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Nearly 4,500 researchers have signed an agreement to refrain from publishing in, refereeing, and/or performing editorial services for journals produced by the science-publishing behemoth Elsevier. But the publisher of several well-respected life-science journals, including Cell and The Lancet, maintains that a misunderstanding of its intentions, and not unfair business practices, are fueling the boycott.
“The notion that the government pays my salary and my colleagues’ salaries and enables us to do this very expensive research and then requires separate funding for us to access our work,” he said, “That’s insane.”
...open-access publishing is a fairer way to disseminate knowledge gained from publicly funded research. "...I don’t believe that we should continue with this system rigged in the way it is now.”
The Cost of Knowledge
Academics have protested against Elsevier's business practices for years with little effect. These are some of their objections:
1. They charge exorbitantly high prices for subscriptions to individual journals.
2. In the light of these high prices, the only realistic option for many libraries is to agree to buy very large "bundles", which will include many journals that those libraries do not actually want. Elsevier thus makes huge profits by exploiting the fact that some of their journals are essential.
3. They support measures such as SOPA, PIPA and the Research Works Act, that aim to restrict the free exchange of information.
The Bill for Open Access to publicly funded research failed to clear the Senate. Now, the NIH has bypassed the need for new legislation simply by adding a new clause to the standard agreement for grants and contracts - and making Open Access a condition for getting government funding through the NIH. No legislation is required.
“We’re not wild about government mandates,” such as the NIH’s mandate that any research supported with public funds be submitted to the publically accessible digital archive PubMed Central upon acceptance for publication in journals.
Elsevier is the biggest, most powerful science publishing corporation - and the boycott is international. Some of the world's greatest minds are backing the Elsevier boycott.