Use, knowledge, and perception of the scientific contribution of Sci-Hub in medical students: Study in six countries in Latin America

PLoS One. 2017 Oct 5;12(10):e0185673. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0185673. eCollection 2017.


Introduction: Sci-Hub is a useful web portal for people working in science as it provides access to millions of free scientific articles. Satisfaction and usage should be explored in the Latino student population. The objective of this study was to evaluate the use, knowledge, and perception of the scientific contribution of Sci-Hub in medical students from Latin America.

Methodology: A multicenter, observational, analytical study was conducted in 6632 medical students from 6 countries in Latin America. We surveyed from a previously validated instrument, delving into knowledge, monthly average usage, satisfaction level, and perception of the scientific contributions provided by Sci-Hub. Frequencies and percentages are described, and generalized linear models were used to establish statistical associations.

Results: Only 19.2% of study participants knew of Sci-Hub and its function, while the median use was twice a month. 29.9% of Sci-Hub-aware participants claimed they always find the desired scientific information in their Sci-Hub search; 62.5% of participants affirmed that Sci-Hub contributes to scientific investigation; only 2.2% reported that Sci-Hub does not contribute to science.

Conclusion: The majority of Latino students are not aware of Sci-Hub.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Latin America
  • Male
  • Students, Medical / psychology*
  • Young Adult