Expensive Journals and Elsevier

There is an interesting grass roots effort to try to bring attention to the problem of overpriced scientific journals. Considering how little publishers actually do these days, they don’t format or layout the text (especially in math journals where the author does all the work), they don’t do any editing and they certainly don’t pay for peer review, it is a wonder why journals are so expensive.

Elsevier, one of the biggest sellers of journals and certainly the most profitable, is considered to have the highest prices for journals. As a result there is now a grass roots effort to bring attention to this issue. Fields medal-winning mathematician Tim Gowers is leading the charge with a web site that allows mathematicians and scientists to register their support for an Elsevier boycott, called the thecostofknowledge.com. There is also good blog on the topic from John Baez with a growing discussion on his page. At the current time (8.17am, Jan27, 2012, PST), 811 people have signed up and that is increasing fairly rapidly (about one a minute at this time).

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