Archive for February 10th, 2012
Posted by MEC on February 10, 2012
Posted by Charles II on February 10, 2012
Mike Taylor, London Independent:
These are the most uncertain times in living memory for academic publishing. After decades of bumping along with an antique publishing model, researchers have suddenly woken up and found that they are strong. More than 4700 have signed a pledge not to write, review or edit for Elsevier journals, in a movement that The Economist has called the Academic Spring. How did we get here? The immediate catalyst is the Research Works Act (RWA), an iniquitous piece of American legislation, currently a bill before Congress, that seeks to reclassify publicly funded research papers as “private-sector works” and block the US government from making them available to the taxpayers who paid for them. But the roots of discontent go far deeper.
This was the status quo as 2011 drew to an end: researchers uneasily accepting the world the publishers have imposed, and trying to get work done in a horribly suboptimal environment. And then into that status quo came the RWA: a bill of such wretchedly transparent self-interest that it catalysed researchers’ discontent. In effect the RWA was a declaration of war from the publishers, an explicit confession that it’s us against them, that talk of a partnership is just propaganda while their tanks roll down our streets.
What the publishers didn’t expect was that researchers would fight back. But in the face of such flagrant hostility, we had to, and we have. The Elsevier boycott has been described in some quarters as a petition. But it’s not. It’s a declaration of independence.
Occupy J. Clin. Vir.!
(To see what an octopus Elsevier is, here is the list of their journals. The ones that begin with the letter A)