for obvious reasons.

So, firstly I want to say ‘thank you!’ to the person who engaged with the poll. Next, let’s see what factors might have limited engagement and what I can take away from this:

  • Firstly, the number of responses I get on Twitter will be limited by the size of my network. I currently have 78 followers –  I appreciate them all very much, but it’s not a huge following
  • Hashtags don’t equal engagement. I used #scihub in the hope of reaching a wider audience but it seems I cannot rely on hashtags alone
  • The timing of my poll may be significant. I tweeted it at about 23.00-24.00 on a weekday, which might have limited how many people saw it
  • Retweets really help. My successful poll got four retweets, whereas this less successful poll got none
  • The target audience was narrower. My successful poll was addressed to “Researchers, students, scholars”, whereas this less successful poll was addressed only to “Academic authors”

I need to consider all of the above if I am to become a more effective networked practitioner.