There have been quite a few interesting developments on the Elsevier boycott front this week, so here is another update. Here is the main one, as reported by this Inside Higher Ed article:
In an apparent concession to thousands of academics who have rallied against its “exorbitantly high pricing,” the scholarly publishing juggernaut Reed Elsevier on Monday withdrew its support of the Research Works Act, a bill that would have preempted the government from mandating public access to federally funded research published by commercial publishers.
“While we continue to oppose government mandates in this area, Elsevier is withdrawing support for the Research Works Act itself,” the company said in a statement on its website. “We hope this will address some of the concerns expressed and help create a less heated and more productive climate for our ongoing discussions with research funders.”
Hours later, the sponsors of the proposed Research Works Act -- Representatives Darrell Issa, a California Republican, and Carolyn Maloney, a New York Democrat -- pronounced the bill dead.
But do read the whole article; in particular, some boycotters claim that this is not much more than a PR move. But clearly, at the very least Elsevier is acutely aware of the strong dissatisfaction with its policies among a large group of academics.
And for yet more details on what is wrong with Elsevier in particular and commercial academic publishing in general, see this post by Fields medalist Tim Gowers, one of the initiators of the boycott.