As you know, since the first day, we are advocating and promoting open science. Today, we would call you to act. We can’t stay aside. We would like to support the movement emerging among scientists worldwide.
The tipping point has arrived! The system of publishing in academia doesn’t function properly any more! Academic publishers have become the enemies of science! We should declare a war!
Every scientist wants:
- disseminate knowledge and make it easily accessible as fast as possible;
- to see validation and reproducibility of their data in other labs around the world;
- to make results of their research applicable and useful for society.
The right and proper way to accomplish these goals is an open science. The new era of open science is so inevitable, why should we wait any longer?
- saves lives;
- increase scientific visibility, productivity, collaboration and number of citations;
- allows to solve scientific controversies quickly;
- enable to develop technologies which bring the benefits to society.
Unfortunately, academic publishers are not supporting all of these necessities any more, as it was historically. They are limiting and taking serious actions against the open science and science in general. They don’t want dissemination, exchange of knowledge and translation scientific ideas to useful technologies. How do they do it? By implementing:
- Closed access to scientific literature, limiting our fundamental right;
- Charging academic libraries unbelievably high unaffordable price for subscriptions;
- Dissemination immoral “pay-per-view” system;
- Creating fake journals for sake of profit;
- Lobbying governments in order to block open science revolution;
- Sponsoring unacceptable regulations, destroying the freedom of information exchange online.
This is not a full list of academic publishers sins, which we can’t just silently observe any more. All of this about money:
The result would be an ethical disaster: preventable deaths in developing countries, and an incalculable loss for science in the USA and worldwide. The only winners would be publishing corporations such as Elsevier (£724m profits on revenues of £2b in 2010 – an astounding 36% of revenue taken as profit).
So, why we are willing to give our knowledge for free to corporations which sell it back to us? Nearly all scientific research done on taxpayer money. Why taxpayer should pay twice – to fund a significant research and to read the results? You know why:
The returns are astronomical: in the past financial year, for example, Elsevier’s operating profit margin was 36% (£724m on revenues of £2bn). They result from a stranglehold on the market. Elsevier, Springer and Wiley, who have bought up many of their competitors, now publish 42% of journal articles.
Almost everyone is Scholarly Poor. They have no access to medical articles other than paying 40 USD per day for each one. They are denied access to life-saving knowledge for the greater good of preserving the publishing industry.
Vote either for profit or for access to knowledge.
Now, the important part. We can and we should do a lot about this. We should act now:
- refuse to publish your research in “closed-access” journals;
- refuse to peer-review manuscripts for “closed-access” and overpriced journals;
- refuse to work as editors for big publishing corporations;
- support free journals with open science principles;
- precisely target journals representing non-profit scientific societies;
- refuse to publish in predatory overpriced “open access” journals;
- sign petitions online: The Cost of Knowledge and Research Without Walls;
- spread the word: re-post, email, tweet, like, share this info in any possible way. Join the movement!
Unfortunately, most of these actions can be taken only by faculty members, who have a voice in academia. But “scholarly young” (grad students and postdocs) also can act by spreading the information.
If I’m asked to referee a paper for an Elsevier journal and I am clearly an appropriate choice of referee, then refusing to do it feels like a criticism of the editor who has asked me, who may well be somebody I know. It also feels like shirking my duty and slightly letting down the authors, who may well also be people I know.
So I am not only going to refuse to have anything to do with Elsevier journals from now on, but I am saying so publicly. I am by no means the first person to do this, but the more of us there are, the more socially acceptable it becomes, and that is my main reason for writing this post.
I vow that this is the last article that I will publish to which the public cannot get access. I am boycotting locked-down journals and I’d like to ask other academics to do the same.
Academic publishers: Wake up or get out. Silencing the voices of academics is unacceptable. You’re not helping scholarship or scholars. Find a new business model or leave the journal publishing world. You may be making money now, but your profits will not continue to grow using this current approach. Furthermore, I’d bank on academics shunning you within two generations.
Dear scientists, it’s time to take actions and join the movement. Dear young scientists, you are the future. Let’s bring open science and make scientific information free and easily accessible! It’s time to wake up!