Abstract: We survey the reasons for the ongoing boycott of the publisher Elsevier. We examine Elsevier’s pricing and bundling policies, restrictions on dissemination by authors, and lapses in ethics and peer review, and we conclude with thoughts about the future of mathematical publishing.
“We announce our collective resignation from the Editorial Board of the Journal of K-Theory, effective after volume 14, at the end of 2014. We invite librarians to reconsider their subscriptions in view of the situation and we invite our colleagues to forward this letter as widely as possible. We present our sincere apologies to all authors who might be impacted by these events. We are currently working hard to minimize the fallout. A new journal, called Annals of K-Theory, is being set up. Further announcements will follow in due course….”
“We propose that editorial boards of journals ask their current publisher to agree to the principles of Fair Open Access….We propose that if a journal’s existing publisher cannot or will not meet these conditions the editorial board give notice of resignation, and transfer the journal to a publisher meeting the conditions….”
“The four editors in chief of the Journal of Algebraic Combinatorics have informed their publisher, Springer, of their intention to launch a rival open-access journal to protest the publisher’s high prices and limited accessibility. This is the latest in a string of what one observer called “editorial mutinies” over journal publishing policies….”
“An important question is whether these declarations [of independence] have had an impact on the individual title that was being boycotted. Did the decision by the editors have any impact that transformed scholarly communications as they usually claimed they desired or envisioned? One cannot deny the successes of the OA movement over the years, but what impact is this related movement having on the traditional publishing environment? The results of the “independence movement” appear mixed….”
“Although it is still a relatively rare occurrence, several journal boards have broken away from large commercial publishers. A good list is at the Open Access Directory. These journals usually are required to change their name, because the previous publisher will not relinquish it. They are cut off from the enormous support provided by large commercial publishers (after all their subscription prices are so high, the money is surely being put back into developing better infrastructure, rather than, say enriching shareholders, giving inflated honoraria to editors or paying inefficient support staff). Thus one might expect that these journals would struggle.
I looked at the fortunes of the mathematics journals that have taken this route. Below I list the original title name, the approximate date of the breakaway, the new title and publisher, and citation impact measures taken from 2014 data at eigenfactor.org, and compare them to the results for the original journal. Those measures are EF (size-dependent measure of importance) and AI (analogous to Impact Factor, but based on the same kind of reasoning as underlies PageRank – not all citations are equal). Each has a maximum value of 100. These are of course not the only measures one could use. I also list CE, the 2013 cost-effectiveness rating from journalprices.com (essentially, subscription cost per citation) – the smaller the better….
It seems clear that the new journals are doing considerably better than the old ones overall. I wonder whether the idea often touted by radical leftist OA advocates that large commercial publishers don’t add much value could have a grain of truth in it….”