Answered By: Simon Goose
Last Updated: Jun 26, 2024     Views: 2

The Information Services Committee of the University of Cambridge enforces Rules on the Use and Misuse of Computing Facilities.  These Rules completely prohibit any giving out of credentials provided to individuals by the University.  Sharing your credentials has grave consequences for your personal security and others’, as they can be used to obtain confidential, private and sensitive information, and could be used to damage the University’s computing facilities’ security.  Use of credentials by third parties not condoned by the University places the University in breach of license agreements covering the provision of published online content which would ultimately result in a license’s termination and loss of access. 

The Rules state:

“User identifiers and passwords are issued to individuals for a specific purpose, usually in connection with University of Cambridge work, and the Rules explicitly forbid the giving, lending or borrowing of an identifier and password for any UIS facility FOR ANY REASON except where previously sanctioned by the UIS. As a matter of policy, UIS facilities do not have guest identifiers open to use by any member of the public.”

If you are approached by Sci-Hub to share your credentials it is advisable for your own security to refuse this.  Sci-Hub is a federated search system that operates with an associated repository called Library Genesis (LibGen) that contains illegally obtained copyrighted material.  Sci-Hub uses multiple institutional access systems to search across publisher platforms.  When it receives a search request, it delivers a copy of an article back to the requester and stores a copy in LibGen so that Sci-Hub can deliver it again for subsequent requests.  Sci-Hub circumvents authentication necessary to access publisher platforms that contain content provided to libraries under license agreements by using the login credentials of University members.