Header graphic for print
Real Lawyers Have Blogs On the topic of the law, firm marketing, social media, & baseball

Academics world wide boycott Reed Elsevier

Reed Elsevier BoycottAcademics from around the world are boycotting publisher, Reed Elsevier (parent of LexisNexis) by refusing to allow their research to be published in Reed Elsevier’s science and medical publications. From Nicky Herald in the Sydney Morning Herald reporting on the Reed Elsevier boycott.

More than 6000 academics, including close to 100 Australians, support a petition claiming the Dutch publisher charges ”exorbitantly high” prices for access to journals as well as bundling titles together, forcing libraries to buy unwanted journals to access essential ones. Last year, Elsevier made a $1.1 billion operating profit from revenues of $3 billion. The Cost of Knowledge petition also objects to the publisher’s support of controversial US legislation such as the SOPA, PIPA and the Research Works Act, which seeks to restrict free access to publicly funded research. ”The key to all these issues is the right of authors to achieve easily accessible distribution of their work,” the petition’s website claims. Many of the signatories have refused to publish their research, referee, or edit any of the publisher’s 2000-plus journals, which include The Lancet and Cell.

Dennis Johnson co-publisher of Melville House, an independent publishing house, shares word of a report on the Reed Elsevier boycott from the Financial Times (subscription required):

Even Elsevier’s own editors seem to be rebelling. “I regret the fact that Elsevier charge over three times the prices prevailing in my subject area. It makes the journal less accessible and less influential than it would otherwise be,” Tim Leunig, the editor of an Elsevier journal called Explorations in Economic History, tells the FT.

Also per the Financial Times, as reported by Johnson, this boycott is adding to the pressure of analysts calling to break-up Reed Elsevier by selling assets such as LexisNexis. We’re seeing the double whammy here in the science and medical publishing world. The growth of open source publishing via blogs and the like combined with institutions refusing to pay hefty subscription prices for bundled content. There’s little question that the same is going to occur in the legal publishing world over time, both as to primary legal research and secondary sources such as treatises and law reviews.