22 November 2006

Why Elsevier is Worse than Microsoft

I've sometimes made the comparison that Elsevier stands to open access in much the same way that Microsoft does to open source. But as I was reading this Evolgen post on Michael Ashburner, one of the Fly People, and a key player in keeping genomics open, I came upon this interesting link:

Reed Elsevier is a publishing company with an arms trade problem. While the bulk of their business is in scientific, medical and educational publishing, they also - through their subsidiaries Reed Exhibitions and Spearhead Exhibitions - organise arms fairs around the world. These include events in Brazil, Taiwan, the Netherlands, Singapore, and in the UK, one of largest arms fairs in the world, DSEi (Defence Systems and Equipment International), which is held bi-annually in London Docklands (next due September 2007).

The $1 trillion global trade in arms and military goods undermines human rights, fuels conflicts and causes huge civilian suffering. Arms fairs are a key part of the global arms trade, and allow arms companies to promote weapons to countries involved in, or on the brink of conflict, as well as those with terrible human rights records.

It makes Bill Gates look positively saintly in comparison. (Disclosure: I used to work for Reed Elsevier a decade and a half ago, but to my eternal shame was unaware of this side of their business if it existed then.)


Bill Hooker said...

Yeah, I've published in Elsevier journals, and probably reviewed papers for same. I can only plead ignorance and promise not to do it again.

FWIW, there are a couple of petitions available if you feel like taking a stand ('scuse the self-link).

Glyn Moody said...

Self-links are fine - heck, these are blogs....

It will be interesting to see how far and fast this information about Elsevier spreads if we all start writing about it.

Evan said...

This news is cool, although I think Elsevier do not have to be responsible for this event, but I will talk about it on my Blog...in Chinese

Glyn Moody said...

很好 - 谢谢