When Publishers Attack: Elsevier And The Open Access Research Dilemma

Paul St John Mackintosh | TeleRead | December 9, 2013

It’s no secret that academic publisher Reed Elsevier is facing financial and structural challenges from European Union and other regulatory challenges to its business model, from officials anxious to make sure that publicly-funded research gets to be public. But Elsevier’s response to recent attempts within the academic community to assert open access has highlighted characteristic problems in its own reactions to this challenge – and similar behavior among academic and scholarly publishers elsewhere.

And by the way: The tongue-in-cheek illustration that accompanies this post is just that – tongue in cheek. But only so far. It doesn’t represent all publishers. But it represents enough. And I hope that the publishers who don’t deserve this will not feel implicated – but will feel shamed, or at least upset, by the actions of their peers.

Mike Taylor, “a research associate at the University of Bristol,” and his academic partners run a blog called “Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week.” When not concerned with matters of pressing international concern, like – well, sauropod vertebra pictures – the blog addresses issues of open access within academic research and scholarly publishing. And the following is based mostly on SV-POW’s summary.