>Elsevier alleges that “one senior library official has repeatedly pointed to illegal sources of articles, including a Russia-based piracy site.”
>We are unaware of any library employee who has been directing users to illegal sources of articles. On the contrary, UC explicitly published a statement on its website, in response to questions asked by users, that states: “The UC Libraries do not endorse the use of Sci-Hub for article access.”30 As the UC Berkeley university librarian said in a published interview, “we are unequivocal: it is our understanding (though we are not attorneys!) that Sci-Hub is in violation of U.S. copyright law. We will not advise nor help anyone to use it.”
By naming Sci-hub.tw, they're basically educating people that there's a way to get articles they want but it might be less than legal than some other methods.
Ether way it's hilarious, but it would help to be clear.
I have to use their web interface every time I submit a paper to an Elsevier journal. It's like sticking needles into my eyes. It's this bad: in 2019, they still use an image map for their main menu.
A particular pleasure is when they force me to compile my TeX into a PDF. Via a web interface.
Then when I submit they'll "proofread" and "format" my paper, failing to spot existing errors, introducing their own, and outputting an ugly mess, maybe with two columns to make it really unreadable.
And then there's the stuff the article talks about: the huge fees universities pay so that our own work can be "open-access".
I hate them. I hope they go bust. I hope their CEO becomes homeless.
I hate how soulless the journals feel. Recently, I wanted to read a quite old paper as it connected to my recent research. It was published in the 60s, in a journal that has housed some extremely ground breaking work in my field. But you wouldn’t get that impression from their elsevier site. Where is the history? Where is the pride? Instead it looks just like any old rubbish journal, and any reader who stumbled upon it would think the same unless they read its history in Wikipedia.
I certainly sympathize with you!
That said, personally I'm happy about this development. Journals don't really fill a practical need anymore, and (as you point out) they increasingly don't fill an emotional, intangible one either. Perhaps then we will muster the effort to kick the entire industry to the curb.
> Recently, I wanted to read a quite old paper as it connected to my recent research. It was published in the 60s, in a journal that has housed some extremely ground breaking work in my field. But you wouldn’t get that impression from their elsevier site
The OP is describing how all journals are treated the same, despite the the fact that they are essentially mini societies, some with more important histories than others
> Readers should note that, in many jurisdictions, use of Sci-Hub may constitute copyright infringement. Users of Sci-Hub do so at their own risk. This study is not an endorsement of using Sci-Hub, and its authors and publishers accept no responsibility on behalf of readers. There is a possibility that Sci-Hub users — especially those not using privacy-enhancing services such as Tor — could have their usage history unmasked and face legal or reputational consequences.
> Sci-Hub is currently served at domains including https://sci-hub.hk, https://sci-hub.la, https://sci-hub.mn, https://sci-hub.name, https://sci-hub.tv, and https://sci-hub.tw, as well as at scihub22266oqcxt.onion
"We are not telling you to use Sci-Hub, but you can use Tor and here are some addresses where you can find it."
> Here we report that, as of March 2017, Sci-Hub’s database contains 68.9% of the 81.6 million scholarly articles registered with Crossref and 85.1% of articles published in toll access journals. For toll access articles, we find that Sci-Hub provides greater coverage than the University of Pennsylvania, a major research university in the United States.
"See, Sci-Hub works that well" :-)
Managing to have this hosted on a .gov website seems noteworthy.
Thanks for the joke praptak.
Hopefully it all gets backed up by sci-hub before that point.
If everybody agrees Elsevier is terrible, you'd think it should be easy to set up a competitor that does it better, but someone everybody still wants to get published in Elsevier's journals, and everybody still wants to read what's in them. If everybody were to just stop, Elsevier would be out of business within a month.
> If everybody were to just stop,
That's the root of all human-created hard problems on this planet; it's not exclusive to scientific publishing. People don't spontaneously coordinate. As long as it's in the short-term interest of any individual to not be the first one to stop, or to not stop when others are stopping, almost no one is going to stop.
Coordination problems (and very serious problems of information access & distribution) are why things like boycotts are in fact, however much we might wish otherwise, so laughably bad at enforcing community norms on e.g. large companies, and why the market doesn't do a great job of just "sorting out" all kinds of things most people would consider to be problems.
I think you are factually wrong and condecending in the way you express it.
One case I can bring is the vegan product market in Germany. For many years, individuals were "self-flagellating in a closet" and simply avoiding animals products and buying the alternatives that were offered. That triggered the production of more of these products, which triggered more consumption of them. Today the market is big and makes a meaningful difference. This the result of individual action without coordination by all market participants.
I don't make a claim about the relative cost of individual change. I rather call the thinking that individual cost will only be accepted if everybody changes arrogant. I've heard more than I'd like to count sentences like "If I/we change, the others still continue, so the problem won't be solved", while in fact it will be solved to the degree that I/we are causing it. Demanding that everybody changes just because you change is arrogant.
I'm not saying individual costs are negligible compared to the influence one can have with individual change. There may be good reasons to not change.
The problem's not so much that they can fail—any method can—as that they can fail with anything short of overwhelming and sustained support, that is, they can be wildly popular and still have no long-term effect at all. Better to look elsewhere—no amount of "if we'd all just do it, we could fix this!" will change that.
Again, as a personal choice, fine. As an alternative to more-effective means, no. It's not "arrogant", it's an outcome-focussed stance fitting with observed reality and current scholarship.
[EDIT] "They" being "movements mostly based on changes in personal behavior patterns, at some significant personal cost or risk"
My point is about recognizing the individual influence one has. Often that is avoided by the statement I'm criticizing.
How is that not essentially zero, in most political circumstances and for non-extraordinary individuals? That's my point.
[EDIT] and further:
> That is again a rather condescending spin you are giving to it.
I think I'm giving it a pretty fair shake by acknowledging there's any laudable purpose to actions of personal behavioral choice on large political problems. There is, but it has little to do with effecting change, if that's the part that's important.
Even when the problem is binary, the argumentative position becomes much stronger by individual change. For example, if Europe became fully carbon neutral, it's stance would be much more powerful when it comes to these questions compared to if it continued to build new coal power plants and told other countries to stop doing that.
To me it sounds like you just described a coordination problem. Can you clarify why you don't think it is?
It's always the value market which dictates what happens. Even a dictator has provide values for enough people (not necessarily its citizen) to stay in power.
Markets do love this sort of thing; this is one way of capturing customers and extracting money from them, whether they like it or not.
My point is just that you have to weight the cost: it provided tremendous value through the system of journals, while not really giving a "real" drawback since everyone in research who has ever wanted to get a given paper in the past 5 decades has been able to find it despite the locking by trying hard enough to bypass it.
i don't even understand the downvotes: i don't agree with the system and Elsevier can die but my point is just that they never were a really tangible "problem". Mostly a "1rst world problem".
If scientists write the content and other scientists review it, merely publishing the results of that process shouldn't cost that much. Elsevier is extracting a lot of value from the work of others, and locking the results of that work up.
The act of publishing does add value, but not nearly as much as the researcher and reviewer have added, and yet Elsevier takes ownership of it all, because they happen to be sitting in a position of power built on that work done by others.
not saying it's good, just that it's a fact
As it is, until Open Access journals become high impact journals, we're kind of between a rock and hard place
But there are also niches where the reality is that key people are happy as Elsevier Journal editors, and they function as gatekeepers, and for the foreseeable future the only route forward in those disciplines will be to get published in those high impact Elsevier Journals.
Because of this variation, lots of people can't do anything. It's a highly distributed problem. No amount of Computer Science professors however prestigious can change how Social Sciences do journals. And we shouldn't want it any different, even though in this case it kinda sucks.
But yeah, many scientists are paid by slow-moving bureaucratic machines that probably don't care about the issues involved and just want to see them published in old, well-established big-name journals, and not a new upstart that everybody else suddenly wants to consider more important.
The problem is that many bureaucracies attach some kind of point value to journals on this list, and a different on that list and so on. It's reforming those that is a problem, especially since according to their metrics, which are defined by counting the papers in journals in the lists, everything works perfectly.
That's irrelevant. Researchers are forced to publish in high-impact journals to preserve their career, and any newly created journal has zero impact.
Furthermore, some countries/universities enforce a journal whitelist, and evaluate the eir researchers based on the number of papers published in the pre approved list if publications.
And because those bureaucrats are often distributing public funds among those researchers, they should also have an interest in the results of that research being accessible to the public, and as many researchers as possible.
Of course, sending papers to OA journals, going the extra mile to cite them, and preferring them to non-OA alternatives when any paper will do (e.g. when you are just providing some examples of applications of X, without being exhaustive, and you can find some in OA and others in non-OA journals) does help.
They own the high IF journals, which scientists need to publish to in order to get cred'.
It's a chicken and egg problem, scientists can't move to OA journals until these provide the high IF they need to get cred' but OA journals can't get high IF without high impact articles being published in them, which requires paying Elsevier huge fees so you can publish in both.
Just like telcos, banks, internet behemoths and every other company that finds or builds a suitable set of barriers to entry.
Because researchers either publish or perish, only the work posted in established journals counts, and the likes of Elsevier controls those journals.
 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HM_nWsdbNvQ
Not having experienced homelessness myself, this still isn't something I would wish in anyone.
But noo, please for the love of money withhold the doctor that information, let him pay thousands of dollars for it, so that he will not read any of it, and let his patients suffer and die. Like they did when we were still doing bloodletting.
However, the related problem of research not being read (and the more subjective "not being worth read") is still unsolved to a large extent. My single paper on ArXiv has probably not been read and despite that my MSc reviewer commented that the work is suitable to be published (apart from the MSc) I now have a full time job outside of academia and little incentive to get the paper into a reputable journal by extensive formatting and layout changes or self-lobbying, if you will.
Fields of math are small and narrow. Emailing people and posting to forums might be easier and more effective than publishing in a journal.
I know a few researchers who have publicly committed to not publish in Elsevier journals, but there's a career cost to doing this, particularly for early career researchers. Outside of a small number of colleagues who will actually read your work, most people (including funding organizations and tenure review boards) will judge your research by how much you publish and where you publish, and Elsevier owns many of the most prestigious journals.
It varies by field, depending on how many journals Elsevier has managed to capture. I consider myself lucky that Elsevier doesn't own any of the major journals in my specialty, so I've so far been able to avoid them without feeling like I was making career sacrifices to do so.
In mathematics, most publications are single-author, and I suspect this (plus less reliance on funding to buy equipment) is an important factor why they are more successful than other disciplines fighting parasitic publishers, as established tenured professors might as well fight the fight. But for most disciplines, the lock-in is really difficult to escape...
It may or may not be hosted in Russia, but I agree it is not "Russian".
We have been recording their (dis)services here, with everyone warmly welcome to add more:
IMHO all public research funding should be conditional on full open access. If you use public funding, the research results need to be open access for anyone. I'm pretty sure that is becoming standard practice already but in so far it isn't, that should pretty much be non negotiable when getting funding or for any tax money earmarked for research.
In the 1990s, electronic access was seen as a cost reduction technique: some publishers would even provide it for free to their subscribers, others for a small fee; libraries would buy less copies of the same journal. Later, publishers offered to terminate the paper copies and replace them with electronic-only access, but libraries sensed a trap: what happens if we terminate access in the future?
By the early 2000s, most universities had learnt to include such a perpetual access clause whenever they switched to electronic-only access. (See EBLIDA advice in 2001: <http://www.eblida.org/Activities/Publication/Licensing_digit...)
All this work was not completed quickly: around 2010 I remember we (the board of directors) still had to approve some such conversions in my university. (Germany status in 2010: <https://www.mpg.de/230683/access__hosting_studie_e.pdf>.)
However, most of these clauses have never been used so far, and for some universities it's a lot of work to invoke such perpetual rights, track the back copies etc.
Not all universities have a self-hosted archival copy, either.
Elsevier currently has a margin of about 35%. That's a lot, and probably too much. But it also means they are spending 65% of revenue on something. Even assuming a decent chunk is marketing and sales, there are a few billion in that industry being spent on editing and coordination tasks.
Going from a final draft to a published, peer-reviewed paper involves quite a few menial tasks, and scientists will either need to fill those roles themselves, or someone needs to pay someone else.
This is well proven by the current alternative, Open Access journals: they charge authors fees in the high 3-digit range to cover their costs.
So, for authors, Open Access means going from providing your work for free to actually paying to publish your work. Of course the institutions will usually cover those fees, and they have exceptions for people who can't afford it (payed by those who can).
The research will then be freely available, which is great. But the changeover isn't done with setting up some CMS on some virtual server somewhere.
Much like with open-source software wasn't so much about it being free as changing the development model (you could see the source, send in patches, and have a direct discussion with the engineers who wrote that code), one of the more interesting changes is how much research progress now happens via preprints or even just blog posts. There is definitely a valuable role for journals as the gatekeepers of what research you should pay attention to and the facilitators of communication, but like account reps that insulate engineering teams from customers and help prioritize what's important, in practice they aren't working well enough any more to justify having them.
(And the implication, then, is that this work is hardly menial; you want a person actually familiar with your discipline to triage bugs or sort through preprints. And it turns out you're in a better spot to find or train up those people than the middlemen are.)
But the secret of open source is that it was the same people (or at least the same job roles) who were previously writing proprietary software. Companies just decided that it made more sense to have them collectively, collaboratively work in public on infrastructure software than to pay a single vendor for closed-source code. It's not that hobbyists are implementing core OS scheduling primitives like cgroups, it's that the professional engineers doing that are now employed directly by end users like Facebook or Google instead of by vendors like SCO or Sun.
Can they? All pieces of software that are the core part of the Linux desktop (kernel, Xorg, GNOME, Firefox, etc) are backed by big corporations.
No one is saying that we don't need talented scientists writing and reviewing papers or organizing journals. The claim is that the structure of doing this through Elsevier doesn't make sense any more.
Gee, what if open academic publishing could also work, without the likes of Elsevier?
Plus, given that when folks like Darl McBride said "He can't have written an entire OS" they were clearly not thinking about just the Linux kernel, I think there's a solid argument for counting macOS and iOS too, both of which depend on the assumption that open-source code is of comparable quality to proprietary, commercially-developed code. Everything from their core kernel to the shell to the database for storing contacts (SQLite) is code developed in ways that the McBrides of the world said was untenable. That bumps it to almost 60%.
(Don't try me, I still have my Slashdot-honed debate skills.)
Please read this in the context of the analogy: the OS is the science, the UI is typesetting/distribution/etc.
As it happens I think that's actually directly analogous to the open access fight now. Universities stick with pricy journals not because those journals provide better typesetting or distribution (or science) but because those journals are the only way to get to existing papers. If Windows had never existed until today, nobody would switch to it; similarly, if Elsevier had never existed until today, nobody would start subscribing to them.
Or servers, or mobile devices in the form of Android phones. Desktop usage is only one many use cases for Linux.
But if we look at servers, there's a ton of Linux servers out there. Might be a better metric than computers that a small subset of programmers use. Linux accounts for >30% of this share and Unix like is >60%. Those are really important.
Also a lot of embedded systems run Linux.
Either way I think we pretty much agree. Linux is everywhere. Just not big on desktops. But huge everywhere else (which has a larger share of the computing resources in the world).
The key is to get reviewers to stop reviewing articles for them. It's this that keeps them relevant. Whether the end publication is on wordpress or on medium doesn't matter much.
> they [open journals] charge authors fees in the high 3-digit range to cover their costs.
Most Elsevier journals charge an ADDITIONAL ~$1500 if you want to open access, supposedly to make up for the lost profits.
EDIT: correction, I just checked the fee for the Elsevier journal JVGR, the last one I published in. It is $2750 per article!!! https://www.elsevier.com/journals/journal-of-volcanology-and...
Oh and don't be confused by "green open access" -- that's not open access. It's just typical smarmy BS marketing. How the hell do we allow these people to be the guardians of science!?
They don't accomplish anything beyond rent-seeking and rubber-stamping. They are as bad as the MPAA and RIAA. I've published papers in Elsevier journals several times, and I'll probably have to keep doing it, because they are the landlord.
They are a major contributing factor to the really serious ignorance problem we have in this country.
Elsevier and nature charge $5000 for full open access, and not even in their top journals. Cell reports and scientific reports have high impact factor but are considered second-tier compared to Cell and Nature (The editors of the latter will redirect you to pay to submit to those open access journals if rejected)
And this is all paid with taxpayer money. Good thing that taxpayers don't know about this situation or we d have riots
Which stages are you referring to? In my experiences in CS, publishing a _conference_ paper required:
- Writing the paper using a publisher-provided LaTeX documentclass (potentially a significant portion of publisher costs went into developing this style)
- Submitting the paper, via third-party conference management systems
- Review, performed for free by other researchers
- Responding to reviews, performed by me
- Submitting a camera-ready version of the paper. The checks were mostly performed automatically (PDF metadata, page size, fonts, text size, balanced last page, page limits, margins, etc.)
- Checking of the camera-ready paper (this seems like an actual menial task performed by someone on the publishing side, although I think that this was also contracted out)
- Assembling the proceedings PDF (again, I assume this was automated, with the menial task of checking TOCs, headers, and footers)
- Attending the conference itself (I assume the most money goes into this, renting the venue, organising AV teams, large amounts of co-ordination)
It seems to me that most of the menial tasks are already automated. A lot of the menial tasks are even contracted out.
I have colleagues who go to great lengths to organise local seminar series, run workshops,
Perhaps I am missing some, or some of these are much more involved than they appear on the surface.
That means we're talking about the editors and copy editors themselves as the majority of the cost. Solve that by creating a university consortium. Instead of paying Elsevier, they pay a non-profit run at a set of universities who are responsible for a pool of editors.
Academia handles so much of this in-house already - there's nothing saying they couldn't do this as well.
There's no way to support your reasoning on even roughly estimating their costs by bootstrap deduction, without more information.
Maybe a single person could have compensation valued at 100 million dollars. Yes, it happens not to founders but to employees.
Cost of sales at a large revenue company like this is usually very high. Top performing sales people are extremely well compensated.
It's possible you've guessed correctly, I'm just saying there no reason to assume it's even roughly accurate from your premise.
The bottom line is their very existence go against the concept of maximizing shared scientific knowledge.
They also apparently consider unethical smear campaigns a standard business tactic.
Elsevier have a lot of products/services other than just publishing journals that they're trying to push. I wouldn't be surprised in most that 65% went to fund those. I suspect even Elsevier sees the writing on the wall is using the massive profits from their publishing arm to try to bootstrap other revenue sources. It's not like the journal publishing side of the business has seen any massive technical improvements over the past decade.
I understand why you would think this, but most editing is done by unpaid volunteers. They have 20,000 editors and ~8000 employees. Which means institutions are already "paying" to submit reports, with exceptions for those who can't afford it.
Proofreading -> $50 on mechanical turk (this is really just proofreading according to a list of detailed rules, they not validating the text)
Layout -> Completely useless in the internet age. In fact pasting it all in an HTML page makes it easier to read.
Submit related info to different databases -> This should not be a thing at all. It is a thing because their databases are closed-access so they submit data and metadata to paying customers. I dont even think this is covered by subscription/publication costs but from those paying customers.
So yeah, i think most ppl would be happy to pay ~$200 for their paper. It helps to weed out trolls too.
Publishers make the most of their money by publishing second/third and fourth tier journals not the first tier because in the view of academia someone having access to "Journal of the Society of Librarians" ( circulation : 320 ), and "Cell" has the same value.
Who knows if these money ends up in lobbying, manager salaries, etc?
This is all UC is trying to request:
1) Allow any and all UC research the /option/ of being published open access (by paying the requisite >$1000 fees)
--> Elsevier countered by structuring the open access ability such that only about 30% of UC's published output would be able to be open access (i.e. as before, not all journals allow for it still)
2) Allow this, without (massively) changing the total subscription fees UC pays towards the journals
--> UC actually proposed a higher subscription cost to cover the transition to open access (based on the current fees associated with open access), and Elsevier countered with a much higher fee with, as stated in (1), 2/3rds of the research not given the option of open access.
3) Allow UC libraries to help cover the cost of the open access fee that researchers must pay to allow the research to be open.
--> Elsevier countered with "that's not allowed"
TL;DR UC wants ALL Elsevier journals to allow researchers to opt into open access (rather than a small number of them as is current) and they want that option with a reasonable increase in fees to the UC system.
Not the current alternative, just one of many and not the best one: https://gitlab.com/publishing-reform/discussion/issues/96
Calling the APC "the OA model" and conveniently forgetting to mention other options has been precisely the common publishers' rhetoric feeding deliberate public confusion in trying to identify OA with APC, which needless to say, helps their business objectives.
Surely the authors do all the hard parts, make the graphs, section, maths markup, footnotes. What's left that can't be automated in almost every situation?
Things that I have seen : ( wife was a production editor, I briefly helped an EIC of a society journal that was sold to a publisher )
1. Graphs do not fit the page or space allotment - journal is uses two column format, author decided it did not apply to them. Graphs do not fit the color scheme - the author decided that the graph will be blue and the legend would be green. This is a black and white journal. Graph is a photograph of a graph, not a graph. Photo was taken on an iphone.
2. Sections went out of order. Author did not use the numbering system and numbered them by hand. Author cross referenced sections by hand, changed the ordering and did not update all of them, referring to non-existent sections.
3. Footnotes referred to non-existent papers.
4. Author included someone else's figures. Author did not obtain a permission to use them.
5. Accepted paper is written in a monospace font in WordPerfect for DOS. In 2014.
2 Is something that I have seen caught in peer review twice, and missed once. Again, it would usually go in a batch email to the authors of issues that need to be fixed before publication.
3 is definitely something that reviewers should be catching. I don't know of any journals (especially not open access) that check references for existence. Is the problem the use of footnotes? If so, I could see this legitimately requiring some manual labor / typesetting... But most journals forbid footnotes in their submission guidelines.
4 is quite rare in research articles, and again, would be handled by requesting the authors deal with it.
5. Would be grounds for paper rejection, as it breaks the submission guidelines for most journals. In addition, it seems like an exceptionally rare case.
Overall, I don't think one can justify an average of 10 hours per paper in manual labor (open access fees are always more than 1000 usd) based on these formatting issues...which issues are mostly handled by requesting fixes from the authors.
Then again, maybe your wife worked in the 1 percent of journals which actually print on paper, and carefully proofread for authors.
My background is mostly in medical engineering with journals up to IF10, though.
P.S. Average STEM paper takes about 30 hours to "produce".
Which is not to say, societies don't benefit from the system -- they actually get a lot of $$ from it. The sad part is, they only get a small part from the much bigger $$$ going to publishers.
The bottom line is: if what technies claim publishing is could be was the case then the EIC/Societies would be publishing journals themselves.
Publishers are the AWS/GC/Azures of the world. They get to collect money from those that publish papers and need papers because they provide service that the paper writers can't seem to figure out how to do themselves ( it is not very surprising - quite a few of even the well known authors of well known papers even today insist on proofs being sent to them via fax, correct those with a pen and fax back corrections ).
Sure, how can we credit someone who did the research and prepared the paper in its publish-ready form :)
> The vast majority of the journal papers require enormous amount of production editing
Absolutely! Such as introducing new errors by people with no subject understanding. :)
> that's exactly why the EICs and societies sold those journals to publishers.
They are sold to them for the very simple reason: $$$ they get from it :)
> Graphs do not fit the page ...
If any of these are not acceptable, the journal is perfectly correct to request changes from the author. Which I as author would prefer over introducing damages by people with no idea what my papers are about.
Are you a scientist hating the publishers? I have a great solution for you. Publish it on your blog. Give the journal a limited reproduction right and make them put your blog url in the abstract.
In computer science, the authors do all of this themselves already. The final pdfs me and my authors produce is what gets published.
Hearing someone is having a dispute against Elsevier is like hearing someone is fighting polymetis. I just know which side I want to see win.
The fact that no politician ever moved to destroy Elsevier destructive behavior that impairs research shows how little interest they have in scientific research.
Nothing in particular happened. You should read that article. It's good stuff coming straight from UC.
They are an evil company, through and through.
We need a hard fork. Large prestigious academic institutions should band together and decide not to publish in Elsevier journals, that’s the only way forward. Funding agencies should also be on board.
You make it sound so easy, but if it was, don't you think people will have done it already? Monopolies, vendor lock-in, lobbying, divide-and-conquer approaches, all make moving away to a better system quite difficult.
Public funding agencies should be prohibited from giving away funds and copyrights to private entities with 30%+ profit margins. I cannot understand why this is legal.
It isn’t easy for academia to help itself (for once), but it is the only viable solution imho.
That is probably the best endorsing non-endorcement I have read. It never says they discourage SciHub and suggests only SciHub is breaking copyright law.
Alexandra Elbakyan's contribution to scientific research at this stage is probably higher than any university's library.
Recognize that everyone uses it because none of the legal options are acceptable. Say it and urge a long overdue change in copyright laws.
It is abnormal that Elbakyan is the outlaw and Elsevier the respectable institution here.
This non-endorsement endorsement achieves the same goals without the above liability.
If the 10 biggest university libraries endorsed sci-hub, yeah, there could be legal repercussions but that could also move the lines much more than this timid non-endorsement endorsement.
Haven't we learned anything from Aaron Swartz?
Rather than abnormal, is an archetype by this point, given the case is viewed almost universally as a Robin Hood vs Sheriff of Nottingham kind of a thing.
A. How much money do Elsevier take from universities each year?
B. How many years will it take for Elsevier to go bankrupt without income from said universities?
C. How much money will it take to buy *all papers* from the auction at the bankruptcy of Elsevier?
Once the content is freed universities can invest their publishing money in something more worth while like open access distribution networks.
You are correct in pointing out it's a significant factor in the perpetuity of these organisations, and hopefully it's an opinion that enough boycotting will topple.
You'd think a reputation transplant would be possible if you just took the key people.
So, yes, it is possible, and it happens far too rarely, and I wish top people in their field would instigate it more often.
Only the very top has enough individual reputation that they can ignore Elsevier & co. And they still like their articles published in Science, Nature, or whatever the most prestigious journal is in their field.
Some top dogs are already boycotting Elsevier and the situation is very slowly changing, but the publishers hold a lot of leverage because of self-imposed academic incentives.
In theory that's when you would like to see politicians put an end to these practices but corruption is legal in US, so...
Truly, a fascinating business combination including science's rent seeker in chief Elsevier, a number of privacy-dubious services under the banner "Risk Analytics" - including for instance your insurer-imposed GPS car tracker, and a service dubbed "Active Insights" that "keeps track of changes in [client's] households" - and another nice looking rent seeker business, LexisNexis, which is if I understand correctly an Elsevier-like gatekeeper to law information and references.
Me: If we stop bitching and start the project to do X, in a couple of years we would be able to do X and the reason for bitching would become irrelevant
Him: You think it would take two years for them to fix it?
Me: I don't know, but I know that it would take us a year to do it ourselves without impacting the rest so in two years we should definitely solve this problem.
Him: Two years is a lot. We have other things that we would be doing
<two years later>
Him: It is so annoying this is still happening
Me: Remember how I said we should do it two years ago? Let's start it now. In two years we...
Him: You really think it will take two years to do it?
The reality is that Elsevier/T&F/Springer etc are providing service that no one bitching about them wants to do.
Journals are just a collection of papers, elected by EIC, produced and owned ( in case the copyright is transferred to the owners of the journal produced for free ) or just produced ( for a fee, in case copyright is not transferred ) and formatted and printed and hosted. EIC gets an honorarium, gets invited to the conferences, events, gets his or her name on a cred sheet, gets to be on panels, etc. for doing pretty much nothing. If the journal is not owned by Elsevier/T&F/Springer/etc the EIC has to a lot more -- especially for journals that have nearly no circulation that still publish 4-6 times a year.
UC and other organizations have more than enough resources to do it themselves. Sometimes they do. Those are called society journals. After a few years of running them societies typically sell them off ( sometimes for $1.00 ) to the likes of Elsevier/T&F/Springer etc. They do it because production is not sexy.
I'm friends with one EIC and a few associate editors and I can assure you they do a LOT of work. The EIC in particular, it's like a full-time job, and that's for a fairly obscure journal. It takes a lot of effort to do the initial evaluation of any given submission, just to initially figure out which associate editor to assign it to. Springer pays her a tiny stipend to cover things like personal printing costs. Think something like $100/month (don't know the exact number but it's around there).
They're not. Elsevier doesn't produce the research. They filter it to give you the good bits.
Historically, the value they've provided is 1) to ensure quality (i.e. guarantee readers not just any crank can publish a paper and waste your time, guarantee authors that you'll be published alongside good stuff, so people are less likely to skip over your work), 2) to coordinate operations (recruit authors, recruit appropriate reviewers, negotiate with printers, general SG&A), 3) manage physical printing and distribution.
Arguably, 3 is now somewhat commoditized because distribution is mostly online. Costs have been driven down on 2 because of a glut of PhD's and the general demand for prestige signalling in academia.
I'm genuinely not sure how relevant 1 is. I could imagine either that it's entirely replicable because 2 is now cheap, or that it's the kind of thing you don't know you care about til it's gone the way no one ever said "I love that my local store only sells genuine and high quality goods," but now people complain about how it's tough to know what you're getting from Amazon.
Have there been experiments in yet other, more decentralized models of academic publishing? Think something like Arxiv but with more features for discussion/review/endorsments by other researchers in the field, maybe?
"Would you buy the world a drink?" - is there merit to Elsevier logic?
Are they actually mad and retarded.