The Sins of Reed Elsevier - sunday 2009-05-10 0052 last modified 2009-05-10 0053
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Recently, Elsevier BV (a private Dutch entity and part of the Reed Elsevier Group, which also owns Reed Business and LexisNexis) has been under fire for allowing business partners to create academic, peer-reviewed journals in their advertising - only these journals are nothing of the sort and are comprised entirely of articles favorable to one partner. Not just once, either: Elsevier used one of its subdivisions for handling this type of business order.

Reed Elsevier used to organize weapons trade shows. While they've ended the practice - what the hell was a publisher doing acting as enablers of merchants of death? The glaring inconsistency evident to any outside observer was apparently lost on them until it became a liability to their bottom line.

Which any corporation might fairly state is their purpose, but the world over considers Elsevier vastly overpriced. Entire editorial boards have resigned over failed negotiations to bring their journal subscription price down, shifting operations and prestige elsewhere. One can only hope such coordinated defection continues well into the future.

As a consequence of a company like Elsevier holding the expensive reigns for such a broad swath of academic publishing and weight, the world suffers for not having open access to its own generated knowledge. Does it not smack of the worst irony that an industry called publishing - to make public - is privately controlled? By one company?

There really is no reason for Elsevier to exist. It's time someone started a viable, open, and honest competitor to leave this clown company in the dirt.

(I'm not adding anything new to this discussion, it just happens to be personally important enough to me to make sure I voice where I stand on it.)

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