February 3, 2012
Scholars v Elsevier STM in the Court of Public Opinion
Following up on LLB's post, Won't Publish, Won't Referee, Won't Do Editorial Work: Professors boycotting Elsevier STM journals because of the Company's business practices, see also The Chronicle's recent article. It reports on Elsevier's response to the boycott and interviews boycotting scholars and a university library administrator.
[T]he protest has also reached junior scholars like Mr. Abrahams of Albert Einstein, who has yet to gain tenure.
"I have three papers I'm hoping to submit in the next 12 weeks. One was destined for Cell, and another for Neuron," also published by Elsevier, he said. "It would have been a real feather in my cap to publish there. But I won't, based on this week's discussions." His work, focused on identifying genes related to autism, will go other places. "There are other good journals. And, long term, I'd like my library to be able to use its limited resources to better ends" than high journal prices, he said.
That could signal real problems for Elsevier, says Kevin Smith, director of scholarly communications at Duke University Libraries. "Librarians have long complained about prices and bundling journals together, and nothing has changed," he says. "Now it's not just the customers who are complaining. It's the suppliers."
Academic librarians may buy journals, but it's the scientists who produce and submit articles that make them worth buying, he says. "If they are upset, there is a chance they may change the system."
Quoting from Josh Fischman's As Journal Boycott Grows, Elsevier Defends Its Practices. Do note the comment trail. [JH]