Elsevier boycott

I expect you’ve already heard about the Elsevier boycott, started based on comments from Timothy Gowers. While he focused on his own discipline (mathematics), the boycott site now has people broken down by subject. On 1 Feb, there were 2700+ signatories, including 600+ mathematicians (but only 15 statisticians). There have been a couple of articles about this in the Chronicle of Higher Education: here and here.

I signed the boycott, and will refuse to review papers for Evilsevier journals, and will try to steer my coauthors away from them. (I certainly wouldn’t send my own papers to such journals, but it’s hard to control papers on which I am one lowly author among many.)

Most important to me is that the journals are expensive and publishing companies are reaping an enormous profit. The former head of the library at UW-Madison mentioned recently that they spend $4 million per year on electronic resources (books and journals), and that they are “struggling to pay that Elsevier bill”.

I prefer society-related journals. These days, my own papers all go to my favorite journal, Genetics, which is associated with the Genetics Society of America.

I looked back at my reviews of journal articles in 2011. I did 23. They were for:

I did okay. I am down on Springer and Wiley, too, in spite of the fact that I published a book with Springer (and I like many of their books), but most of the above are society or open-access journals and there’s just one Elsevier journal.

In the list of mathematics/statistics journals published by Elsevier, I only recognize Computational Statistics & Data Analysis and Journal of Statistical Planning and Inference. Genomics and Trends in Genetics are their only genetics journals that I recognize, but I didn’t look so closely. [I later realized that the American Journal of Human Genetics is published by Elsevier; that's a big one.]

In terms of my publications, looking at 2011, 2012 and in press articles, I have 13. Several of the journals were listed above: PLoS, Genome Research, BMC, Genetics/G3. In addition:

So, again, I did okay.

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2 Responses to “Elsevier boycott”

  1. Bernie Says:

    If this action reduces the impact factor of Elsevier journals will the same article be worth less because we don’t like Elsevier?

    • Karl Broman Says:

      The value of an article shouldn’t depend on the journal in which it is published, but only on its content.

      Nevertheless, it will take a long time to change the standard view, that a Nature or Science or Cell paper can be immediately perceived to be valuable.

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