Episode 14: The Elsevier Boycott

Zach and Kelly discuss the recent boycott of the publishing group Elsevier.


Cost of Knowledge boycott sign-up page

Cost of Knowledge statement of purpose-outlines complaints against Elsevier

Research Works Act and the Federal Research Public Access Act (a competing bill)

Elsevier’s response to Cost of Knowledge petition

Elsevier published fake journals

Directory of Open Access Journals

Public Library of Science (PLoS) 

Impact Factor

Press coverage



New York Times

8 thoughts on “Episode 14: The Elsevier Boycott

  1. Kathryn

    Wow. Really informative. Thanks so much. I had only just heard about the Elsevier boycott from On the Media last week. It was great to hear about both sides of the debate. I especially liked your rebuttal to the argument that “Elsevier is just making too much profit.”

    I can’t help but wonder if there’s something profitable companies who would benefit from a successful boycott could do to help. Donations to open source journals are one thing (can you donate to an open source journal?), but they don’t help to build more publicity for the movement.

  2. Natalie Vincent

    Sometime over the weekend (or maybe a bit before that), all the little media player applets in all your pages disappeared, so I can’t play any of your episodes. Bit annoying since I listened to this episode and thought it was great, and now I can’t listen to any more. 🙁

    Oh, and thanks for the interesting podcast. My best friend is a senior climate scientist at the CSIRO (Australia’s big science organisation), and we often discuss her science… Of course, I can’t see any of the papers on the net that she can see which hampers our discussions quite a lot. We are also both into volcanoes, and I like to read papers about them and I have to wait till I can catch up with her to be able to see papers on the subject.

    Why can’t we _all_ see the amazing science that people are doing around the world?


    1. KWeinersmith Post author

      Hi, Natalie.

      Thanks for letting us know that the media player was missing. Apparently there was an error the last time we updated that plugin, and the error took the players off the site. This should be fixed now.

      Thanks for listening!


  3. Morris Keesan

    Making libraries take journals they don’t want, in order to get a
    reduced-price bundle, seems very analogous to my cable company making me
    pay for things like the Golf Channel and especially Spanish-language
    cable channels. Even though I don’t like having to pay for Spanish
    channels, I understand the cable company’s claim that there isn’t a large
    enough subscriber base to make it economically worthwhile for them to carry
    those channels, and I don’t object too much to doing my part to support
    the minority-interest programming and helping to keep it alive.

    Regarding the Merck-supported medical journals, I’m pretty sure you were
    just giving examples of the sort of thing Merck *could* have been doing,
    as examples of why there’s a conflict of interest. But if I were you, I’d
    be a little worried about Merck’s lawyers.


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