Researchers from the University of Massachusetts have launched a torrent site which allows academics to share papers and datasets. AcademicTorrents provides researchers with a reliable and decentralized platform to share their work with peers, as well as the rest of the world. The site currently indexes over 1.5 petabytes of data, including NASA's map of Mars.
One of the core pillars of academic research is sharing. By letting other researchers know what you do, ideas are criticized, improved upon and extended. Unfortunately it’s not always easy for academics to share their work, for a variety of reasons.
One of the goals of the project is to give research back to the researchers, instead of having it locked away behind paywalls. Currently most of the top publications are being monetized by publishers, but with AcademicTorrents any journal can distribute papers for free.