01 June 2007

Reed-Elsevier to Pull Out of Arms Fairs

Well, since I've criticised my old employer Reed-Elsevier in the past for having blood on its corporate hands through its involvement in the shame that is the arms trade, it's only fair that I should point out and applaud the following news:

Reed said earlier it would sever its ties to arms fairs, bowing to pressure which included complaints from customers, shareholders and academics writing for its major titles.

What's interesting, of course, is that this is as a direct result of cumulative pressure applied from all sorts of quarters. See, o ye sceptics, this people-based stuff can work.


weaverluke said...

About time they did!

Incidentally, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on the drivers and blockers for the emergence of an open and distributed alternative to the current, centralised peer reviewed academic journal system that has been commercially exploited so effectively by R-E and others.

I've heard of various initiatives around this area, but I'm not sure any of them have yet managed to find a business model that can challenge the incumbents? The trouble is, of course, that R-E are in a hugely powerful gatekeeper position at the influential journals that all the academics want to get into, and this presents would-be competitors with a classic Innovator's Dilemma...

glyn moody said...

Open access is a fascinating area. You might find this comparison between open access and open source interesting:

It also has links to perhaps the two best-known OA publishers, BioMed Central and Public Library of Science. As far as I can tell, the former is pretty much covering its costs these days; PLoS is still trying to get the numbers to work.

You mention centralised peer review: it's important to note that most OA titles keep a peer review system, since that's the way science publishing works. However, the big difference is that there are no publisher fat-cats involved in the process.

The best place to track OA is Peter Suber's Open Access News