Elsevier as a Symbol of the Greater Whole

May 27, 2014

Elsevier has recently been reviled in the academic library world for its high profit margins, political wrangling, and skyrocketing invoices. But Elsevier is really just a part of a greater issue, the crisis in academic publishing. Gowers’s Weblog dives in to the nitty gritty of the issue with his post, “Elsevier Journals – Some Facts.”

He lays out the whole controversy around Elsevier and takes a mathematical approach to whether or not the burgeoning open access movement will ever supersede the current model.

The author brings about this conclusion:

“I have come to the conclusion that if it is not possible to bring about a rapid change to the current system, then the next best thing to do, which has the advantage of being a lot easier, is to obtain as much information as possible about it. Part of the problem with trying to explain what is wrong with the system is that there are many highly relevant factual questions to which we do not yet have reliable answers.”

So what is to be done? Well, from the perspective of a librarian, the profession has to roll with the punches. Embrace open access when possible (and of high quality) but hang on to the scholarly journals that professors and students demand. There is no easy solution. We can only hope that the system moves in the direction of greater and fairer access.

Emily Rae Aldridge, May 27, 2014

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