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February 05, 2004

Academia vs. Elsevier: Knockdown in Round 4

In a posting last year I wrote about how Elsevier Publishing's pricing policies have the academic world quite upset, and that there are many calls to action going around.

Last month a visible blow was dealt to Elsevier. The complete editorial board of the prestigious Journal of Algorithms resigned out of protest over Elsevier's economic model. In October of last year Donald Knuth wrote a long passionate letter to the board, recounting the history of the journal, the obligations of the board and the options available to them. Although I don't know all the details, the board did take action and resigned. The result is an en-masse transfer of the board to the ACM where a new journal with the same scope, Transactions on Algorithms, will be established.

If you enjoy reading Knuth's works, the letter to the board is absolutely worth reading. 14 pages of pure eloquence. The article by Joan Birman, which Knuth is referring to and recommends that you should read, is also available online: Scientific Publishing: A Mathematician's Viewpoint

Posted by Werner Vogels at February 5, 2004 03:35 PM