For three years I’ve been part of the “Cost of Knowledge” boycott, declining all requests to referee manuscripts for Elsevier journals. Their extortionate sales tactics extracted 826 million pounds profit last year, 39% of their gross income. Of course, Elsevier defends itself, producing statistics to show they are a public-spirited company whose only aim is (I quote their web site) to “enhance the performance of science, health, and technology professionals”.
Well, here is perhaps a hint of how much faith we can put in Elsevier’s statistics. I received an invitation recently, in fact two invitations, to a party at the Joint Mathematics Meetings:
“As a valued Referee for our journals in Mathematics and Statistics, we would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your efforts…. We are organizing a Referee Reception at the forthcoming Joint Mathematics Meeting,… where you will have the opportunity to meet and share ideas with fellow referees….”
So I am a “valued Referee”! — in fact, very likely, two of them. And I’m not alone. Tim Gowers, initiator of the boycott, also got an invitation.
[22 January 2015]