06 November 2015

That's Gonna Leave a Mark

The Sith lord of academic journal publishing is Elsevier.

They charge thousands of dollars a year for subscriptions, jacked their prices in a way that makes Martin Shkreli salivate, and they have threated lawsuits to keep researchers from publishing their own research.

They are widely loathed in their field, and now the entire staff of one of their journals has resigned to start up and independent open access journal:
It's really somewhat astounding just how absolutely hated journal publishing giant Elsevier has become in certain academic circles. The company seems to have perfected its role of being about as evil as possible in trying to lock up knowledge and making it expensive and difficult to access. A few years ago, we noted that a bunch of academics were banding together to boycott journals published by the company, as more and more people were looking at open access journals, allowing them to more freely share their research, rather than locking it up. Elsevier's response has been to basically crack down on efforts to share knowledge. The company has been known to charge for open access research -- sometimes even buying up journals and ignoring the open licenses on the works. The company has also been demanding professors takedown copies of their own research. Because how dare anyone actually benefit from knowledge without paying Elsevier its toll. And that's not even mentioning Elsevier's history of publishing fake journals as a way to help giant pharmaceutical companies pretend their treatments were effective.

Basically on the list of companies which really are pushing to get themselves declared "evil," Elsevier has a prime spot.

And now even its employees are revolting. The editorial staff of an Elsevier journal have all resigned to go start an open access journal instead:
All six editors and all 31 editorial board members of Lingua, one of the top journals in linguistics, last week resigned to protest Elsevier's policies on pricing and its refusal to convert the journal to an open-access publication that would be free online. As soon as January, when the departing editors' noncompete contracts expire, they plan to start a new open-access journal to be called Glossa.

The editors and editorial board members quit, they say, after telling Elsevier of the frustrations of libraries reporting that they could not afford to subscribe to the journal and in some cases couldn't even figure out what it would cost to subscribe. Prices quoted on the Elsevier website suggest that an academic library in the United States with a total student and faculty full-time equivalent number of around 10,000 would pay $2,211 for shared online access, and $1,966 for a print copy.
One of the editors who quit notes that he'd "be better off going to flip burgers" in the time he spent working for the journal, rather than accepting the tiny amount Elsevier pays him.
Note that the authors of these papers are not paid to publish.

In fact, in a number of cases, they pay to offset the cost of publishing.

And Elsevier is determined to suck the marrow out of learning, and dance on its bones.


Post a Comment