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Aboycott over the high price of online access to scientific journals has turned into a rolling protest with faculty and administrators, for once, on the same side of a budget battle.

By last month, Harvard University, Cornell University, Duke University, North Carolina State University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill had all joined the movement that started in 2003 at the University of California, San Francisco. The schools' faculty took a hard line in contract negotiations with Elsevier, the Amsterdam-based publisher of hundreds of life sciences journals.

An Elsevier spokesman counters that US scientists are naïve in their assessment of the financial realities of scientific publishing. "We have volume discounts and special introductory offers and they come to an end, and people find that difficult to comprehend," says Eric Merkel-Sobotta, Elsevier spokesman.

Elsevier is the science publishing division of Reed Elsevier, which posted €219 million...

Editor's Note: The Scientist's CEO, Vitek Tracz, is chairman of Current Science Group, which publishes open-access scientific papers, among other projects.

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