Scholars call for boycott of Elsevier over high prices and copyright maximalism [Updated]

Mega-publisher Elsevier has been garnering some negative publicity of late. Last month it was revealed that its political action group funded the re-election campaigns of Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), one of the authors of the controversial Research Works Act (H.R. 3699) that would prohibit open access to articles resulting from government-funded research. [Update: On 2/27/2012, Elsevier announced it no longer backed the Research Works Act, and the sponsoring legislators subsequently announced they will not pursue the bill further.] Now, thousands of scholars are signing an agreement to boycott Elsevier in protest of its high subscription prices, its practice of bundling journals (so libraries are forced to subscribe to titles they don’t want), and its support of restrictive legislation like SOPA, PIPA, and the Research Works Act. Although members of the library community have protested such practices by Elsevier and other large publishers for years, this marks the first occasion that members of the research community–the people who write the articles and serve as peer reviewers or editors–have taken a large-scale stand. Timothy Gowers, a prominent mathematician, wrote a blog post on January 21, 2012, in which he discussed the issues outlined above and asked, “Why can’t we just tell Elsevier that we no longer wish to publish with them?” A reader took up the challenge and created a website where scholars could register their dissatisfaction and refusal to provide free labor for Elsevier in the form of research, peer review, and editorial duties. Within its first ten days of existence, the website has collected the signatures of over 2,700 scholars worldwide. The boycott has received a lot of media attention, perhaps especially because it has grown so exponentially in such a short period of time. And many writers are asking: because scholars are both producers and consumers of research journals, do they have the ability to disrupt the scholarly publishing system and effect lasting change? Further reading:

Extensive journal content purchased through Elsevier backfiles

Good news!  The Library now provides online access to an additional 3-4 decades of scholarly research and knowledge. The online “backfiles” are now available for the following Elsevier journals in the ScienceDirect database : Nuclear Physics A  (Includes Nuclear Physics):  1956-1994 Nuclear Physics B:   1967-1994 Journal of Chromatography A:  1958-1994 Tetrahedron:  1957-1994 Physics Letters B (Includes Physics Letters):  1962-1994 Journal of Molecular Biology:  1966-1994 Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A  (Includes Nuclear Instruments; Nuclear Instruments and Methods; and Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research):  1957-1994 Journal of Mathematical Analysis and Applications: 1960-1994 Physica A (Includes Physica): 1934-1994 Experimental Cell Research:  1950-1994 Developmental Biology: 1959-1994 Journal of Alloys and Compounds (Includes Journal of Less Common Metals): 1959-1994 Discrete Mathematics: 1971-1994 This content can be found by searching individual titles in TDNet (the ejournal finder) and also by searching the ScienceDirect database.  You will also be able to link to this content when searching any of the major databases on the A-Z list  that have a “check for full text” link in the record. I hope you enjoy these resources and the new access!

Science Direct Scheduled Outage This Weekend

We’ve learned from the publisher Elsevier that ejournals in Science Direct and the search engine Scopus are expected to be offline and unavailable for approximately 9 hours on Saturday, November 13th, 2010 due to scheduled upgrades. The journals are generally high-quality, high-demand peer reviewed titles.  Downtime by region is expected to be as follows

* U.S. Eastern Standard Time (EST): 7:30AM EST – 4:30PM EST * Greenwich Mean Time (GMT): 12:30PM GMT – 9:30PM GMT * Singapore Time (SGT): 8:30PM SGT, November 13 – 5:30AM SGT, November 14

This is an exceptionally long and nearly all-day outage at a busy time of year.   Please plan accordingly and get your ScienceDirect ejournals now!

ScienceDirect Mobile App from Elsevier is Here!

Want to access full-text scientific articles from one of the world’s largest scientific, technical, and medical information providers, but not near a computer?  You can now access Elsevier ScienceDirect content on your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad with a new free app available in iTunes. The only thing you need to get started is to register on ScienceDirect.com.  You will have to do this while on campus, but after that you will be able to use the application anywhere. As part of the registration process you will need to create a username and password (different from your Northeastern username and password) and provide Elsevier with your Northeastern email address.  Your Northeastern email address is used to verify that you are a member of the Northeastern community. Try it out and let us know what you think, either here or in the comments!