Written by Andrea Peterson and posted on the Washington Post website this article discusses Elsevier’s sending of “takedown notices to the academic social media network Academia.edu, as well as to the University of Calgary, the University of California-Irvine, and Harvard University.” But more than that, it brings into focus the broader implications of Elsevier’s new hardline stance.
As Ms. Peterson points out that it is not surprising that Academia.edu would receive takedown notices. They are a for profit company that competes with Mendeley, which was purchased by Elsevier eight months ago. However, expanding the takedown notices to university websites has caught the attention of researchers and raised alarms among academic critics of Elsevier and other legacy publishers. Evidently,the offending articles were posted on “the personal pages of faculty, department, and lab class websites” which had previously been given a pass when posting articles.
Ms. Peterson goes on to discuss how the Internet and it’s instantaneous online distribution capabilities have disrupted the tradition publishing model and called into question the value of the publisher contribution. She also points to the publishers’ argument that they are “as essential to the academic publishing process as ever…” and acknowledges “their role in managing the peer review process that determines which research make it into many leading journals.” In addition, Ms. Peterson throws in a solid discussion of open access and it advocates as well as the response that the open access movement is generating from legacy publishers like Elsevier.
In discussing all of these developments, Ms Peterson’s article offers a fascinating overview of many of the challenges currently facing academic publishing. Her discussion is thorough and thought provoking and focuses on issues that we all have a stake in. They deserve our attention. In short, check out this article ASAP.