Boycott Elsevier: Does your institution invest in them?

I am supporting the Boycott against Elsevier ( ) not only for the reasons given there (exorbitant prices, bundles of unwanted journals, support for SOPA/PIPA/RWA) but also because they exercise monopoly control. This monopoly is supported through restrictive contracts and cripples innovation in scholarship such as text-mining and data-mining, re-use of factual scientific information and many other necessary actions.

Elsevier’s market is based on reputation and is fragile. The CostOfKnowledge boycott was sufficiently prominent that it caused the share price to dip. Investors are clearly watching the current concern about our protests and we should be able to transmit our concerns to them. In the UK we are able to ask public bodies questions through Freedom Of Information and I am now suggesting we do this on a wide basis.

It would be very disquieting to find that any University or any public body responsible for libraries actually invested in Elsevier. That would imply a conflict between trying to reduce journal prices and benefitting from having higher ones. I am therefore asking my current University to confirm that they do not invest in Elsevier.

This is easy to do. Visit and type a brief letter (such as the one below). The University is required to respond within 20 working days. Anyone can do this (you don’t have to be a UK citizen AFAIK and you don’t have to have any connection with the institution

To: University of Cambridge
Subject: Freedom of Information request – Investments in Elsevier

Dear University of Cambridge,

I would like to know if the University or any of its subsidiary companies have any investment in Elsevier (Reed Elsevier PLC/N.V.), and if so how much.

Yours faithfully,

Peter Murray-Rust

I would urge readers of this blog to copy my action and ask other Universities to confirm that they do not invest in this way.

This type of action will also help to keep the momentum of the boycott.

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