More Elsevier Bad Press

You may have caught wind of the latest brouhaha developing online against Elsevier.

Yesterday, Cambridge mathematician Timothy Glowers released data collected from 19 UK universities under a freedom of information act request – the data are what they pay annually to Elsevier for the ScienceDirect journal bundle. Elsevier has always insisted on confidentiality clauses in these licenses. (BTW: Yes, this is the same Tim Glowers that initiated the Cost of Knowledge boycott in 2012).

It is a long, and carefully documented blog post – but well worth the read: http://gowers.wordpress.com/2014/04/24/elsevier-journals-some-facts/

If you don’t have the time, this post nicely summarizes the main points: http://access.okfn.org/2014/04/24/the-cost-of-academic-publishing/

And the Research Libraries UK (RLUK) has already released a statement too: http://www.rluk.ac.uk/news/university-spend-big-deals/

I can’t say I was very surprised or shocked by any of these numbers, but the point is to make these data more transparent to academics who are often blissfully unaware (not to mention the tax-paying public who ultimately fund much of this system).

It will be interesting to see how Elsevier tries to put out this fire.