Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Boycott Against High Prices for Scientific Publications

A boycott against Elsevier is gaining momentum. An online pledge was created by Timothy Gowers, a mathematician at the University of Cambridge. The online site allows scientists to pledge not to publish, referee or do editorial work for any Elsevier title. It now has over 4,500 signers (as of Feb 7, 2012). Impressive work considering that the pledge has been up for a couple of weeks.

According to The Economist, Elsevier in 2010 "made a £724m ($1.16 billion) profit on revenues of £2 billion, a margin of 36%." The company charges lots for its individual journals, encourages libraries to buy bundles of journals to afford its key journals with the bundle discounts, and lobbies against government programs that would make journals more accessible to scientists.

I would support both requirements on grants that research results be made available free on the Internet as well as open access policies for scientists in developing nations.

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