Last month, a group of 16 physicians, scientists and representatives of anti-arms trade groups accused
The letter was organized by the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), a London-based group whose representative Anna Jones was a co-signatory. In around the second week of August, CAAT began contacting other campaigning groups, medical charities and public health scientists alerting them to the link, says Mike Lewis, spokesman for the group. "They were all very quick in getting back to us and agreeing to sign, which I think is a sign of how shocked they were."
The journal's editors and advisory board deny any knowledge of the relationship. "We are deeply troubled by this connection to the arms trade," they wrote in a letter in the same issue.
It's easy to imagine the editors were unaware of the connection. Reed Elsevier employs more than 35,000 people in over 200 locations. But CAAT had been aware of the link since 2003 and had been privately lobbying the firm to end its association with arms, says Lewis. But those earlier discussions had no impact, "which is why we took it to this next public stage."
Although Reed Elsevier declines comment.
In another letter in the same issue, Reed's company secretary Stephen Cowden, responds by saying that the defense industry is "central to the preservation of freedom and national security," and that arms shows are tightly regulated. However, these assurances may do little to sway the editorial writers, who ask
Reed Elsevier publishes about 2,000 scientific, technical and medical journals a year. Those behind this campaign say they hope other journals join
Lewis says the campaign could extend even further. "Obviously a lot of professions and organizations use Reed Elsevier publications.... I think all of those groups need to be aware and I think a lot of those groups will have something to say."