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RE: Call for quick action: Elsevier trying to restrict open access to US-government-funded research!
Interesting. Now, I respect the right of Elsevier, as a corporation, to set
limits on the things it pays for and how they may be obtained. Nothing is free
in this world, as it were. If you do not want to be restricted on what you want
made available, and you do want to preserve rights of access to your work, as
well as _de facto_ ownership of at least _some_ of the things you want
published, do not publish in Elsevier. It's that simple.
Simply practice selection on a journalistic level and choose not to purchase,
support or publish in said journals. If may hurt you career wise, as this
limits the impact of some of your publications because you can't get into some
wide-distribution, popular journals for your slightly longer works, but that
may be the case for this political action.
I do not think this will have much of an impact, though: Vertebrate
paleontology in general makes up a tiny fraction of content for Elsevier. By
count, I see 9 journals in Earth Sciences and 4 journals in Life Sciences that
get used by vert. paleos, and of these, they make up a mere half of one percent
of Elsevier's total journals (2600+). I don't say a boycott will have no
effect, but if it does, it will be minimal, and can do harm to non-Elsevier
entities. It may be necessary to step outside of the vert paleo community and
actually see how the medical sciences might deal with this; this is especially
interesting because of the recent arguement by the US government for two
studies to redact portions of their work on the H1N1 genome. Elsevier currently
also owns _the Lancet_, one of the more respected medical journals, which means
it may find itself come under greater fire for arguments put forward by Mike
Taylor and co. if medical groups and institutions were to stop submissions or
retract their submissions currently in review from Elsevier journals.
This ties in with my other argument about Elsevier, in that it practices
behavior that is disruptive to the vert. paleo community and in fact
problematic for the purpose of taxonomy, regardless of paleontology or not:
They will put up prior to print publication one's articles describing new
taxonomy. [Note that this argument doesn't care about digital over paper
publication and which is more _right_ or _better_.] Despite this issue, it
seems some paleos will continue to publish in these journals, presumably
because of their notoriety (there's that cost thing again). The solution to
that is the same as to the boycott: Do not submit to journals owned by Elsevier
if you do not want this to happen.
Jaime A. Headden
The Bite Stuff (site v2)
"Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969)
"Ever since man first left his cave and met a stranger with a
different language and a new way of looking at things, the human race
has had a dream: to kill him, so we don't have to learn his language or
his new way of looking at things." --- Zapp Brannigan (Beast With a Billion
> Date: Wed, 11 Jan 2012 11:30:58 +0100
> From: email@example.com
> To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Subject: Call for quick action: Elsevier trying to restrict open access to
> US-government-funded research!
> I'm sorry I didn't post this earlier; I only learned of it 24 hours ago
> and then spent too much time wondering why nobody had posted it here.
> I'll simply copy the first three paragraphs:
> Most of you will know that the major US science-funding agencies require
> the work they fund (from the public purse) to be made available as
> open-access to the public that funded it. And it’s hard for me to
> imagine anyone sees that requirement as anything other than
> straightforwardly just.
> But you may not know about the Research Works Act
> , a truly vile piece of
> legislation being proposed by two Elsevier-funded shills in the US
> Congress, which would make it illegal for funding bodies to impose this
> perfectly natural requirement. It may not be surprising that a
> corporation as predatory as Elsevier
> wants legal protection for its exploitative business model of stealing
> publicly funded research; but it shocked me to find that this
> preposterous Act ever got out of committee (unlike two earlier failed
> attempts to overturn open-access mandates).
> The good news is that there is something we can do. The Office of
> Science Technology and Policy (OSTP) has issued a Request For
> Information -- basically, it wants your opinion -- on public access to
> peer-reviewed scholarly publications resulting from federally funded
> research. You can read about this in (too much) detail here
> but the bottom line is that you should email your comments to
> email@example.com _before the extended deadline of 12th January_.
> The post goes on to mention that the OSTP seems to actually listen;
> several people who e-mailed them have received nice, non-automatic
> It is very important that not only US residents should write to the
> OSTP. First of all, science simply isn't localized (except maybe to
> "outside North Korea"); second, Elsevier officially sits in the
> Netherlands, not the US, so the Research Works Act cannot be spun as
> "protecting American business"; third, the RWA would make the US look
> ridiculously evil, and only responses from all over the world can make
> this clear.
> Incidentally, like all other such companies, Elsevier doesn't pay the
> editors of its journals much (elsewhere, John Hutchinson mentions
> getting 250 $ a year for being an associate editor of an Elsevier
> journal), and of course the reviewers get nothing. Unsurprisingly, then,
> Elsevier's latest known profit margin was 36 %, within the range of
> Springer, Wiley and Informa (32 to 42 %).
> They really don't need subsidies from taxpayer money.
> Could somebody please forward this to the vrtpaleo list?