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[BOAI] Call for Boycott of Cell Press Journals
From: Peter Suber <peters AT earlham.edu>
[Forwarding from Peter Walter and Keith Yamamoto of the University of California at San Francisco. --Peter.] Dear colleagues and friends, We are writing to ask your help with an issue that concerns scientists at all University of California campuses. In this century, we all rely on electronic access to the literature, not only for speed and convenience, but increasingly for supplementary methods and data, videos and the like. Moreover, at some sites, such as our new UCSF campus at Mission Bay, we rely exclusively on electronic access. UC has successfully negotiated contracts for almost every on-line journal. The glaring exceptions are the Cell Press titles: Cell, Molecular Cell, Developmental Cell, Cancer Cell, Immunity, Neuron. Since 1998, UC has tried without success to reach a deal with Cell Press for electronic access (1). Cell Press is owned by Elsevier, the largest science, technology and medicine journal publisher in the world, reporting 34% and 26% profits in 2001 and 2002, respectively, for its science and medicine enterprise (2). In 2002, the University of California paid Elsevier $8 million for online access to its journals, 50% of the total budget for all online journals in the UC libraries. Elsevier now seeks a new contract with annual increases several times above the consumer price index, plus an additional levy for the Cell Press titles that rapidly reaches $90,000 per year, with hefty annual increases thereafter. After exhaustive negotiation, the UC libraries, with the recent support of the UC Council of Chancellors, has declined to accept these rates. By denying institutional electronic access for the last five years, Cell Press has enjoyed a bonanza of personal subscriptions. They now cite the potential loss of personal subscriptions as the basis for setting a high institutional price. It is untenable that a publisher would de facto block access of our published work even to our immediate colleagues. Cell Press is breaking an unwritten contract with the scientific community: being a publisher of our research carries the responsibility to make our contributions publicly available at reasonable rates. As an academic community, it is time that we reassert our values. We can all think of better ways to spend our time than providing free services to support a publisher that values profit above its academic mission. We urge four unified actions until the University of California and other institutions are granted electronic access to Cell Press journals: i) decline to review manuscripts for Cell Press journals, ii) resign from Cell Press editorial boards, iii) cease to submit papers to Cell Press journals, and iv) talk widely about Elsevier and Cell Press pricing tactics and business strategies. If you agree, please let Cell Press know why you take these actions. Our goal is to effect change, but to be effective we must stand together. Peter Walter and Keith Yamamoto On behalf of the UCSF Mission Bay Governance Committee, Genentech Hall 1. <http://www.cdlib.org/news/barriers.html>http://www.cdlib.org/news/barriers.html 2. http://www.reed-elsevier.com/r-e/media/newsreleases/
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