While complaints about the commercialization of scholarly research publication have been common to academics and librarians (for generations), Elsevier’s recent support for U.S. SOPA, PIPA and Research Works Act legislation has crystallized some of the opposition that has otherwise been circulating around the internet since at least 1997. In short, the boycott is on.
It’s good to see researchers actively seeking open publication and distribution models. The more libraries can do to provide institutional support for open repositories and platforms, the more likely these are to succeed. What is interesting to me is seeing how the complaints about journal cost were really just one aspect of a larger struggle over control of access, researchers inherently wanting the most open terms and commercial publishers building increasingly restrictive ones. If you think “academic publishers have become the enemies of science,” well, you’re not alone.