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posted by mrpg on Tuesday December 27 2016, @07:30PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the fight-for-your-rights dept.

Germany's DEAL project (in German), which includes over 60 major research institutions, has announced that all of its members are canceling their subscriptions to all of Elsevier's academic and scientific journals, effective January 1, 2017.

The boycott is in response to Elsevier's refusal to adopt "transparent business models" to "make publications more openly accessible."

Elsevier is notorious even among academic publishers for its hostility to open access, but it also publishes some of the most prestigious journals in many fields. This creates a vicious cycle, where the best publicly funded research is published in Elsevier journals, which then claims ownership over the research (Elsevier, like most academic journals, requires authors to sign their copyrights over, though it does not pay them for their writing, nor does it pay for their research expenses). Then, the public institutions that are producing this research have to pay very high costs to access the journals in which it appears. Journal prices have skyrocketed over the past 40 years.

No one institution can afford to boycott Elsevier, but collectively, the institutions have great power.

Germany-wide consortium of research libraries announce boycott of Elsevier journals over open access.

No full-text access to Elsevier journals to be expected from 1 January 2017 on.


Original Submission

Related Stories

Paywall: A Documentary About the Movement for Open-Access Science Publishing 9 comments

Documentary puts lens on the open-access movement upending scientific publishing

Jason Schmitt was working at Atlantic Records when the online site Napster disrupted the music industry by making copyrighted songs freely available. Now, the communications and media researcher at Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York, is pushing for a similar disruption of academic publishing with Paywall, a documentary about the open-access movement that debuts today in a Washington, D.C., theater. "I don't think that it's right that for-profit publishers can make 35%–40% profit margins. The content is provided for them for free by academics," Schmitt, who produced the film, says.

The documentary explores the impact of Sci-Hub, a website that provides pirated versions of paywalled papers for free online, and interviews academics and publishing figures. Schmitt says many large publishers refused to go on camera—although representatives from Science and Nature did—and he is not impressed that several have begun publishing some open-access journals. "Elsevier is as much to open access as McDonald's fast food is to healthy," he says.

Sci-Hub and Library Genesis.

Related:


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 2) by takyon on Tuesday December 27 2016, @07:53PM

    by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Tuesday December 27 2016, @07:53PM (#446424) Journal

    A few governments should just pitch in to buy parts of Elsevier (a subsidiary of RELX Group) and hand it over to an independent entity. Or strike a deal that maintains the company's £2 billion revenue but requires all papers to be open access. Or better yet, invalidate copyright on scientific knowledge.

    Instead we're going the route of a slowly growing boycott, and Elsevier throwing a few bread crumbs to the masses.

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    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by jelizondo on Tuesday December 27 2016, @08:19PM

      by jelizondo (653) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday December 27 2016, @08:19PM (#446437) Journal

      Most research, worldwide, is carried out by government grants and thus I oppose your solution to buy/pay the publisher when any decent University or Research Center has enough manpower and technology to publish an online and open journal on practically any subject.

      Peer reviewers aren’t paid either, so the publisher for doing next to nothing makes a ton of money; it is a process that can easily be automated: submit, distribute to peer reviewers, get feedback and go/no-go to publish.

      It is one more example of privatizing the profits and socializing the costs, which is driving the world into ruin.

      • (Score: 2) by takyon on Tuesday December 27 2016, @08:52PM

        by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Tuesday December 27 2016, @08:52PM (#446451) Journal

        Decisive action needs to be taken. They own the copyright on lots of articles, they make billions in revenue with a large profit margin, and the papers are still not open access.

        Post your solution to the problem.

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        • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 27 2016, @09:36PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 27 2016, @09:36PM (#446471)

          My proposal is for universities and government bureaus that provide funding grants to prohibit their professors/researchers from publishing with any company that demands more than three years of exclusivity. This may require creating an alternative non-profit publishing service to fill in for Elsevier's journals.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 27 2016, @09:40PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 27 2016, @09:40PM (#446473)

            That doesn't liberate all the vast amount of knowledge they're already holding hostage however.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 27 2016, @11:54PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 27 2016, @11:54PM (#446506)

              >"That doesn't liberate all the vast amount of knowledge they're already holding hostage however."

              You are right, and I don't have a good proposal for fixing that. Possibly, if everyone abandons Elsevier and they go bankrupt, their repository will become available for an affordable price.

        • (Score: 1) by anubi on Wednesday December 28 2016, @06:10AM

          by anubi (2828) on Wednesday December 28 2016, @06:10AM (#446572) Journal

          I believe you already hit the nail on the head square on, Takyon:

          Or better yet, invalidate copyright on scientific knowledge.

          --
          "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]
          • (Score: 3, Funny) by FatPhil on Wednesday December 28 2016, @09:33AM

            by FatPhil (863) <pc-soylentNO@SPAMasdf.fi> on Wednesday December 28 2016, @09:33AM (#446601) Homepage
            Mere facts have never been copyrightable anyway.

            Tongue in cheek solution - anyone wishing to assert copyright on a paper must have a large banner saying "these are not facts" on every page!
            --
            I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
        • (Score: 2) by fido_dogstoyevsky on Wednesday December 28 2016, @07:10AM

          by fido_dogstoyevsky (131) <{axehandle} {at} {gmail.com}> on Wednesday December 28 2016, @07:10AM (#446579)

          Decisive action needs to be taken. They own the copyright on lots of articles, they make billions in revenue with a large profit margin, and the papers are still not open access.

          Post your solution to the problem.

          No need to, someone or other earlier on already did it with the best possible solution...

          ...Or better yet, invalidate copyright on scientific knowledge.

          --
          It's NOT a conspiracy... it's a plot.
    • (Score: 2) by Wootery on Wednesday December 28 2016, @10:02PM

      by Wootery (2341) on Wednesday December 28 2016, @10:02PM (#446868)

      Or, more realistically, governments should require that any research that's in any way publicly funded, may only be published under open-access.

      You know, the same way that if the government pays you to build a library, you don't then get to say It's all done, and by the way my buddy Terry owns it.

  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 27 2016, @07:58PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 27 2016, @07:58PM (#446430)

    If you are a scientist, show some dignity and backbone and publish in an open-access journal. The library fees will sort themselves out for older work.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 27 2016, @10:31PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 27 2016, @10:31PM (#446489)

      An issue here is that as a scientist you can earn as little as $1500 a month. The publishing fees are at least this much.

      So while I appreciate the layman's desire to see all scientists fight like Rambo/Rocky clones against the broken system, this is a pretty ridiculous proposition. Yes sure, if you are going to stake it all on winning the 2017 Nobel Prize, but no if you just designed a different nozzle shape for a bunsen burner or confirmed someone else's results (ha ha, just kidding).

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 27 2016, @11:02PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 27 2016, @11:02PM (#446495)

        There are diamond open access journals that charge no publication fee either.

        • (Score: 2) by bzipitidoo on Wednesday December 28 2016, @06:10PM

          by bzipitidoo (4388) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday December 28 2016, @06:10PM (#446769) Journal

          I'm tired of this sort of negative advice. Don't publish with Elsevier. Boycott Elsevier. No parking allowed here. Great. What should scientists do instead? Rather hear where to publish, than where not to publish.

          The choices aren't much. There's the traditional route. Turn over all copyright to some academic publisher who can paywall all the work anytime they want, and ask as much as they want for access. Elsevier is merely the evilest of these. Then "cheat", and hand out their research to anyone who wants it, and dare the publisher to complain about the copyright violation. Hope an Aaron Swartz comes along someday and liberates the works.

          Now choice 2 is author pays. Authors cough up around $500 or maybe as high as $4000 to keep the copyrights so the academic publisher can't legally bar everyone from seeing the work. It's a rotten deal. Many institutions are setting up funding to pay these fees. That's great for the scientists they employ. For scientists on the outside, it stinks. They won't help just any scientists, they will only help scientists working for them.

          Choice 3 is to publish on the Internet, somehow. This is disorganized. Can put research papers on http://Arxiv.org [arxiv.org] . Can post in an appropriate group on Usenet. Could even whip up their own websites and "publish" there. One problem is getting the word out. Could send links to Google Scholar.

          Another problem are these questionable publishers. Predatory publishers. Setting up a journal and collecting $500 per accepted submission must seem like easy money to grifters looking for their next con. It is little wonder that such predatory journals have exploded in number. Here's a whole website about that: http://scholarlyoa.com [scholarlyoa.com] . Lovely. Another "do not park here" negative help.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 28 2016, @03:26AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 28 2016, @03:26AM (#446538)

        Cry me a river. Go ahead and publish that kind of stuff with Elsevier. But don't complain if nobody cites because they don't have access

        • (Score: 2) by takyon on Wednesday December 28 2016, @03:50AM

          by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Wednesday December 28 2016, @03:50AM (#446543) Journal

          don't complain if nobody cites because they don't have access

          When's that gonna happen? The great science journal war of 2023?

          https://www.elsevier.com/about/press-releases/research-and-journals/elsevier-announces-2014-citation-impact-highlights2 [elsevier.com]

          Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, today announced the highlights of its journal Impact Factor performance in 2014. According to the 2014 Journal Citation Reports® (JCR) published by Thomson Reuters, Elsevier saw 55% of its journal Impact Factors increase from 2013 to 2014, ahead of the aggregate across other journals. In 2014, Elsevier journals occupied the top rank in 62 subject categories, up from 61 in 2013.

          An additional 14 Elsevier journals have risen to the top of one or more of their subject categories, and 25 journals have received an Impact Factor for the first time. Among these are Physics of the Dark Universe (8.571) and Journal of CO2 Utilization (3.091), ranking in the top quartile of their respective subject categories.

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    • (Score: 2) by AthanasiusKircher on Wednesday December 28 2016, @03:20AM

      by AthanasiusKircher (5291) on Wednesday December 28 2016, @03:20AM (#446535) Journal

      Better yet, if you're a scientist on the editorial board of a journal, lobby your editors and board members to turn it into open access. Several high profile "declarations of independence" have occurred over the years. [simmons.edu]

      In most cases, contractual issues will likely prevent simply moving to open access. But the reason people continue to publish in closed access journals is due to the name and reputation. If the entire board resigns en masse and forms a new journal, it can simultaneously undermine the reputation of the old journal name and give attention within the discipline to the new open access journal, which immediately establishes a level of reputation that a new journal otherwise likely won't have for many years.

      The parasitic owners of these journal rights do nothing -- the reputation usually comes from the standards set up by the editors and the prestige of the editorial board. If you're on a board, you're in a position to work toward a more direct fix than simply encouraging scholars to publish elsewhere.

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by driverless on Wednesday December 28 2016, @06:03AM

        by driverless (4770) on Wednesday December 28 2016, @06:03AM (#446571)

        You vastly overestimate the power that an editorial board has. In practice the people running the journal (for money) call the shots. About the only power an editorial board has outside of choosing which articles to accept and in what form is to resign en masse. I'm on the editorial board for a journal and that would have been the only thing we could have done.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 28 2016, @10:19AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 28 2016, @10:19AM (#446615)

          The editorial boards (not the scientific reviewers) tend to be outsourced to India to maximize publisher profits nowadays. This is how, among others, typos in article titles survive into publication.

          • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 28 2016, @11:53AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 28 2016, @11:53AM (#446631)

            Ahem, the Editorial Board is not the typesetters but the group of (usually) reputable scientists who pick appropriate reviewers for the individual submissions and who have the final say when some of the reviewers want to turn down a manuscript or request major changes before publication.

            Still even their resignation would probably not have an immediate impact on the fate of a journal - if you want your contributions to research to be known and recognized, you simply need to publish in one of the journals that everybody in your field reads. If you send it to some new journal or to something "exotic" that has fifteen decades of tradition but publishes in the local language, the best you can hope for is a footnote in somebody else's paper that proclaims to be "the first" to do this work some years later.

  • (Score: 5, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 27 2016, @08:22PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 27 2016, @08:22PM (#446439)

    I have zero sympathy for the big publishers at large but I don't hold much sympathy for the instutions either. Back in the late 90's and early 00's they all sold their formerly directly published inhouse journals to these big conglomerates in order to make them "internet ready" allowing these parasites to metastasize like a cancer and gain the foothold they have now.

  • (Score: 2) by Ayn Anonymous on Tuesday December 27 2016, @08:38PM

    by Ayn Anonymous (5012) on Tuesday December 27 2016, @08:38PM (#446444)

    All scientistic journal publisher are parasites.
    Do you negotiate with a parasite ?

    Look here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sci-Hub [wikipedia.org]

    • (Score: 2) by nethead on Tuesday December 27 2016, @08:48PM

      by nethead (4970) <joe@nethead.com> on Tuesday December 27 2016, @08:48PM (#446448) Homepage

      Not all, check out: http://journal.hsforum.com/index.php/HSF/about/editorialPolicies#focusAndScope [hsforum.com]

      I helped the founder setup the site back in the mid-90s when he ran it from home on an ISDN line.

      --
      How did my SN UID end up over 3 times my /. UID?
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 27 2016, @08:55PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 27 2016, @08:55PM (#446454)

      Journals that are published by scientific societies are not parasites. But they should still be open access. Why fund society activities through library fees?

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 28 2016, @04:32AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 28 2016, @04:32AM (#446555)

        And why do you, AC, get to make the rules? What if I (another AC) say that, while I have nothing to do with the Heart Surgury Journal, it doesn't look like a bad deal if you are interested in the papers. Why not fund the activities of the professional society (rent, IT, office help, etc) on publications? The money has to come from somewhere and annual dues don't usually go very far.

        Note, I'm not interested in funding mega-salaries for directors--those positions should pay some nominal honorarium, and be filled by retired experts in the field.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 28 2016, @03:58PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 28 2016, @03:58PM (#446732)

          different AC, but i'll respond. Recently, i have been interested in biological neural networks, neuroethology and a host of other topics related to information processing and organisation of stuff in the brain. I think i got like 4 -5 hundred papers (maybe more, the folder is like over 13 gb now) read in last 3 years.

          Had i paid for subscriptions to necessary journals.. I'm not sure how much exactly, but pretty sure i wouldn't be able to afford it. Like at least 2 times more then my former salary of 3.5-4k usd/month after taxes.

          Had i paid for all the papers i got off sci-hub for free PER PAPER, i think cost would have been higher. Some sites sell pdf files for _20 to like 45 dollars PER FILE._

          Had there been no sci-hub, id be hacking me a computer on some uni campus to have continued access. It's not about morality, fairness or ideology to me. It's about "this file has what i need to know, how can i get the file's content". I do understand the gatekeepers internal motivation, and hopefully the gatekeepers will understand mine someday. If i had the six digit budget they have, i'd pay.

    • (Score: 2) by driverless on Wednesday December 28 2016, @05:41AM

      by driverless (4770) on Wednesday December 28 2016, @05:41AM (#446563)

      Do you negotiate with a parasite ?

      Sure, like this [youtube.com].

  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 28 2016, @04:27AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 28 2016, @04:27AM (#446554)

    Including MIT (which is virtually part of the Ivy League except for sports) and their west coast counterparts (Stanford, UCal, etc) are discussing this boycott and seriously considering whether to join it.

    Remember, money talks.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 28 2016, @03:31PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 28 2016, @03:31PM (#446722)

      The boycott won't work until they change the tenure system. Why would a junior faculty member stressing over "publish or perish" forgo publishing in a high-impact journal? It is easy for you to cry "waah, waah, open access, waah," but it isn't your career on the line and you're not the one investing seven years for a chance to grab the brass ring. The junior faculty are the ones who have to publish more, so if you want them to not publish in these journals, you need to incentivize it somehow, such as change the weight given to journal impact numbers.

      • (Score: 2) by urza9814 on Wednesday December 28 2016, @09:18PM

        by urza9814 (3954) on Wednesday December 28 2016, @09:18PM (#446856) Journal

        The boycott won't work until they change the tenure system. Why would a junior faculty member stressing over "publish or perish" forgo publishing in a high-impact journal?

        This is why the boycott must be lead by the institutions rather than the individual scientists -- which is exactly what's being discussed. And I'll add that it needs to be an actual boycott, not just a press release. If the University you want to work for is boycotting Elsevier and you need to show them that you've published ten papers, then you better have those papers published somewhere that isn't Elsevier. If the papers are only published in an Elsevier journal, then as far as the boycotting university is concerned they don't exist.

        Get every Ivy League to boycott Elsevier and it means every researcher who works for or wants to work for an Ivy League institution HAS TO boycott Elsevier too.