My comment on Stevan's remarks (with which I fully agree) is the following; Why should we expect Elsevier to behave in good faith to us when its legal obligation is not to us, researchers, but to its investors. On the contrary, we must expect bad faith and forms of behaviour aiming at destroying all elements of the OA movement not presently under the control of big, comemrcial, international, publishers such as Elsevier, Springer, etc. For Elsevier, their task is not to serve the communication of science; it is to make science serve the financial objectives of Elsevier.

Speaking of obfuscation, I just love the following one, drawn from a recent message by Ms. A. Wise (of Elsevier, of course):

" Embargoes: These are neither new, nor unique, to Elsevier.  Publishers require them because an appropriate amount of time is needed for subscription journals to deliver value to customers before the full-text becomes available for free."

Focus for a minute on the word "customers".

1. Is it appropriate to speak in terms of "customers" when the people involved are researchers who, in the process of creating knowledge, need as quick and full access to previous, validated, publications? However, the choice of vocabulary is interesting in that it reveals the relentless financial attitude that inhabits the minds of Elsevier employees: for them, obviously, scientific communication is not about science; it is about money. Sadly, I have also heard librarians speak this way, as if they had been brainwashed by the business world of scientific publishers.

2. More importantly, who are those customers of "subscription journals"?

    a. Researchers? But then it would mean that researchers would gain value from delayed access? Weird.

    b. Libraries? So, it would mean that, by placing articles at the disposal of users in a delayed fashion, these libraries would derive some benefits? Weird.

    c. Actually, the "value delivery" goes to those who own the title of the journal. Sometimes, these are associations, institutions, or even individuals. Most of the time, however, it is Elsevier itself that owns the journal and, in particular, its title (the "branding logo" that works so well with impact factors). I believe that the great majority of the journals handled by Elsevier are actually owned by Elsevier.

So, in this case, the value delivery is aimed at a very specific "customer": Elsevier itself!

Now, isn't that a nifty proposition? We want an embargo because we want more money.

Ms. Wise, you are a genius of Jesuitism. The only form of puzzlement I entertain is the following: how can this kind of Jesuitism emerge in Calvinist Holland? :-)

Ms. Wise, with Pope Francis presently in the Vatican, your next job is easy to predict. The only obstacle to this transfer might be that you do not seem to pay enough attention to poverty. Neither does Elsevier, your employer.

Ms. Wise, you behave like a mercenary, because I cannot believe you believe your own words. If you do, your situation is even worse. I truly wonder what you see when you look at yourself in a mirror!

Jean-Claude Guédon
Professeur titulaire
Littérature comparée
Université de Montréal

Le vendredi 05 juin 2015 à 13:15 -0400, Stevan Harnad a écrit :
William Gunn (Mendeley) wrote: 
“[E]verything you could post publicly and immediately before, you can do so now. There's a NEW category of author manuscript, one which now comes with Elsevier-supplied metadata specifying the license and the embargo expiration date, that is subject to the embargo. The version the author sent to the journal, even post peer-review, can be posted publicly and immediately, which wasn't always the case before…
Actually in the 2004-2012 Elsevier policy it was the case: Elsevier authors could post their post-peer-review versions publicly and immediately in their institutional repositories. This was then obfuscated by Elsevier from 2012-2014 with double-talk, and now has been formally embargoed in 2015.

Elsevier authors can, however, post their post-peer-review versions publicly and immediately on their institutional home page or blog, as well as on Arxiv or RePeC, with an immediate CC-BY-NC-ND license. That does in fact amount to the same thing as the 2004-2012 policy (in fact better, because of the license), but it is embedded in such a smoke-screen of double-talk and ambiguity that most authors and institutional OA policy-makers and repository-managers will be unable to understand and implement it. 

My main objection is to Elsevier’s smokescreen. This could all be stated and implemented so simply if Elsevier were acting in good faith. But to avoid any risk to itself, Elsevier prefers to keep research access at risk with complicated, confusing edicts.

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