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Occupy Elsevier?

A boycott of the publishing giant swells, but is the criticism warranted?

By | February 7, 2012

image: Occupy Elsevier? Flickr, DulcieLee

FLICKR, DULCIELEE

Nearly 4,500 researchers have signed an agreement to refrain from publishing in, refereeing, and/or performing editorial services for journals produced by the science-publishing behemoth Elsevier. But the publisher of several well-respected life-science journals, including Cell and The Lancet, maintains that a misunderstanding of its intentions, and not unfair business practices, are fueling the boycott.

The boycott was launched on January 21 when renowned Cambridge University mathematician Timothy Gowers detailed his criticisms of the company's business practices on his blog Gowers's Weblog. His reasons for the boycott included what Gowers referred to as the "very high prices" Elsevier charges for subscriptions to its journals, the practice of "bundling," in which academic libraries are sold package deals that include desirable as well as less than desirable journal titles, and Elsevier's support of the Research Works Act, a bill making its way through the US House of Representatives that seeks to limit open access policies at federal agencies like the National Institutes of Health.

"I also don’t see any argument at all against refusing to submit papers to Elsevier journals," Gowers wrote. "So I am not only going to refuse to have anything to do with Elsevier journals from now on, but I am saying so publicly. I am by no means the first person to do this, but the more of us there are, the more socially acceptable it becomes, and that is my main reason for writing this post."

The blog post was tweeted, retweeted, linked in Facebook, and otherwise spread like wildfire throughout the Internet. Within days, thousands of Gowers's fellow mathematicians and other academics had signed on to the boycott at a site—http://thecostofknowledge.com/—set up by Tyler Neylon, co-founder of data analysis company Zillabyte, expressly for the purpose of collecting names in support of the anti-Elsevier stance. As of this writing, 4439 people had signed up, including more than 570 biologists.

Albert Einstein College of Medicine geneticist Brett Abrahams learned of the boycott when a friend posted a link to the cost of knowledge website on Facebook last week. Later the same day he joined the boycott himself. "When I signed on to the website there was something like 1500 names," Abrahams recalled.

Abrahams, who studies the genetic roots of autism, said that he joined the boycott for what he considers the unsustainable nature of the subscription-based publishing model for scientific research. "The notion that the government pays my salary and my colleagues' salaries and enables us to do this very expensive research and then requires separate funding for us to access our work," he said, "That's insane."

Though he admits that he's not intimately familiar with the way in which Elsevier conducts business, Abrahams said that open-access publishing is a fairer way to disseminate knowledge gained from publicly funded research. "I know very very little about Elsevier and the specifics associated with it," he conceded. "The only problem I have with them is their resistance to facing the reality of the changing environment. I don't believe that we should continue with this system rigged in the way it is now."

Younger researchers also joined the Elsevier boycott. Aspiring soil scientist and Virginia Tech grad student Nick Bonzey heard about the boycott via a post on the popular blog BoingBoing. "It was a way to show my support to end monopolistic practices by big companies like that," he said. Bonsey added that unease with Elsevier's "bundling" practices bugged him the most. "Virginia Tech struggles from keeping their libraries from sucking up too much money," he said. "If I didn’t have access to all the literature that was relevant in my field, I'd have to pay $20-30 per article. I wouldn’t be able to do my work."

Theoretical biology PhD student Joel Adamson signed up for the boycott after reading about it on Twitter. He said that seeing prominent scientists, such as renowned Masachusetts Institute of Technology computer scientist Hal Ableson, on the list influenced his decision to join. "Seeing the names of people who had already signed up was the critical thing," Adamson said. Like Bonzey and Abrahams, the University of North Carolina grad student said that the stark distinction between Elsevier's publishing model and that of open-access publishers was central to his support of the boycott. "I'm not opposed to the basic idea of subscription-based journals," Adamson said. "Day by day I see people making a bigger commitment to open-access publishing, and I don't think [Elsevier] can stand up for very much longer with their business model."

Elsevier maintains that the criticisms are based more on a misunderstanding of the company's goals and strategies than a truly flawed or unethical business model. David Clark, Elsevier's senior vice president for physical sciences, said that the boycott is still troubling to the company. "The fact that anybody wants to say that they don't want to work with us is something that is going to cause us concern," he said. "I wouldn't underestimate just how alert we are when people have this negative sort of reaction."

But Clark rebutted the criticism voiced in Glowers's blog post, starting with the claim that Elsevier's subscription prices are too high. "Our list prices, on a price per article basis, are absolutely on the industry average," he claimed. "This image of these journals becoming more and more expensive and less and less accessible simple isn't true."

Clark also refuted the notion that Elsevier was forcing institutional libraries to buy bundles of journal titles and ruthlessly negotiating those deals. "If you look at what libraries choose to do, they do choose to take some of these packages," he said. "We're not in the business of forcing people to take journals." Clark added that libraries have the option of purchasing each of Elsevier's publications individually if they don't want to buy bundled packages.

Clark defended the company's decision to support the Research Works Act through its membership in the Association of American Publishers, a trade group that is lobbying for passage of the legislation. "We want to have a voluntary relationship, and we want to encourage authors to get their work out and disseminated," he said. "We're not wild about government mandates," such as the NIH's mandate that any research supported with public funds be submitted to the publically accessible digital archive PubMed Central upon acceptance for publication in journals. "But I don't think any other publisher is wild about that either."

Elsevier posted a statement echoing Clark's stance on the Research Works Act (RWA) this past weekend. "We are against unwarranted and potentially harmful government laws that could undermine the sustainability of the peer-review publishing system," the statement reads. "The RWA’s purpose is simply to ensure that the US government cannot enshrine in law how journal articles or accepted manuscripts are disseminated without involving publishers. We oppose in principle the notion that governments should be able to dictate the terms by which products of private sector investments are distributed, especially if they are to be distributed for free."

The boycott, Clark added, largely boils down to academic authors failing to understand how the business side of Elsevier works. "I think people are misunderstanding, but I think part of the fault in that is ours," he said. "I look at the current situation, and we just need to do a better job of communicating about who we are, what we want to achieve, and how we value access and dissemination."

But academics who've signed on to the boycott are thinking about their futures in a future without Elsevier journals. "It's really frustrating because it's so much extra work now to figure out alternatively where to submit my papers," Abrahams said. The Albert Einstein College of Medicine geneticist noted that he'd have to balance his own stance on Elsevier with the good of his students and collaborators. He admitted that if he's in a collaborative situation in which the decision of where to publish findings is not his to make, he'll likely voice his opinion but ultimately yield to the consensus, even if that means publishing in an Elsevier title. "At that point, that's going to be a very hard decision for me," Abrahams said. "Then, I don't think it's in my students, or my institution's interest to walk away."

Correction (Feb 13, 2012): The original version of this article incorrectly identified Tyler Neylon as a grad student at NYU. In truth, Neylon secured his PhD and has moved on to bigger and better things. The mistake has been fixed, and The Scientist regrets the error.

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Avatar of: Alicia Wise

Alicia Wise

Posts: 1457

February 7, 2012

Thanks for the balanced article.  To build on the comments made by my colleague, David, here at Elsevier we agree the public should have access to the output of publicly funded research. We are committed to the broadest possible dissemination of published research as well.   We’re already doing quite a lot of open access publishing, but I’m not sure how well known this is.  More info is available here: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/fi...
Perhaps it would also be helpful to clarify that the costs of publishing services are in addition to the costs of doing the research. Publishers invest heavily to add value to research reports and draft manuscripts through the publishing process. Academics do too through the peer review process, but without publishers and peer reviewers the 3 million manuscripts submitted each year would not be transformed into the 1.5 million articles published each year.
 With kind wishes,
Alicia

Avatar of: roshan

roshan

Posts: 1457

February 7, 2012

Such incidents might only trigger the start-ups of smaller publishing groups with pay-to-view/access or open access journals. Good and bad in its own ways: but eventually might dilute the impact of publishing in big-name journals. Its only sensible to control the pricing and make journals affordable and make the knowledge enjoyable and sharable!

Avatar of: irideaboard

irideaboard

Posts: 1

February 7, 2012

There are many non-profit scholarly societies that provide the value added service that involve logistics and secretarial services for peer review, copy editing, and document translation conversion for on-line posting of academic articles.  many of those non-profit societies use revenues generated from the subscriptions to support awards for scientists and students and to support conferences and educational outreach.  Elsevier and many other commercial publishers who profit from the authoring, peer-review, editing, and purchase (through library subscriptions) of the same content are in it for shareholders.  The system is inane. 

Avatar of: Christopher Lee

Christopher Lee

Posts: 1457

February 7, 2012

It's been said before & I'll say it again: a most unfortunate side-effect of the current system is that if you don't have a job in a big rich institution you don't have access to the literature. Not even to articles published a century ago.

Avatar of: Belinda Lawrence

Belinda Lawrence

Posts: 1457

February 7, 2012

"Elsevier’s support of the Research
Works Act, a bill making its way through the US House of
Representatives that seeks to limit open access policies at federal
agencies like the National Institutes of Health.."  Um, the American people helped pay for that research and should be able to access it without having to pay for it again. Sorry, Elsevier, no sympathy for your or any other "for profit" agency that publishes government funded research, and expects restrictions.

Avatar of: Thane Kerner

Thane Kerner

Posts: 1457

February 7, 2012

Silly, silly children, kicking and screaming and ignoring economics.

Avatar of: RJR8222

RJR8222

Posts: 4

February 7, 2012

Gratuitous condescending comments are not especially helpful here.

Besides, your comment is simply wrong. rather than being childlike, Gowers has paid attention to economics and is pointing out that the "you give it to me and I'll sell it back to you" business model of academic publishers is not very attractive from the customer's point of view.

Avatar of: Brett Abrahams

Brett Abrahams

Posts: 1457

February 7, 2012

Your background suggests you've spent some time thinking about these issues some... "Thane serves on the Executive Council of the Professional and Scholarly Publishers Division (PSP) of the Association of American Publishers... Prior to establishing Silverchair, he was publisher of Experimental Hematology, the official journal of the International Society for Experimental Hematology."  This said, I think that academic publishing can be done in a for profit venue for 30 cents on the dollar. And time will tell which of us is wrong.

Avatar of: BobHurst

BobHurst

Posts: 31

February 7, 2012

Elsevier comments: "We oppose in principle the notion that governments should be able to dictate the terms by which products of private sector investments are distributed, especially if they are to be distributed for free.â€쳌

Uh huh. Without the public sector expenditures to support the scientific work, there would be nothing for them to publish. Therefore their "private sector investments" rest entirely on the public purse. To say that the public sector, i.e. the government that supports the production of Elsevier's final product should not be able to control the dissemination of that product is ridiculous. It is like saying that Elsevier takes a product with no value and produces all the value of the final product.That they do create value and therefore should have a place at the table is inarguable, but that they should have the only place is absurd and simply another manifestation of corporate greed.

Avatar of: Susan Gurney

Susan Gurney

Posts: 1457

February 7, 2012

My heart is for this-----because Elsevier has played corporate politics of necessity and yet the problem is just this:
   
    In an era of 'free information' -  there are 2 issues:
 
   1. Some of it is true,  some of it is false, and much of it is incomplete.
  
   2.  What becomes the currency of exchange if the money is taken out of the system?                      

Avatar of: mesafint

mesafint

Posts: 1

February 7, 2012

 I understand what you are saying...However,your comment smells that of corporate!

Avatar of: jhnycmltly

jhnycmltly

Posts: 65

February 7, 2012

"Elsevier published 6 fake journals"

I am not sure one can trust anything Elsevier publishes.

Avatar of: tommm

tommm

Posts: 5

February 7, 2012

“…figures released by the largest publisher of scientific journals -- Amsterdam-based Elsevier -- help explain why many scientists and others are frustrated. Its 1,700 journals, which produce $1.6 billion in revenue, garner a remarkable 30 percent profit margin.
"I do realize that the 30 percent sticks out," Elsevier Vice
President Pieter Bolman said. "But what we still do feel -- and this is, I think, where the real measure is -- we're still very much in the top of author satisfaction and reader satisfaction.â€쳌
Rick Weiss, “A Fight for Free Access To Medical Researchâ€쳌 The Washington Post (Section: Nation, A01 ) 08/05/2003

“…figures
released by the largest publisher of scientific journals -- Amsterdam-based
Elsevier -- help explain why many scientists and others are frustrated. Its
1,700 journals, which produce $1.6 billion in revenue, garner a remarkable 30
percent profit margin.
"I do realize that the 30 percent sticks out," Elsevier Vice
President Pieter Bolman said. "But what we still do feel -- and this is, I
think, where the real measure is -- we're still very much in the top of author
satisfaction and reader satisfaction.â€쳌

 Rick
Weiss, “A Fight for Free Access To Medical Researchâ€쳌 The Washington Post
(Section: Nation, A01 ) 08/05/2003

Avatar of: Chris Porter MD

Chris Porter MD

Posts: 1

February 7, 2012

Interesting! Just recently I posted a blog from the consumer's point of view - paying $35 ransom for a single article, as if our peers are being held captive. 

http://onsurg.com/voice/onsurg...

Chris Porter MD - founder of OnSurg.com

February 7, 2012

Pay-per-view
for science. 

Aníbal J. Morillo, MD

(Comments on the News & Opinion Occupy
Elsevier? by Bob Grant)

 

 

I read with
interest your news on the boycott to Elsevier by members of the academic
community. Those news inspired me to recall previous personal thoughts and
reflections on the availability of information that can be retrieved from the
web, and how sometimes it seems unable to satisfy our craving for knowledge.

As an academic
radiologist, I am frequently consulted by my colleagues and residents about
many different themes. Most of my workload is dedicated to interventional
radiology, but I also spend a significant amout of my time interpreting
musculoskeletal MR and neuroimaging studies. Some of my other "specialty"
interests include MR physics, radiation protection, CT and plain films.

I am also
interested in the history of medicine and in the history of radiology and
diagnostic imaging. I also crave for literature on the philosopy of science. My
personal document management software

(Papers, http://www.mekentosj.com/paper... is also packed with downloads from the literature
on education, medical journalism, and authorship, to mention a few of the
"libraries" that make up my personal collection of more than 3,000
entries that I carry along on my laptop, not to mention the other stuff that I
sometimes read, study, or research about, like music, art, linguistics,
photography, astronomy...

Back in the days
of the photocopies, I enjoyed my trips to the libraries I've been fortunate
enough to have visited. I spent a good amount of time gathering papers of the
most diverse topics and copying them for my own towering stack of
photoelectrically printed knowledge. I still have many of those articles I
reaped without any particular system to select them, almost convinced that I
had somehow acquired an enlightening possesion.

Titles that
sounded interesting, topics that I happened to be studying, papers authored by
some of the well-known "stars" that anyone could recognize in any
field, cool stuff or weird articles were some of the examples of what I wanted
to embrace.

It soon became
clear to me that I wouldn't have enough time to read all those papers; it
didn't seem to matter. I cannot find the words to fully describe the sensation
of sheer joy that I feel when one of my residents or colleagues comes up with a
consult about a rare disease, and is subsequently suprised when I quickly
retrieve a copy of a relevant paper on the subject
that has been just brought up, even if it arises from a collection that is now
over 20 years old.

The web has been
of great use for the compulsive .pdf downloader I have now turned into. If
flashing a xerox copy of a paper is still enjoyable, sending emails to all the
assistants of a case conference with an attached seminal article about the case
that is being presented really does the job. The subject of those e-mails
always begins with something like "Instant Bibliography Service".
Some of my residents know there is usually a surprise within such messages.

But web searches
can be frustrating too, especially if the queries are needed to solve the case
you are reviewing on the spot. Pay-per-view science
is usually the rule, not the exception. Although I understand that it costs to
publish a paper, the great idea of Open Access is increasingly becoming the
exception to the rule. The larger publishers seem to have found a business
niche in the publication of science. Even if some of those publishers have
questionable associations, such as the well-known case of the Elsevier  Group and its sponsorship of exhibits
for the weapons industry (1), most journals limit access to current articles to
their subscribers. It is no surprise that money opens access. It follows the same
cryptic physical principle that explains how an airline can accomodate almost
any size of overweight luggage if you happen to pay
a fee.

I do have payed
subcriptions to the journals of my specialty, usually included with my
membership or agreements between the radiological associations I belong to,
such as the RSNA, ASSR, ISMRM, ESR, SIDI and CIRSE.  A few years ago,
Colombia, the country in which I live and practice, had a sponsored status
access to the BMJ, of which I enjoyed reading news and
other interesting education and general articles. Somehow, my country lost its
third-world status in this area, which means I now need to pay-per-view for
any of its articles. I simply stopped reading those articles that did not
affect my practice directly, even if they were interesting enough from a
philosophical or educational standpoint. The Scientist Magazine is a good
example of a free access to a wealth of knowledge and resources related to pure
science. 
One does not need to be in a remote rural area to experience the feeling
of isolation given by a limited access -or a slow connection. When there are
flaws in our wireless connection at the hospital, I feel I travel back to the
times when quill pens and ink bottles were the cutting edge technology in
communications. I get a similar sensation of alienation whenever I am
interested in a specific entity that might have a relevant reference in
journals from specialties different from the one I chose as a modus vivendi,
e.g. orthopedics, surgery, ophtalmology, pediatrics, neurosurgery, vascular
surgery, or oncology, to mention just a few examples of a typical day in a
general imaging practice. Of course, I can obtain access through university
affiliations to knowledge databases, but those services, as efficient as they
are, usually lose the immediacy of the instant bibliography service I crave
for.

In a perfect
world, pay-per-view for science shouldn't be the rule, but the exception.
Scientific knowledge should have to have a better way to be shared and used
than by means of a fee for every piece of information that could help others be
better o get better. As much as the web has become an indispensable tool for
educators and those they educate, the apparently infinite amount of information
that can be accessed can be overwhelming if not used judiciously. Scientists
have an important role in making it possible to put the interest of science
above the financial interests of those who publish scientific results.

 

1. Smith, R :
Reed- Elsevier's hypocrisy in selling arms and health. J R Soc Med 2007; 100:
114-116.

 

Conflict of
Interest: None declared

 

 

 

 

 

 

Avatar of: RJR8222

RJR8222

Posts: 4

February 7, 2012

How does it happen that Elsevier (and other for-profit scientific publishers) can produce such high profit margins (on the order of 30% or more), when the rest of the publishing industry is lucky to hit 15%? The answer is simple - they control both ends of the supply and demand curve. And, they don't have to pay for the supply part.

Historically, scientists have clamored to be published in prestige journals and they have never been paid for their writing. Instead, some journals even charge authors for their articles to be published. On top of that, for no payment at all (except the right to be published), academic publishers demand that authors hand over all copyright in the work to the publisher. Then, the publisher turns around and sells the published work back into the same academic community at exorbitant prices.

Elsevier's David Clark attempts to rebut the claim of price gouging by noting, “Our list prices, on a price per article basis, are absolutely on the industry average.â€쳌

Well, that may be, but what Clark leaves out is that the industry is dominated by just a handful of players (Elsevier, Springer, and Wiley account for 40% of all published articles) and they all have high prices. When Clark's claim is translated into the more accurate, "We're no worse than the average (and by the way, our prices and those of our colleagues SET the average)," it is less persuasive. Indeed, it becomes more smoke and mirrors than real argument.

Gowers' proposed boycott is a good start, but additional steps could be taken as well. Under the 1976 copyright act, the copyright in "works made for hire" - that is, works produced by an employee in the course of his or her duties - belongs to the employer, not the author. Traditionally, universities have not claimed work-made-for-hire rights and instead have allowed faculty to hold (and to be coerced into giving away) all copyright in their publications. If just a handful of major research universities were to start invoking the work-made-for-hire rule and insist that faculty only have the right to grant to publishers one-time, non-exclusive licenses to publish their works (while retaining all other rights to the the faculty member, to the university, and to the general scientific community) the monopoly held by the large academic publishers would be broken.

Einstein's Brett Abrahams notes that being published in a top journal is so important to an individual researcher (papers in truly top journals make careers) that he would be reluctant to impose a desire to boycott a prestige journal on colleagues or students. This is exactly the problem. The power that academic publishers have over individual scientists is very, very great - the power to make or break careers - and it is this power that has allowed them to demand full transfer of copyright from authors and then demand very high prices from academic libraries in return.

This power is so great that individuals have found it irresistible. It is only through communty actions (like Gowers' boycott) or institutional actions (like major research institutions deciding to invoke work-made-for-hire and so prevent publishers from demanding full transfer of copyright) that this power can be broken. But, as in many other situations, much of the power is actually illusory and exists only because the victims have acceded in producing their own weakness.

The business community has been aware for some time that academic publishers operate with a shamelessly self-serving business model. Perhaps now, especially in these times of tight research budgets, the research community can wake up and recognize that it has been complicit in its own exploitation and, following Gowers' example, begin to reclaim control of its own intellectual products.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 7, 2012

Thanks for the balanced article.  To build on the comments made by my colleague, David, here at Elsevier we agree the public should have access to the output of publicly funded research. We are committed to the broadest possible dissemination of published research as well.   We’re already doing quite a lot of open access publishing, but I’m not sure how well known this is.  More info is available here: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/fi...
Perhaps it would also be helpful to clarify that the costs of publishing services are in addition to the costs of doing the research. Publishers invest heavily to add value to research reports and draft manuscripts through the publishing process. Academics do too through the peer review process, but without publishers and peer reviewers the 3 million manuscripts submitted each year would not be transformed into the 1.5 million articles published each year.
 With kind wishes,
Alicia

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 7, 2012

Such incidents might only trigger the start-ups of smaller publishing groups with pay-to-view/access or open access journals. Good and bad in its own ways: but eventually might dilute the impact of publishing in big-name journals. Its only sensible to control the pricing and make journals affordable and make the knowledge enjoyable and sharable!

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 7, 2012

There are many non-profit scholarly societies that provide the value added service that involve logistics and secretarial services for peer review, copy editing, and document translation conversion for on-line posting of academic articles.  many of those non-profit societies use revenues generated from the subscriptions to support awards for scientists and students and to support conferences and educational outreach.  Elsevier and many other commercial publishers who profit from the authoring, peer-review, editing, and purchase (through library subscriptions) of the same content are in it for shareholders.  The system is inane. 

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 7, 2012

It's been said before & I'll say it again: a most unfortunate side-effect of the current system is that if you don't have a job in a big rich institution you don't have access to the literature. Not even to articles published a century ago.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 7, 2012

"Elsevier’s support of the Research
Works Act, a bill making its way through the US House of
Representatives that seeks to limit open access policies at federal
agencies like the National Institutes of Health.."  Um, the American people helped pay for that research and should be able to access it without having to pay for it again. Sorry, Elsevier, no sympathy for your or any other "for profit" agency that publishes government funded research, and expects restrictions.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 7, 2012

Silly, silly children, kicking and screaming and ignoring economics.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 7, 2012

Gratuitous condescending comments are not especially helpful here.

Besides, your comment is simply wrong. rather than being childlike, Gowers has paid attention to economics and is pointing out that the "you give it to me and I'll sell it back to you" business model of academic publishers is not very attractive from the customer's point of view.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 7, 2012

Your background suggests you've spent some time thinking about these issues some... "Thane serves on the Executive Council of the Professional and Scholarly Publishers Division (PSP) of the Association of American Publishers... Prior to establishing Silverchair, he was publisher of Experimental Hematology, the official journal of the International Society for Experimental Hematology."  This said, I think that academic publishing can be done in a for profit venue for 30 cents on the dollar. And time will tell which of us is wrong.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 7, 2012

Elsevier comments: "We oppose in principle the notion that governments should be able to dictate the terms by which products of private sector investments are distributed, especially if they are to be distributed for free.â€쳌

Uh huh. Without the public sector expenditures to support the scientific work, there would be nothing for them to publish. Therefore their "private sector investments" rest entirely on the public purse. To say that the public sector, i.e. the government that supports the production of Elsevier's final product should not be able to control the dissemination of that product is ridiculous. It is like saying that Elsevier takes a product with no value and produces all the value of the final product.That they do create value and therefore should have a place at the table is inarguable, but that they should have the only place is absurd and simply another manifestation of corporate greed.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 7, 2012

My heart is for this-----because Elsevier has played corporate politics of necessity and yet the problem is just this:
   
    In an era of 'free information' -  there are 2 issues:
 
   1. Some of it is true,  some of it is false, and much of it is incomplete.
  
   2.  What becomes the currency of exchange if the money is taken out of the system?                      

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 7, 2012

 I understand what you are saying...However,your comment smells that of corporate!

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 7, 2012

"Elsevier published 6 fake journals"

I am not sure one can trust anything Elsevier publishes.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 7, 2012

“…figures released by the largest publisher of scientific journals -- Amsterdam-based Elsevier -- help explain why many scientists and others are frustrated. Its 1,700 journals, which produce $1.6 billion in revenue, garner a remarkable 30 percent profit margin.
"I do realize that the 30 percent sticks out," Elsevier Vice
President Pieter Bolman said. "But what we still do feel -- and this is, I think, where the real measure is -- we're still very much in the top of author satisfaction and reader satisfaction.â€쳌
Rick Weiss, “A Fight for Free Access To Medical Researchâ€쳌 The Washington Post (Section: Nation, A01 ) 08/05/2003

“…figures
released by the largest publisher of scientific journals -- Amsterdam-based
Elsevier -- help explain why many scientists and others are frustrated. Its
1,700 journals, which produce $1.6 billion in revenue, garner a remarkable 30
percent profit margin.
"I do realize that the 30 percent sticks out," Elsevier Vice
President Pieter Bolman said. "But what we still do feel -- and this is, I
think, where the real measure is -- we're still very much in the top of author
satisfaction and reader satisfaction.â€쳌

 Rick
Weiss, “A Fight for Free Access To Medical Researchâ€쳌 The Washington Post
(Section: Nation, A01 ) 08/05/2003

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 7, 2012

Interesting! Just recently I posted a blog from the consumer's point of view - paying $35 ransom for a single article, as if our peers are being held captive. 

http://onsurg.com/voice/onsurg...

Chris Porter MD - founder of OnSurg.com

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 7, 2012

Pay-per-view
for science. 

Aníbal J. Morillo, MD

(Comments on the News & Opinion Occupy
Elsevier? by Bob Grant)

 

 

I read with
interest your news on the boycott to Elsevier by members of the academic
community. Those news inspired me to recall previous personal thoughts and
reflections on the availability of information that can be retrieved from the
web, and how sometimes it seems unable to satisfy our craving for knowledge.

As an academic
radiologist, I am frequently consulted by my colleagues and residents about
many different themes. Most of my workload is dedicated to interventional
radiology, but I also spend a significant amout of my time interpreting
musculoskeletal MR and neuroimaging studies. Some of my other "specialty"
interests include MR physics, radiation protection, CT and plain films.

I am also
interested in the history of medicine and in the history of radiology and
diagnostic imaging. I also crave for literature on the philosopy of science. My
personal document management software

(Papers, http://www.mekentosj.com/paper... is also packed with downloads from the literature
on education, medical journalism, and authorship, to mention a few of the
"libraries" that make up my personal collection of more than 3,000
entries that I carry along on my laptop, not to mention the other stuff that I
sometimes read, study, or research about, like music, art, linguistics,
photography, astronomy...

Back in the days
of the photocopies, I enjoyed my trips to the libraries I've been fortunate
enough to have visited. I spent a good amount of time gathering papers of the
most diverse topics and copying them for my own towering stack of
photoelectrically printed knowledge. I still have many of those articles I
reaped without any particular system to select them, almost convinced that I
had somehow acquired an enlightening possesion.

Titles that
sounded interesting, topics that I happened to be studying, papers authored by
some of the well-known "stars" that anyone could recognize in any
field, cool stuff or weird articles were some of the examples of what I wanted
to embrace.

It soon became
clear to me that I wouldn't have enough time to read all those papers; it
didn't seem to matter. I cannot find the words to fully describe the sensation
of sheer joy that I feel when one of my residents or colleagues comes up with a
consult about a rare disease, and is subsequently suprised when I quickly
retrieve a copy of a relevant paper on the subject
that has been just brought up, even if it arises from a collection that is now
over 20 years old.

The web has been
of great use for the compulsive .pdf downloader I have now turned into. If
flashing a xerox copy of a paper is still enjoyable, sending emails to all the
assistants of a case conference with an attached seminal article about the case
that is being presented really does the job. The subject of those e-mails
always begins with something like "Instant Bibliography Service".
Some of my residents know there is usually a surprise within such messages.

But web searches
can be frustrating too, especially if the queries are needed to solve the case
you are reviewing on the spot. Pay-per-view science
is usually the rule, not the exception. Although I understand that it costs to
publish a paper, the great idea of Open Access is increasingly becoming the
exception to the rule. The larger publishers seem to have found a business
niche in the publication of science. Even if some of those publishers have
questionable associations, such as the well-known case of the Elsevier  Group and its sponsorship of exhibits
for the weapons industry (1), most journals limit access to current articles to
their subscribers. It is no surprise that money opens access. It follows the same
cryptic physical principle that explains how an airline can accomodate almost
any size of overweight luggage if you happen to pay
a fee.

I do have payed
subcriptions to the journals of my specialty, usually included with my
membership or agreements between the radiological associations I belong to,
such as the RSNA, ASSR, ISMRM, ESR, SIDI and CIRSE.  A few years ago,
Colombia, the country in which I live and practice, had a sponsored status
access to the BMJ, of which I enjoyed reading news and
other interesting education and general articles. Somehow, my country lost its
third-world status in this area, which means I now need to pay-per-view for
any of its articles. I simply stopped reading those articles that did not
affect my practice directly, even if they were interesting enough from a
philosophical or educational standpoint. The Scientist Magazine is a good
example of a free access to a wealth of knowledge and resources related to pure
science. 
One does not need to be in a remote rural area to experience the feeling
of isolation given by a limited access -or a slow connection. When there are
flaws in our wireless connection at the hospital, I feel I travel back to the
times when quill pens and ink bottles were the cutting edge technology in
communications. I get a similar sensation of alienation whenever I am
interested in a specific entity that might have a relevant reference in
journals from specialties different from the one I chose as a modus vivendi,
e.g. orthopedics, surgery, ophtalmology, pediatrics, neurosurgery, vascular
surgery, or oncology, to mention just a few examples of a typical day in a
general imaging practice. Of course, I can obtain access through university
affiliations to knowledge databases, but those services, as efficient as they
are, usually lose the immediacy of the instant bibliography service I crave
for.

In a perfect
world, pay-per-view for science shouldn't be the rule, but the exception.
Scientific knowledge should have to have a better way to be shared and used
than by means of a fee for every piece of information that could help others be
better o get better. As much as the web has become an indispensable tool for
educators and those they educate, the apparently infinite amount of information
that can be accessed can be overwhelming if not used judiciously. Scientists
have an important role in making it possible to put the interest of science
above the financial interests of those who publish scientific results.

 

1. Smith, R :
Reed- Elsevier's hypocrisy in selling arms and health. J R Soc Med 2007; 100:
114-116.

 

Conflict of
Interest: None declared

 

 

 

 

 

 

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February 7, 2012

How does it happen that Elsevier (and other for-profit scientific publishers) can produce such high profit margins (on the order of 30% or more), when the rest of the publishing industry is lucky to hit 15%? The answer is simple - they control both ends of the supply and demand curve. And, they don't have to pay for the supply part.

Historically, scientists have clamored to be published in prestige journals and they have never been paid for their writing. Instead, some journals even charge authors for their articles to be published. On top of that, for no payment at all (except the right to be published), academic publishers demand that authors hand over all copyright in the work to the publisher. Then, the publisher turns around and sells the published work back into the same academic community at exorbitant prices.

Elsevier's David Clark attempts to rebut the claim of price gouging by noting, “Our list prices, on a price per article basis, are absolutely on the industry average.â€쳌

Well, that may be, but what Clark leaves out is that the industry is dominated by just a handful of players (Elsevier, Springer, and Wiley account for 40% of all published articles) and they all have high prices. When Clark's claim is translated into the more accurate, "We're no worse than the average (and by the way, our prices and those of our colleagues SET the average)," it is less persuasive. Indeed, it becomes more smoke and mirrors than real argument.

Gowers' proposed boycott is a good start, but additional steps could be taken as well. Under the 1976 copyright act, the copyright in "works made for hire" - that is, works produced by an employee in the course of his or her duties - belongs to the employer, not the author. Traditionally, universities have not claimed work-made-for-hire rights and instead have allowed faculty to hold (and to be coerced into giving away) all copyright in their publications. If just a handful of major research universities were to start invoking the work-made-for-hire rule and insist that faculty only have the right to grant to publishers one-time, non-exclusive licenses to publish their works (while retaining all other rights to the the faculty member, to the university, and to the general scientific community) the monopoly held by the large academic publishers would be broken.

Einstein's Brett Abrahams notes that being published in a top journal is so important to an individual researcher (papers in truly top journals make careers) that he would be reluctant to impose a desire to boycott a prestige journal on colleagues or students. This is exactly the problem. The power that academic publishers have over individual scientists is very, very great - the power to make or break careers - and it is this power that has allowed them to demand full transfer of copyright from authors and then demand very high prices from academic libraries in return.

This power is so great that individuals have found it irresistible. It is only through communty actions (like Gowers' boycott) or institutional actions (like major research institutions deciding to invoke work-made-for-hire and so prevent publishers from demanding full transfer of copyright) that this power can be broken. But, as in many other situations, much of the power is actually illusory and exists only because the victims have acceded in producing their own weakness.

The business community has been aware for some time that academic publishers operate with a shamelessly self-serving business model. Perhaps now, especially in these times of tight research budgets, the research community can wake up and recognize that it has been complicit in its own exploitation and, following Gowers' example, begin to reclaim control of its own intellectual products.

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February 7, 2012

Thanks for the balanced article.  To build on the comments made by my colleague, David, here at Elsevier we agree the public should have access to the output of publicly funded research. We are committed to the broadest possible dissemination of published research as well.   We’re already doing quite a lot of open access publishing, but I’m not sure how well known this is.  More info is available here: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/fi...
Perhaps it would also be helpful to clarify that the costs of publishing services are in addition to the costs of doing the research. Publishers invest heavily to add value to research reports and draft manuscripts through the publishing process. Academics do too through the peer review process, but without publishers and peer reviewers the 3 million manuscripts submitted each year would not be transformed into the 1.5 million articles published each year.
 With kind wishes,
Alicia

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February 7, 2012

Such incidents might only trigger the start-ups of smaller publishing groups with pay-to-view/access or open access journals. Good and bad in its own ways: but eventually might dilute the impact of publishing in big-name journals. Its only sensible to control the pricing and make journals affordable and make the knowledge enjoyable and sharable!

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February 7, 2012

There are many non-profit scholarly societies that provide the value added service that involve logistics and secretarial services for peer review, copy editing, and document translation conversion for on-line posting of academic articles.  many of those non-profit societies use revenues generated from the subscriptions to support awards for scientists and students and to support conferences and educational outreach.  Elsevier and many other commercial publishers who profit from the authoring, peer-review, editing, and purchase (through library subscriptions) of the same content are in it for shareholders.  The system is inane. 

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February 7, 2012

It's been said before & I'll say it again: a most unfortunate side-effect of the current system is that if you don't have a job in a big rich institution you don't have access to the literature. Not even to articles published a century ago.

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February 7, 2012

"Elsevier’s support of the Research
Works Act, a bill making its way through the US House of
Representatives that seeks to limit open access policies at federal
agencies like the National Institutes of Health.."  Um, the American people helped pay for that research and should be able to access it without having to pay for it again. Sorry, Elsevier, no sympathy for your or any other "for profit" agency that publishes government funded research, and expects restrictions.

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February 7, 2012

Silly, silly children, kicking and screaming and ignoring economics.

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February 7, 2012

Gratuitous condescending comments are not especially helpful here.

Besides, your comment is simply wrong. rather than being childlike, Gowers has paid attention to economics and is pointing out that the "you give it to me and I'll sell it back to you" business model of academic publishers is not very attractive from the customer's point of view.

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February 7, 2012

Your background suggests you've spent some time thinking about these issues some... "Thane serves on the Executive Council of the Professional and Scholarly Publishers Division (PSP) of the Association of American Publishers... Prior to establishing Silverchair, he was publisher of Experimental Hematology, the official journal of the International Society for Experimental Hematology."  This said, I think that academic publishing can be done in a for profit venue for 30 cents on the dollar. And time will tell which of us is wrong.

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February 7, 2012

Elsevier comments: "We oppose in principle the notion that governments should be able to dictate the terms by which products of private sector investments are distributed, especially if they are to be distributed for free.â€쳌

Uh huh. Without the public sector expenditures to support the scientific work, there would be nothing for them to publish. Therefore their "private sector investments" rest entirely on the public purse. To say that the public sector, i.e. the government that supports the production of Elsevier's final product should not be able to control the dissemination of that product is ridiculous. It is like saying that Elsevier takes a product with no value and produces all the value of the final product.That they do create value and therefore should have a place at the table is inarguable, but that they should have the only place is absurd and simply another manifestation of corporate greed.

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February 7, 2012

My heart is for this-----because Elsevier has played corporate politics of necessity and yet the problem is just this:
   
    In an era of 'free information' -  there are 2 issues:
 
   1. Some of it is true,  some of it is false, and much of it is incomplete.
  
   2.  What becomes the currency of exchange if the money is taken out of the system?                      

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February 7, 2012

 I understand what you are saying...However,your comment smells that of corporate!

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February 7, 2012

"Elsevier published 6 fake journals"

I am not sure one can trust anything Elsevier publishes.

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February 7, 2012

“…figures released by the largest publisher of scientific journals -- Amsterdam-based Elsevier -- help explain why many scientists and others are frustrated. Its 1,700 journals, which produce $1.6 billion in revenue, garner a remarkable 30 percent profit margin.
"I do realize that the 30 percent sticks out," Elsevier Vice
President Pieter Bolman said. "But what we still do feel -- and this is, I think, where the real measure is -- we're still very much in the top of author satisfaction and reader satisfaction.â€쳌
Rick Weiss, “A Fight for Free Access To Medical Researchâ€쳌 The Washington Post (Section: Nation, A01 ) 08/05/2003

“…figures
released by the largest publisher of scientific journals -- Amsterdam-based
Elsevier -- help explain why many scientists and others are frustrated. Its
1,700 journals, which produce $1.6 billion in revenue, garner a remarkable 30
percent profit margin.
"I do realize that the 30 percent sticks out," Elsevier Vice
President Pieter Bolman said. "But what we still do feel -- and this is, I
think, where the real measure is -- we're still very much in the top of author
satisfaction and reader satisfaction.â€쳌

 Rick
Weiss, “A Fight for Free Access To Medical Researchâ€쳌 The Washington Post
(Section: Nation, A01 ) 08/05/2003

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February 7, 2012

Interesting! Just recently I posted a blog from the consumer's point of view - paying $35 ransom for a single article, as if our peers are being held captive. 

http://onsurg.com/voice/onsurg...

Chris Porter MD - founder of OnSurg.com

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February 7, 2012

Pay-per-view
for science. 

Aníbal J. Morillo, MD

(Comments on the News & Opinion Occupy
Elsevier? by Bob Grant)

 

 

I read with
interest your news on the boycott to Elsevier by members of the academic
community. Those news inspired me to recall previous personal thoughts and
reflections on the availability of information that can be retrieved from the
web, and how sometimes it seems unable to satisfy our craving for knowledge.

As an academic
radiologist, I am frequently consulted by my colleagues and residents about
many different themes. Most of my workload is dedicated to interventional
radiology, but I also spend a significant amout of my time interpreting
musculoskeletal MR and neuroimaging studies. Some of my other "specialty"
interests include MR physics, radiation protection, CT and plain films.

I am also
interested in the history of medicine and in the history of radiology and
diagnostic imaging. I also crave for literature on the philosopy of science. My
personal document management software

(Papers, http://www.mekentosj.com/paper... is also packed with downloads from the literature
on education, medical journalism, and authorship, to mention a few of the
"libraries" that make up my personal collection of more than 3,000
entries that I carry along on my laptop, not to mention the other stuff that I
sometimes read, study, or research about, like music, art, linguistics,
photography, astronomy...

Back in the days
of the photocopies, I enjoyed my trips to the libraries I've been fortunate
enough to have visited. I spent a good amount of time gathering papers of the
most diverse topics and copying them for my own towering stack of
photoelectrically printed knowledge. I still have many of those articles I
reaped without any particular system to select them, almost convinced that I
had somehow acquired an enlightening possesion.

Titles that
sounded interesting, topics that I happened to be studying, papers authored by
some of the well-known "stars" that anyone could recognize in any
field, cool stuff or weird articles were some of the examples of what I wanted
to embrace.

It soon became
clear to me that I wouldn't have enough time to read all those papers; it
didn't seem to matter. I cannot find the words to fully describe the sensation
of sheer joy that I feel when one of my residents or colleagues comes up with a
consult about a rare disease, and is subsequently suprised when I quickly
retrieve a copy of a relevant paper on the subject
that has been just brought up, even if it arises from a collection that is now
over 20 years old.

The web has been
of great use for the compulsive .pdf downloader I have now turned into. If
flashing a xerox copy of a paper is still enjoyable, sending emails to all the
assistants of a case conference with an attached seminal article about the case
that is being presented really does the job. The subject of those e-mails
always begins with something like "Instant Bibliography Service".
Some of my residents know there is usually a surprise within such messages.

But web searches
can be frustrating too, especially if the queries are needed to solve the case
you are reviewing on the spot. Pay-per-view science
is usually the rule, not the exception. Although I understand that it costs to
publish a paper, the great idea of Open Access is increasingly becoming the
exception to the rule. The larger publishers seem to have found a business
niche in the publication of science. Even if some of those publishers have
questionable associations, such as the well-known case of the Elsevier  Group and its sponsorship of exhibits
for the weapons industry (1), most journals limit access to current articles to
their subscribers. It is no surprise that money opens access. It follows the same
cryptic physical principle that explains how an airline can accomodate almost
any size of overweight luggage if you happen to pay
a fee.

I do have payed
subcriptions to the journals of my specialty, usually included with my
membership or agreements between the radiological associations I belong to,
such as the RSNA, ASSR, ISMRM, ESR, SIDI and CIRSE.  A few years ago,
Colombia, the country in which I live and practice, had a sponsored status
access to the BMJ, of which I enjoyed reading news and
other interesting education and general articles. Somehow, my country lost its
third-world status in this area, which means I now need to pay-per-view for
any of its articles. I simply stopped reading those articles that did not
affect my practice directly, even if they were interesting enough from a
philosophical or educational standpoint. The Scientist Magazine is a good
example of a free access to a wealth of knowledge and resources related to pure
science. 
One does not need to be in a remote rural area to experience the feeling
of isolation given by a limited access -or a slow connection. When there are
flaws in our wireless connection at the hospital, I feel I travel back to the
times when quill pens and ink bottles were the cutting edge technology in
communications. I get a similar sensation of alienation whenever I am
interested in a specific entity that might have a relevant reference in
journals from specialties different from the one I chose as a modus vivendi,
e.g. orthopedics, surgery, ophtalmology, pediatrics, neurosurgery, vascular
surgery, or oncology, to mention just a few examples of a typical day in a
general imaging practice. Of course, I can obtain access through university
affiliations to knowledge databases, but those services, as efficient as they
are, usually lose the immediacy of the instant bibliography service I crave
for.

In a perfect
world, pay-per-view for science shouldn't be the rule, but the exception.
Scientific knowledge should have to have a better way to be shared and used
than by means of a fee for every piece of information that could help others be
better o get better. As much as the web has become an indispensable tool for
educators and those they educate, the apparently infinite amount of information
that can be accessed can be overwhelming if not used judiciously. Scientists
have an important role in making it possible to put the interest of science
above the financial interests of those who publish scientific results.

 

1. Smith, R :
Reed- Elsevier's hypocrisy in selling arms and health. J R Soc Med 2007; 100:
114-116.

 

Conflict of
Interest: None declared

 

 

 

 

 

 

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February 7, 2012

How does it happen that Elsevier (and other for-profit scientific publishers) can produce such high profit margins (on the order of 30% or more), when the rest of the publishing industry is lucky to hit 15%? The answer is simple - they control both ends of the supply and demand curve. And, they don't have to pay for the supply part.

Historically, scientists have clamored to be published in prestige journals and they have never been paid for their writing. Instead, some journals even charge authors for their articles to be published. On top of that, for no payment at all (except the right to be published), academic publishers demand that authors hand over all copyright in the work to the publisher. Then, the publisher turns around and sells the published work back into the same academic community at exorbitant prices.

Elsevier's David Clark attempts to rebut the claim of price gouging by noting, “Our list prices, on a price per article basis, are absolutely on the industry average.â€쳌

Well, that may be, but what Clark leaves out is that the industry is dominated by just a handful of players (Elsevier, Springer, and Wiley account for 40% of all published articles) and they all have high prices. When Clark's claim is translated into the more accurate, "We're no worse than the average (and by the way, our prices and those of our colleagues SET the average)," it is less persuasive. Indeed, it becomes more smoke and mirrors than real argument.

Gowers' proposed boycott is a good start, but additional steps could be taken as well. Under the 1976 copyright act, the copyright in "works made for hire" - that is, works produced by an employee in the course of his or her duties - belongs to the employer, not the author. Traditionally, universities have not claimed work-made-for-hire rights and instead have allowed faculty to hold (and to be coerced into giving away) all copyright in their publications. If just a handful of major research universities were to start invoking the work-made-for-hire rule and insist that faculty only have the right to grant to publishers one-time, non-exclusive licenses to publish their works (while retaining all other rights to the the faculty member, to the university, and to the general scientific community) the monopoly held by the large academic publishers would be broken.

Einstein's Brett Abrahams notes that being published in a top journal is so important to an individual researcher (papers in truly top journals make careers) that he would be reluctant to impose a desire to boycott a prestige journal on colleagues or students. This is exactly the problem. The power that academic publishers have over individual scientists is very, very great - the power to make or break careers - and it is this power that has allowed them to demand full transfer of copyright from authors and then demand very high prices from academic libraries in return.

This power is so great that individuals have found it irresistible. It is only through communty actions (like Gowers' boycott) or institutional actions (like major research institutions deciding to invoke work-made-for-hire and so prevent publishers from demanding full transfer of copyright) that this power can be broken. But, as in many other situations, much of the power is actually illusory and exists only because the victims have acceded in producing their own weakness.

The business community has been aware for some time that academic publishers operate with a shamelessly self-serving business model. Perhaps now, especially in these times of tight research budgets, the research community can wake up and recognize that it has been complicit in its own exploitation and, following Gowers' example, begin to reclaim control of its own intellectual products.

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February 8, 2012

The main question here is: “Should the public pay twice for accessing what is essentially PUBLIC information?â€쳌 

Technically, the authors of research funded by the tax payers can not assign all rights in the work to the journal, as these rights do NOT belong to the authors but to their institution and ultimately to the tax payers!

One day, when the Tax Payer wakes up, there will be massive class actions against such publishers.

See my post below “For Universal and Free Access to All Public Informationâ€쳌

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February 8, 2012

Susan,

You are missing important part of the picture.

For details, see my post above “For Universal and Free Access to All Public Informationâ€쳌 .

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February 8, 2012

Reviews by experts who share their names should help point out problems with papers and BETTER than the current system where only couple of reviewers must be satisfied.

With use of the internet, so long as the authors, editors and reviewers do their jobs free, as is currently the case, what else is money needed for?

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February 8, 2012

Good one, Timothy! IT’S TIME FOR A CHANGE! 

For Universal and Free Access to All Public Information
Opinion

I believe that everyone has experienced different levels of frustration when one is asked to pay USD 30.00 up to 60.00 (or even more) just to see an article (or even a letter to the editor) which, during the reading, the reader may realise is of little or even no use at all for him/her.

Some people may say that this is solely a problem of the reader as s/he has decided, after reading the Abstract, that the material would worth paying for it. Indeed, such practice is so wide-spread that it is considered to be the norm. 

However, apart from the ethical issues, there are legal problems related to this.

First, in many cases the reader has little or even no information in regard to what actually one is going to purchase. At best one can get only a vague idea from the Abstract, if such exists. Often a small Extract (the first 100 or so words) is offered, and there are numerous cases when there is nothing – neither abstract nor extract, so the reader should make decision based only on the title and authors’ names. This is like “buying a cat in a sackâ€쳌 – one never knows what s/he will get, and in many cases it is not even clear if the “thingâ€쳌 in the sack is a “catâ€쳌 or may be something else. In some civilized countries trade authorities would consider such practice as “misleading and deceptive conductâ€쳌, which incurs hefty fines.  

Second, in most cases the journal asks the authors to assign all rights in the work to the journal. However, in many cases the authors actually don’t have such right – to assign copyrights – since the copyrights do not belong to them. This is so, because in most cases the work (research, study, etc.) has been funded predominantly (or even entirely) with public money. In most jurisdictions around the world it is explicitly stated that all rights in such works belong not to the creator, but to the funding body, unless specified otherwise. By assigning copyrights of the work to the journal authors “assignâ€쳌 something which is not theirs, but in fact belongs to the public. Therefore, the validity of such assigning is highly questionable, if legal at all.

In conclusion, with the exception of the open access journals, current practice of paid access to articles de facto restricts the dissemination of public information, which per se is not in the public interest. Therefore, the access to any work funded entirely or even in part by the public, no matter in what form, should be universal and free of charge for personal use from the public. 

YouKnowBestOfAll that action is needed for a change which is long overdue!

Good one Timothy!

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February 8, 2012

Great- It's time that scientists and mathematicians rallied against the current practices of publishers.  For all of us who write to communicate with the public, this is a good thing.

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February 8, 2012

I am in favour of free publication of research work and free acess to it by all concerned in the interest of the science, not in the interest of business. Researchers have always been a deprived and short-changed group when compared to others. They devote most of their lives' precious time in labs, produce a world of knowledge literature, but get almost nothing in return (as their innate attitude is to sacrifice for science) when compared to other stakeholers of science as also other groups of social structutre.

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February 8, 2012

Why make access to important information very expensive and restricted? I thought I was the only one bothered about the excesses of Elsevier et al and could do nothing as a lonely voice in the wilderness but at last people are beginning to speak up and act. May God bless the initiators of this movement and may Elsevier amend her ways and reconsider her stand by changing for the better.

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February 8, 2012

How is Elsevier different than any other scholarly publisher? Why are they singled out and not Springer, Taylor and Francis, Wolters-Kluwer? Is it because of their size only? If its a moral case, why focus on one company? Then what, focus on another?

Do academics know how and where the company earns its margins? These companies have a lot of  product lines. How do you know where they make their margins? Its not a true monopoly at all. There are plenty of competing journals for scientists.

Finally, what about those of use whose salaries and research are not paid by the government? Does every scholar work under the same labor model? I don't have research grants, and I don't want to pay an Open Access journal running on some lab's PC $1000 from my non-grant funds to publish.

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February 8, 2012

Much as I wish to avoid a Marxist rant (or anything that might be predismissed because it sounds vaguely like one), the fact remains that research and, for that matter, the entire academic project from undergraduate teaching to Nobel Prize winning scientific breakthroughs are increasingly controlled by large private-sector corporations, either directly through their "in-house" research and development, in public-private partnerships, in contract work with universities and individual grants recipients or in the overall influence that they have over government policy in research, education and copyright law.

In the process, education (both research and teaching) has become commodified. Scientific work (to say nothing of work in the social sciences and humanities) is quantified and subjected to desperate attempts to define and measure "accountability." Individuals and institutions are punished or rewarded (i.e., funded)according to the degree to which they submit to the practical and ideological dictates of the authorities. Critical thinking about the broader social and philosophical implications of deferring to the domination of what Eisenhower famously called "the military-industrial complex" is conveniently parked outside the laboratory or the classroom door.

Moreover, the nature of the "complex" is poorly understood. When he left office with his warning a half-century ago, the outgoing president had originally intended to speak of the "military-industrial-congressional complex," but his Republican friends dissuaded him lest the voters become a trifle antsy and take it out on them in the next election. The fact is that he didn't go half far enough. At the very least, he ought to have addressed the "military-industrial-congressional-financial-ideological complex" including the mass media and official eduation.

The overarching power structure not only determines the basic production and distribution of goods and services, but it also exercises substantial control over what we think and what we say. Worrying about who will publish our next paper or where we will have access to new information if the for-profit knowledge industry is wasted if hegemonic control is already exercised by governmental and corporate leaders with little or no interest in science or any other sort of knowledge, but only in how to produce docile and conformist graduates, some of whom may devote their working lives to generating intellectual results in the financial interest of massive corporate entities and few in the interest of the common weal.

I understand that there "science for science's sake" is as utopian and the M-G-M lion's roar of "ars gratia artis," but surely we might contemplate, in this era of "late capitalism," a strategy more ennobling than a pre-emptive cringe.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 8, 2012

The main question here is: “Should the public pay twice for accessing what is essentially PUBLIC information?â€쳌 

Technically, the authors of research funded by the tax payers can not assign all rights in the work to the journal, as these rights do NOT belong to the authors but to their institution and ultimately to the tax payers!

One day, when the Tax Payer wakes up, there will be massive class actions against such publishers.

See my post below “For Universal and Free Access to All Public Informationâ€쳌

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 8, 2012

Susan,

You are missing important part of the picture.

For details, see my post above “For Universal and Free Access to All Public Informationâ€쳌 .

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 8, 2012

Reviews by experts who share their names should help point out problems with papers and BETTER than the current system where only couple of reviewers must be satisfied.

With use of the internet, so long as the authors, editors and reviewers do their jobs free, as is currently the case, what else is money needed for?

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 8, 2012

Good one, Timothy! IT’S TIME FOR A CHANGE! 

For Universal and Free Access to All Public Information
Opinion

I believe that everyone has experienced different levels of frustration when one is asked to pay USD 30.00 up to 60.00 (or even more) just to see an article (or even a letter to the editor) which, during the reading, the reader may realise is of little or even no use at all for him/her.

Some people may say that this is solely a problem of the reader as s/he has decided, after reading the Abstract, that the material would worth paying for it. Indeed, such practice is so wide-spread that it is considered to be the norm. 

However, apart from the ethical issues, there are legal problems related to this.

First, in many cases the reader has little or even no information in regard to what actually one is going to purchase. At best one can get only a vague idea from the Abstract, if such exists. Often a small Extract (the first 100 or so words) is offered, and there are numerous cases when there is nothing – neither abstract nor extract, so the reader should make decision based only on the title and authors’ names. This is like “buying a cat in a sackâ€쳌 – one never knows what s/he will get, and in many cases it is not even clear if the “thingâ€쳌 in the sack is a “catâ€쳌 or may be something else. In some civilized countries trade authorities would consider such practice as “misleading and deceptive conductâ€쳌, which incurs hefty fines.  

Second, in most cases the journal asks the authors to assign all rights in the work to the journal. However, in many cases the authors actually don’t have such right – to assign copyrights – since the copyrights do not belong to them. This is so, because in most cases the work (research, study, etc.) has been funded predominantly (or even entirely) with public money. In most jurisdictions around the world it is explicitly stated that all rights in such works belong not to the creator, but to the funding body, unless specified otherwise. By assigning copyrights of the work to the journal authors “assignâ€쳌 something which is not theirs, but in fact belongs to the public. Therefore, the validity of such assigning is highly questionable, if legal at all.

In conclusion, with the exception of the open access journals, current practice of paid access to articles de facto restricts the dissemination of public information, which per se is not in the public interest. Therefore, the access to any work funded entirely or even in part by the public, no matter in what form, should be universal and free of charge for personal use from the public. 

YouKnowBestOfAll that action is needed for a change which is long overdue!

Good one Timothy!

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 8, 2012

Great- It's time that scientists and mathematicians rallied against the current practices of publishers.  For all of us who write to communicate with the public, this is a good thing.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 8, 2012

I am in favour of free publication of research work and free acess to it by all concerned in the interest of the science, not in the interest of business. Researchers have always been a deprived and short-changed group when compared to others. They devote most of their lives' precious time in labs, produce a world of knowledge literature, but get almost nothing in return (as their innate attitude is to sacrifice for science) when compared to other stakeholers of science as also other groups of social structutre.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 8, 2012

Why make access to important information very expensive and restricted? I thought I was the only one bothered about the excesses of Elsevier et al and could do nothing as a lonely voice in the wilderness but at last people are beginning to speak up and act. May God bless the initiators of this movement and may Elsevier amend her ways and reconsider her stand by changing for the better.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 8, 2012

How is Elsevier different than any other scholarly publisher? Why are they singled out and not Springer, Taylor and Francis, Wolters-Kluwer? Is it because of their size only? If its a moral case, why focus on one company? Then what, focus on another?

Do academics know how and where the company earns its margins? These companies have a lot of  product lines. How do you know where they make their margins? Its not a true monopoly at all. There are plenty of competing journals for scientists.

Finally, what about those of use whose salaries and research are not paid by the government? Does every scholar work under the same labor model? I don't have research grants, and I don't want to pay an Open Access journal running on some lab's PC $1000 from my non-grant funds to publish.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 8, 2012

Much as I wish to avoid a Marxist rant (or anything that might be predismissed because it sounds vaguely like one), the fact remains that research and, for that matter, the entire academic project from undergraduate teaching to Nobel Prize winning scientific breakthroughs are increasingly controlled by large private-sector corporations, either directly through their "in-house" research and development, in public-private partnerships, in contract work with universities and individual grants recipients or in the overall influence that they have over government policy in research, education and copyright law.

In the process, education (both research and teaching) has become commodified. Scientific work (to say nothing of work in the social sciences and humanities) is quantified and subjected to desperate attempts to define and measure "accountability." Individuals and institutions are punished or rewarded (i.e., funded)according to the degree to which they submit to the practical and ideological dictates of the authorities. Critical thinking about the broader social and philosophical implications of deferring to the domination of what Eisenhower famously called "the military-industrial complex" is conveniently parked outside the laboratory or the classroom door.

Moreover, the nature of the "complex" is poorly understood. When he left office with his warning a half-century ago, the outgoing president had originally intended to speak of the "military-industrial-congressional complex," but his Republican friends dissuaded him lest the voters become a trifle antsy and take it out on them in the next election. The fact is that he didn't go half far enough. At the very least, he ought to have addressed the "military-industrial-congressional-financial-ideological complex" including the mass media and official eduation.

The overarching power structure not only determines the basic production and distribution of goods and services, but it also exercises substantial control over what we think and what we say. Worrying about who will publish our next paper or where we will have access to new information if the for-profit knowledge industry is wasted if hegemonic control is already exercised by governmental and corporate leaders with little or no interest in science or any other sort of knowledge, but only in how to produce docile and conformist graduates, some of whom may devote their working lives to generating intellectual results in the financial interest of massive corporate entities and few in the interest of the common weal.

I understand that there "science for science's sake" is as utopian and the M-G-M lion's roar of "ars gratia artis," but surely we might contemplate, in this era of "late capitalism," a strategy more ennobling than a pre-emptive cringe.

Avatar of: YouKnowBestOfAll

YouKnowBestOfAll

Posts: 16

February 8, 2012

The main question here is: “Should the public pay twice for accessing what is essentially PUBLIC information?â€쳌 

Technically, the authors of research funded by the tax payers can not assign all rights in the work to the journal, as these rights do NOT belong to the authors but to their institution and ultimately to the tax payers!

One day, when the Tax Payer wakes up, there will be massive class actions against such publishers.

See my post below “For Universal and Free Access to All Public Informationâ€쳌

Avatar of: YouKnowBestOfAll

YouKnowBestOfAll

Posts: 16

February 8, 2012

Susan,

You are missing important part of the picture.

For details, see my post above “For Universal and Free Access to All Public Informationâ€쳌 .

Avatar of: david.harrison

david.harrison

Posts: 28

February 8, 2012

Reviews by experts who share their names should help point out problems with papers and BETTER than the current system where only couple of reviewers must be satisfied.

With use of the internet, so long as the authors, editors and reviewers do their jobs free, as is currently the case, what else is money needed for?

Avatar of: YouKnowBestOfAll

YouKnowBestOfAll

Posts: 16

February 8, 2012

Good one, Timothy! IT’S TIME FOR A CHANGE! 

For Universal and Free Access to All Public Information
Opinion

I believe that everyone has experienced different levels of frustration when one is asked to pay USD 30.00 up to 60.00 (or even more) just to see an article (or even a letter to the editor) which, during the reading, the reader may realise is of little or even no use at all for him/her.

Some people may say that this is solely a problem of the reader as s/he has decided, after reading the Abstract, that the material would worth paying for it. Indeed, such practice is so wide-spread that it is considered to be the norm. 

However, apart from the ethical issues, there are legal problems related to this.

First, in many cases the reader has little or even no information in regard to what actually one is going to purchase. At best one can get only a vague idea from the Abstract, if such exists. Often a small Extract (the first 100 or so words) is offered, and there are numerous cases when there is nothing – neither abstract nor extract, so the reader should make decision based only on the title and authors’ names. This is like “buying a cat in a sackâ€쳌 – one never knows what s/he will get, and in many cases it is not even clear if the “thingâ€쳌 in the sack is a “catâ€쳌 or may be something else. In some civilized countries trade authorities would consider such practice as “misleading and deceptive conductâ€쳌, which incurs hefty fines.  

Second, in most cases the journal asks the authors to assign all rights in the work to the journal. However, in many cases the authors actually don’t have such right – to assign copyrights – since the copyrights do not belong to them. This is so, because in most cases the work (research, study, etc.) has been funded predominantly (or even entirely) with public money. In most jurisdictions around the world it is explicitly stated that all rights in such works belong not to the creator, but to the funding body, unless specified otherwise. By assigning copyrights of the work to the journal authors “assignâ€쳌 something which is not theirs, but in fact belongs to the public. Therefore, the validity of such assigning is highly questionable, if legal at all.

In conclusion, with the exception of the open access journals, current practice of paid access to articles de facto restricts the dissemination of public information, which per se is not in the public interest. Therefore, the access to any work funded entirely or even in part by the public, no matter in what form, should be universal and free of charge for personal use from the public. 

YouKnowBestOfAll that action is needed for a change which is long overdue!

Good one Timothy!

Avatar of: David Hill

David Hill

Posts: 1457

February 8, 2012

Great- It's time that scientists and mathematicians rallied against the current practices of publishers.  For all of us who write to communicate with the public, this is a good thing.

Avatar of: rvspawaiya

rvspawaiya

Posts: 6

February 8, 2012

I am in favour of free publication of research work and free acess to it by all concerned in the interest of the science, not in the interest of business. Researchers have always been a deprived and short-changed group when compared to others. They devote most of their lives' precious time in labs, produce a world of knowledge literature, but get almost nothing in return (as their innate attitude is to sacrifice for science) when compared to other stakeholers of science as also other groups of social structutre.

Avatar of: Pwaveno Bamaiyi

Pwaveno Bamaiyi

Posts: 1

February 8, 2012

Why make access to important information very expensive and restricted? I thought I was the only one bothered about the excesses of Elsevier et al and could do nothing as a lonely voice in the wilderness but at last people are beginning to speak up and act. May God bless the initiators of this movement and may Elsevier amend her ways and reconsider her stand by changing for the better.

Avatar of: globalagoras

globalagoras

Posts: 1

February 8, 2012

How is Elsevier different than any other scholarly publisher? Why are they singled out and not Springer, Taylor and Francis, Wolters-Kluwer? Is it because of their size only? If its a moral case, why focus on one company? Then what, focus on another?

Do academics know how and where the company earns its margins? These companies have a lot of  product lines. How do you know where they make their margins? Its not a true monopoly at all. There are plenty of competing journals for scientists.

Finally, what about those of use whose salaries and research are not paid by the government? Does every scholar work under the same labor model? I don't have research grants, and I don't want to pay an Open Access journal running on some lab's PC $1000 from my non-grant funds to publish.

Avatar of: howarddoughty

howarddoughty

Posts: 11

February 8, 2012

Much as I wish to avoid a Marxist rant (or anything that might be predismissed because it sounds vaguely like one), the fact remains that research and, for that matter, the entire academic project from undergraduate teaching to Nobel Prize winning scientific breakthroughs are increasingly controlled by large private-sector corporations, either directly through their "in-house" research and development, in public-private partnerships, in contract work with universities and individual grants recipients or in the overall influence that they have over government policy in research, education and copyright law.

In the process, education (both research and teaching) has become commodified. Scientific work (to say nothing of work in the social sciences and humanities) is quantified and subjected to desperate attempts to define and measure "accountability." Individuals and institutions are punished or rewarded (i.e., funded)according to the degree to which they submit to the practical and ideological dictates of the authorities. Critical thinking about the broader social and philosophical implications of deferring to the domination of what Eisenhower famously called "the military-industrial complex" is conveniently parked outside the laboratory or the classroom door.

Moreover, the nature of the "complex" is poorly understood. When he left office with his warning a half-century ago, the outgoing president had originally intended to speak of the "military-industrial-congressional complex," but his Republican friends dissuaded him lest the voters become a trifle antsy and take it out on them in the next election. The fact is that he didn't go half far enough. At the very least, he ought to have addressed the "military-industrial-congressional-financial-ideological complex" including the mass media and official eduation.

The overarching power structure not only determines the basic production and distribution of goods and services, but it also exercises substantial control over what we think and what we say. Worrying about who will publish our next paper or where we will have access to new information if the for-profit knowledge industry is wasted if hegemonic control is already exercised by governmental and corporate leaders with little or no interest in science or any other sort of knowledge, but only in how to produce docile and conformist graduates, some of whom may devote their working lives to generating intellectual results in the financial interest of massive corporate entities and few in the interest of the common weal.

I understand that there "science for science's sake" is as utopian and the M-G-M lion's roar of "ars gratia artis," but surely we might contemplate, in this era of "late capitalism," a strategy more ennobling than a pre-emptive cringe.

Avatar of: Ed Rybicki

Ed Rybicki

Posts: 82

February 9, 2012

You know, if I were faced with taking a principled stand, and paying an Open Access journal to publish my material rather than submitting to an Elsevier journal...I'd have to go with Elsevier.

Why? Because the kind of principled stand people in the USA and Europe can take, with their higher research grants, is not something we in the developing world can emulate, when publicatn costs could total a large proportion of any given grant.

And did you know that Elsevier gives SERIOUS discounts to developing countries? So that our libraries may in fact have a better bundle of journals than many developed natn institutions? Which means that it would be rather ill-advised of us to boycott them?

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 9, 2012

You know, if I were faced with taking a principled stand, and paying an Open Access journal to publish my material rather than submitting to an Elsevier journal...I'd have to go with Elsevier.

Why? Because the kind of principled stand people in the USA and Europe can take, with their higher research grants, is not something we in the developing world can emulate, when publicatn costs could total a large proportion of any given grant.

And did you know that Elsevier gives SERIOUS discounts to developing countries? So that our libraries may in fact have a better bundle of journals than many developed natn institutions? Which means that it would be rather ill-advised of us to boycott them?

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 9, 2012

You know, if I were faced with taking a principled stand, and paying an Open Access journal to publish my material rather than submitting to an Elsevier journal...I'd have to go with Elsevier.

Why? Because the kind of principled stand people in the USA and Europe can take, with their higher research grants, is not something we in the developing world can emulate, when publicatn costs could total a large proportion of any given grant.

And did you know that Elsevier gives SERIOUS discounts to developing countries? So that our libraries may in fact have a better bundle of journals than many developed natn institutions? Which means that it would be rather ill-advised of us to boycott them?

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 10, 2012

I agree with the Elsevier boycott, and I would like to see Nature and
all its baby journals subjected to the same. I do support the American
Chemical Society publishing because their prices and their bundling are
much more reasonable.

For-profit publishers are not the only ones reaping the benefit of publicly funded research. Instruments, chemicals, and supplies companies count on us getting grants and buying their products to do our research. The problem is the market is small, so the mark-up is large to exorbitant. Possible solutions are to share more equipment, to buy used whenever possible, and to use local instrument repair technicians to make this job sustainable.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 10, 2012

I agree with the Elsevier boycott, and I would like to see Nature and
all its baby journals subjected to the same. I do support the American
Chemical Society publishing because their prices and their bundling are
much more reasonable.

For-profit publishers are not the only ones reaping the benefit of publicly funded research. Instruments, chemicals, and supplies companies count on us getting grants and buying their products to do our research. The problem is the market is small, so the mark-up is large to exorbitant. Possible solutions are to share more equipment, to buy used whenever possible, and to use local instrument repair technicians to make this job sustainable.

Avatar of: fetz

fetz

Posts: 1

February 10, 2012

I agree with the Elsevier boycott, and I would like to see Nature and
all its baby journals subjected to the same. I do support the American
Chemical Society publishing because their prices and their bundling are
much more reasonable.

For-profit publishers are not the only ones reaping the benefit of publicly funded research. Instruments, chemicals, and supplies companies count on us getting grants and buying their products to do our research. The problem is the market is small, so the mark-up is large to exorbitant. Possible solutions are to share more equipment, to buy used whenever possible, and to use local instrument repair technicians to make this job sustainable.

Avatar of: Dr. GS Hurd

Dr. GS Hurd

Posts: 2

February 12, 2012

Elsevier takes publically supported research and locks it behind their pay-wall. They contribute nothing.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 12, 2012

Elsevier takes publically supported research and locks it behind their pay-wall. They contribute nothing.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 12, 2012

Elsevier takes publically supported research and locks it behind their pay-wall. They contribute nothing.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 14, 2012

What would really crush Elsevier would be refusing to cite their articles.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 14, 2012

What would really crush Elsevier would be refusing to cite their articles.

Avatar of: Dr. GS Hurd

Dr. GS Hurd

Posts: 2

February 14, 2012

What would really crush Elsevier would be refusing to cite their articles.

Avatar of: JBG2

JBG2

Posts: 14

February 22, 2012

Some things are being judiciously ignored by the correspondents.
Just a few of the electronic open access journals are of any value - most will take any junk sent to them, with minimum or no peer review - and guess what, they all have enormous page charges to the author - even though all they have is a server and a way to collect.  They potentially can make much more than Elsevier on investment.Elsevier and most commercial journals have no page charges, so they are ideal vehicles for scientists from developing countries with low budgets.  Still, if you are willing to pay these commercial journals, your article can be "open access".  The journals with highest page charges are those run by not-for-profit scientific societies. Thus you pay either way, to publish your paper or to read others'. One can always access articles listed in a databases by sending an email to the author and get a pdf.  

It is an unfair practice to boycott one commercial publisher, and not Wiley, Springer, Macmillan (Nature), the other majors.

Research is expensive, accessing others' research results, whether from a society journal or a commercial one costs, but not as much as doing research, and with emails to authors or visits to libraries, access to scientific publications costs even less.

No system is perfect - but most of the correspondents below seem to believe that there is a free lunch.

Avatar of: JBG2

JBG2

Posts: 14

February 22, 2012

Some things are being judiciously ignored by the
correspondents.

 

Just a few of the electronic open access journals
are of any value - most will take any junk sent to them, with minimum or no
peer review - and guess what, they all have enormous page charges to the author
- even though all they have is a server and a way to collect.  They
potentially can make much more than Elsevier on investment.

 

Elsevier and most commercial journals have no
page charges, so they are ideal vehicles for scientists from developing
countries with low budgets.  Still, if you are willing to pay these
commercial journals, your article can be "open access".  The
journals with highest page charges are those run by not-for-profit scientific
societies. Thus you pay either way, to publish your paper or to read
others'. 

 

One can always access articles listed in a
databases by sending an email to the author and get a pdf.  

 

It is an unfair practice to boycott one
commercial publisher, and not Wiley, Springer, Macmillan (Nature), the other
majors.

 

Research is expensive, accessing others' research
results, whether from a society journal or a commercial one costs, but not as
much as doing research, and with emails to authors or visits to libraries,
access to scientific publications costs even less.

 

No system is perfect - but most of the
correspondents below seem to believe that there is a free lunch.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 22, 2012

Some things are being judiciously ignored by the correspondents.
Just a few of the electronic open access journals are of any value - most will take any junk sent to them, with minimum or no peer review - and guess what, they all have enormous page charges to the author - even though all they have is a server and a way to collect.  They potentially can make much more than Elsevier on investment.Elsevier and most commercial journals have no page charges, so they are ideal vehicles for scientists from developing countries with low budgets.  Still, if you are willing to pay these commercial journals, your article can be "open access".  The journals with highest page charges are those run by not-for-profit scientific societies. Thus you pay either way, to publish your paper or to read others'. One can always access articles listed in a databases by sending an email to the author and get a pdf.  

It is an unfair practice to boycott one commercial publisher, and not Wiley, Springer, Macmillan (Nature), the other majors.

Research is expensive, accessing others' research results, whether from a society journal or a commercial one costs, but not as much as doing research, and with emails to authors or visits to libraries, access to scientific publications costs even less.

No system is perfect - but most of the correspondents below seem to believe that there is a free lunch.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 22, 2012

Some things are being judiciously ignored by the
correspondents.

 

Just a few of the electronic open access journals
are of any value - most will take any junk sent to them, with minimum or no
peer review - and guess what, they all have enormous page charges to the author
- even though all they have is a server and a way to collect.  They
potentially can make much more than Elsevier on investment.

 

Elsevier and most commercial journals have no
page charges, so they are ideal vehicles for scientists from developing
countries with low budgets.  Still, if you are willing to pay these
commercial journals, your article can be "open access".  The
journals with highest page charges are those run by not-for-profit scientific
societies. Thus you pay either way, to publish your paper or to read
others'. 

 

One can always access articles listed in a
databases by sending an email to the author and get a pdf.  

 

It is an unfair practice to boycott one
commercial publisher, and not Wiley, Springer, Macmillan (Nature), the other
majors.

 

Research is expensive, accessing others' research
results, whether from a society journal or a commercial one costs, but not as
much as doing research, and with emails to authors or visits to libraries,
access to scientific publications costs even less.

 

No system is perfect - but most of the
correspondents below seem to believe that there is a free lunch.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 22, 2012

Some things are being judiciously ignored by the correspondents.
Just a few of the electronic open access journals are of any value - most will take any junk sent to them, with minimum or no peer review - and guess what, they all have enormous page charges to the author - even though all they have is a server and a way to collect.  They potentially can make much more than Elsevier on investment.Elsevier and most commercial journals have no page charges, so they are ideal vehicles for scientists from developing countries with low budgets.  Still, if you are willing to pay these commercial journals, your article can be "open access".  The journals with highest page charges are those run by not-for-profit scientific societies. Thus you pay either way, to publish your paper or to read others'. One can always access articles listed in a databases by sending an email to the author and get a pdf.  

It is an unfair practice to boycott one commercial publisher, and not Wiley, Springer, Macmillan (Nature), the other majors.

Research is expensive, accessing others' research results, whether from a society journal or a commercial one costs, but not as much as doing research, and with emails to authors or visits to libraries, access to scientific publications costs even less.

No system is perfect - but most of the correspondents below seem to believe that there is a free lunch.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 22, 2012

Some things are being judiciously ignored by the
correspondents.

 

Just a few of the electronic open access journals
are of any value - most will take any junk sent to them, with minimum or no
peer review - and guess what, they all have enormous page charges to the author
- even though all they have is a server and a way to collect.  They
potentially can make much more than Elsevier on investment.

 

Elsevier and most commercial journals have no
page charges, so they are ideal vehicles for scientists from developing
countries with low budgets.  Still, if you are willing to pay these
commercial journals, your article can be "open access".  The
journals with highest page charges are those run by not-for-profit scientific
societies. Thus you pay either way, to publish your paper or to read
others'. 

 

One can always access articles listed in a
databases by sending an email to the author and get a pdf.  

 

It is an unfair practice to boycott one
commercial publisher, and not Wiley, Springer, Macmillan (Nature), the other
majors.

 

Research is expensive, accessing others' research
results, whether from a society journal or a commercial one costs, but not as
much as doing research, and with emails to authors or visits to libraries,
access to scientific publications costs even less.

 

No system is perfect - but most of the
correspondents below seem to believe that there is a free lunch.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 23, 2012

How much do we need a
publisher?

I think we (or more feasible our scientific institutes or societies) can issue
our own journals without cooperation with any publisher. Authors submit their
papers and pay for peer-reviewing, and the published papers are open-access for
all people. This is a more sustainable and efficient way to promote scientific
work.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 23, 2012

 I strongly support the public-spirited revolt by researchers
in their pledge to boycott the academic journal publisher
Elsevier. This aims to meaningfully register their protest of
long-exorbitant and profitably-priced access to Elsevier journals.

The price of advocacy for
unrestricted access to findings from publicly funded research could be
the prejudiced administrative handling and peer assessment of current
and future manuscripts submitted to Elsevier
journals by Cost of Knowledge signatories. In agreeing to not submit
to, and review or edit manuscripts from, Elsevier’s stable of
prestigious journals, conscientious objectors risk not gaining academic
promotion and peer recognition from a positive association
with high impact Elsevier journals.

The preferred target
destinations Cost of Knowledge signatories are to divert their work
remains undeclared. One would think the most ethical stance is for
researchers to pay to publish in open access journals that
remain free to readers. A prestigious journal housed under the
corporate umbrella of Wolters Kluver, another business-minded
global information services and publishing
behemoth, seems unconscionable. More worrisome is the collateral damage
that could result from the open-ended stand-off between Elsevier and
medical researchers. Delays and uncertainties in
the dissemination of seminal health care research findings whilst
publishing models and houses are under threat could impede timely gains
in patient care.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 23, 2012

I did a tricky refereeing job resulting in an improved paper  for an Elsevier journal and afterwards Elseveier thanked me for my work which they wrote was much appreciated. Since I am retired, I asked if I could have as a token a year's online subscription to the journal.  Answer came there none!

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 23, 2012

How much do we need a
publisher?

I think we (or more feasible our scientific institutes or societies) can issue
our own journals without cooperation with any publisher. Authors submit their
papers and pay for peer-reviewing, and the published papers are open-access for
all people. This is a more sustainable and efficient way to promote scientific
work.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 23, 2012

 I strongly support the public-spirited revolt by researchers
in their pledge to boycott the academic journal publisher
Elsevier. This aims to meaningfully register their protest of
long-exorbitant and profitably-priced access to Elsevier journals.

The price of advocacy for
unrestricted access to findings from publicly funded research could be
the prejudiced administrative handling and peer assessment of current
and future manuscripts submitted to Elsevier
journals by Cost of Knowledge signatories. In agreeing to not submit
to, and review or edit manuscripts from, Elsevier’s stable of
prestigious journals, conscientious objectors risk not gaining academic
promotion and peer recognition from a positive association
with high impact Elsevier journals.

The preferred target
destinations Cost of Knowledge signatories are to divert their work
remains undeclared. One would think the most ethical stance is for
researchers to pay to publish in open access journals that
remain free to readers. A prestigious journal housed under the
corporate umbrella of Wolters Kluver, another business-minded
global information services and publishing
behemoth, seems unconscionable. More worrisome is the collateral damage
that could result from the open-ended stand-off between Elsevier and
medical researchers. Delays and uncertainties in
the dissemination of seminal health care research findings whilst
publishing models and houses are under threat could impede timely gains
in patient care.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 23, 2012

I did a tricky refereeing job resulting in an improved paper  for an Elsevier journal and afterwards Elseveier thanked me for my work which they wrote was much appreciated. Since I am retired, I asked if I could have as a token a year's online subscription to the journal.  Answer came there none!

February 23, 2012

How much do we need a
publisher?

I think we (or more feasible our scientific institutes or societies) can issue
our own journals without cooperation with any publisher. Authors submit their
papers and pay for peer-reviewing, and the published papers are open-access for
all people. This is a more sustainable and efficient way to promote scientific
work.

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