Friday at Elseviergate: I reply to their "journey" explanation and give another example of serious failure

Elsevier’s VP of Product Management, Platform and Content (VPPMPC) and Director of Access and Policy  (DoAP) have published a statement “Open access – the systems journey” about their misselling of rights. They say nothing about the continuing problem of APC-paid articles wrongly behind firewalls. On reading this you might be tempted to have some sympathy for Elsevier. That’s where the captured or oppressed are tempted to bond with their oppressors. The fact that Elsevier staff are publicly visible supports the Syndrome – that’s why I refer to them by their formal position.
Elsevier deserve no sympathy. Quite the opposite – I have asked David Willetts whether there is a case for formal legal or government action.  I have asserted, and stand by:
Closed access means people die.
Remember that when you feel this doesn’t matter or it’s all a game. It isn’t. I know people who, if academic colleagues did not have access to the closed literature would have died. Every paper behind a paywall adds up. Papers which are wrongly paywalled are morally inexcusable.
Elsevier were alerted to problems TWO YEARS ago. I re-exposed serious problems SEVEN MONTHS ago. Elsevier have not fixed them. You may get the impression that they are simply buying time. But NOW is the time that you should be angry.
So here’s today’s offering from Wellcome’s spreadsheet. Wellcome paid 2262 GBP to Elsevier so that the world could see potentially valuable medical advances
PMC3477630; Clinical Radiology; Chest radiographic patterns in 75 adolescents with vertically acquired HIV infection.
I can’t read it. It’s behind a paywall. I assume it has pictures of X-Rays. But I expect it’s of value to doctors in Africa with AIDS patients – maybe they have an Xray that they’d like to compare. Maybe it’s got a recipe for taking better pictures. I don’t know.
Because it’s behind a paywall. And, assuming this isn’t a fault in Wellcome’s spreadsheet, that is MORALLY, ETHICALLY and LEGALLY unacceptable.
Please get angry. Check your APC papers published with Elsevier. If they aren’t visible mail me.

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2 Responses to Friday at Elseviergate: I reply to their "journey" explanation and give another example of serious failure

  1. Sam says:

    Thanks for all your efforts in highlighting these issues. I just tried to access this article, though, and it seems to work correctly for me. I guess they might have changed something in the meantime?

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