Times Higher Education - Occupy publishing

Items tagged with oa.latex in Open Access Tracking Project (OATP) 2012-08-20


[From an article written by Timothy Gowers] “There was a time when typesetting and dissemination were essential services provided by publishers. Now, almost all mathematicians write their papers in LaTeX (a document-preparation system), and dissemination typically takes place online, long before papers appear in journals. That leaves one main service performed by journals: providing a stamp of approval that, in principle at least, gives one confidence in the correctness of a paper and some rough idea of its quality... One might have thought, in the light of this, that maths journals would be very cheap indeed. However, university libraries are in a weak bargaining position: there are some journals that are very important to some academics, so libraries are extremely reluctant to cancel their subscriptions to them. The result is that the major publishers, the likes of Elsevier, Springer and Wiley, have been able to set their prices extraordinarily high. It is hard to say exactly how high because they typically sell their journals in huge "bundles" that run across all subjects, and they ask libraries to sign confidentiality agreements... Recently, I thought that I could add to the pressure for change by making public my refusal to publish with Elsevier, which seems to be the publisher people dislike the most. I did this by writing a blog post in which I added that I would not do any editorial work for the publisher (as luck and one deliberate decision a few years ago would have it, I am not on the editorial boards of any of its journals), or, more controversially, referee for it. I had the thought that it would be good if there were a simple website where people could make similar declarations: it is easier to contemplate action against Elsevier if you know that many others are doing the same. I mentioned this thought and Tyler Neylon, a graduate student at New York University, decided to set one up... I do not see the boycott as an attempt to get Elsevier to change: it thrives because our systems for judging each other allow it to. The mathematical section of the boycott is really aimed at other mathematicians... I also hope that it will provide strong encouragement for people to set up cheaper alternatives, which takes time and work. In particular, it is extremely important for these alternatives to have high standards, so that they can quickly build up reputations to equal those of the established journals... The main reason for focusing on Elsevier is that it is a realistic first target. Very few people could feasibly withdraw their cooperation from all the major commercial publishers simultaneously, so it is better to concentrate on one to begin with, and Elsevier seems to be the most resented..."




08/16/2012, 06:08

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oa.business_models oa.publishers oa.comment oa.advocacy oa.signatures oa.petitions oa.boycotts oa.elsevier oa.libraries oa.impact oa.costs oa.quality oa.prestige oa.librarians oa.prices oa.mathematics oa.latex



Date tagged:

08/20/2012, 14:54

Date published:

02/22/2012, 17:38