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Reed Elsevier Fading . . .
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- Date: Wed, 17 Dec 2003 18:47:08 EST
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(Forwarded from ACRL Scholarly Communication list) -------- Original Message -------- Subject: Reed Elsevier at risk Date: Tue, 16 Dec 2003 13:29:28 -0500 From: Ray English <Ray.English@oberlin.edu> To: "ACRL Scholarly Communication T.F." <SCHOLCOMM@ala.org> To see this story with its related links on the Guardian Unlimited site, go to http://www.guardian.co.uk Reed Elsevier at risk as MPs look into science publishing market By Richard Wray Thursday December 11 2003 The Guardian Reed Elsevier faces a serious challenge to one of its main revenue drivers as a committee of MPs prepares to investigate the growing academic backlash against scientific publishing - a market worth more than 4.5bn a year. The Anglo-Dutch media company is the world's largest publisher of scientific journals, churning out more than 1,200 every year, roughly twice the number of its nearest competitor. Over the past year American academics have become increasingly dissatisfied with companies that profit from the publication of academic papers, even calling for a boycott of some Reed companies. That dissatisfaction has migrated across the Atlantic. Increasingly, universities are reluctant to pay the large fees demanded by publishers and are turning to so-called open access journals, where the costs of publication are paid by the authors. Yesterday the House of Commons science and technology committee said it planned to conduct an inquiry into scientific publications early in the new year. The committee will look at access to journals, with particular reference to price and availability. Specifically the committee will ask about the importance of open-access journals and whether the government should support the trend towards free scientific information. Such a move could spell disaster for Reed Elsevier. With their high margins, Reed's science and legal publishing operations are currently supporting its weaker business to business and education operations. The chairman of the committee, Ian Gibson MP - a former academic himself - said he was a staunch believer in the idea that "public funded research should be freely available to everybody to see it". Known as something of a Labour rebel Mr Gibson added: "Who knows, we may need a public-private partnership - which would certainly endear me to the current administration." One of the largest moves towards open access so far is the establishment of the United States Public Library of Science, a non-profit organisation backed by a Nobel prize winner and an American charity. In the past two years more than 30,000 scientists in 180 countries have pledged their support to the PLoS. In Britain, Biomed Central has published more than 90 journals. In the past, Reed and other publishers have made it plain they do not think that open access will thrive because it is neither economically sustainable nor a more efficient way of publishing scientific journals. Copyright Guardian Newspapers Limited ---
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