Open Science has gained a lot of attention not only within the academic community but also among policy-makers. Some international publishers have been active in moving towards open access publications and research data, but, overall, modest results have been achieved so far. In this context, the digital piracy engines emerge as vital actors in disseminating and determining the impact of research. This study examines the Sci-Hub downloads data in order to uncover patterns of piracy in European Studies research. We identify journals and the subjects of articles that have been pirated the most. We also study the geographical distribution of download requests. The analysis reveals that the readers are mostly interested in subjects reflecting the current major European challenges, specifically populism and the economic crisis. Both developing countries as well as the ‘old’ EU members are active in illegal downloads.
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