Pull quote: “Boycotts and start-ups can fail. Whether you call it an Academic Spring or something else, it looks to me like we’ve reached the point where it won’t ultimately matter if some of them do fail. You can lock up content, but you can’t close up a scholarly culture that’s more and more interested in openness. That culture won’t be satisfied with just being told that copyright is good and piracy is bad. Publishers, how will you adapt?”

Pull quote: “What is the underlying problem? Simply that the research community can no longer afford to pay the costs of publishing its research in the traditional manner. While OA may change the way in which research papers are distributed (whether by means of publishing in a subscription journal and then self-archiving a copy on the Web, or by paying to publish in an OA journal), it does not change the fundamental publishing model, including the utilisation of the costly process of pre-publication peer review. This suggests that even if there is no evidence that mandates are causing mass cancellation today, cancellations seem inevitable in the long term if nothing changes. However, these cancellations would likely not be a consequence of self-archiving, but of the mismatch between falling university budgets and the rising number of papers researchers want to publish. The latter figure is growing at around 6% to 7% per annum, and shows no signs of falling off.”

Pull quote: “Will this allow Elsevier to regain face with boycotters? The Loon rather doubts it. It might have done once, but because The Cost of Knowledge has three parts to its manifesto, boycotters have been introduced to more about Elsevier than just its shady dealings with legislators. Boycotters will see this move for what it is: a sop to the wolves.”

Pull quote: “But after World War II, it was recognised that scholarly communication was a viable commercial product and commercial publishers made attractive offers to scholarly societies to sell their journals so they wouldn’t have to worry about the costs of the distribution, editorial communication and co-ordination any more. But now with the Internet, the costs of distribution and co-ordination have come down to almost zero, which is why this act is in place: to prevent scholars from building new systems of ‘network dissemination.’”

"On Tuesday, February 28, at 12:00 PM in Columbia University’s Faculty House Presidential Rooms 2 & 3, join us for “Protests, Petitions and Publishing: Widening Access to Research in 2012” to discuss how Occupy Wall Street, the Research Works Act (RWA), the boycott of Elsevier journals by a growing number of academics, and other recent developments are informing the debate over access to research and scholarship. The event is free and open to the public."

Pull quote: “In the internet age, Elsevier is doing an unbelievably shitty job of accomplishing its ONE AND ONLY PURPOSE: to distribute our work as broadly as possible See now why we, as customers, are unhappy? You’re distributing our work to a really small audience, and you’re making even that access irritating and painful. Don’t patronize us by telling us how you are ‘committed to universal access’. If you were genuinely committed to universal access, you’d make things universally accessible.”

Pull quote: “All of this leads me to wonder why on earth librarians continue to perpetuate the very system that we have been scolding scholars about for years. Many of our scholarly journals are published by the very corporations that supported the Research Works Act and which will continue to do what they can to maximize profits, which means making research in librarianship unavailable to many. Either we believe in open access, or we’re okay with the enclosure of knowledge. To preach open access without practicing it is baffling to me.”

Pull quote: “But amidst all this richly deserved opprobrium, we must not forget that Elsevier are in a position to behave so poorly because we let them. Publishers control the paywalls that restrict access to the scientific literature. But individual researchers control the fate of their own papers. And the only reason a paywall ever stands between anyone and a paper they want to read is because its authors chose to put it there. The scientific community could decide tomorrow to eliminate restrictions on access to the research literature. But, because of a complex stew of narrow self-interest, vanity, laziness and tradition, the majority of scientists continue to feed the beast – unwilling to act on their own to change a system they know is wrong.”

Pull quote: “‘One thing is for sure, [Heather] Joseph told PW, ‘the nature of the conversation on the [public access] issue has changed. The RWA debacle has helped to engage researchers on this issue in droves, so we’re seeing a more substantive discussion of how opening up access to this information helps scientists do their work.’”

Pull quote: “Publishers have contempt for the authors they need to write works, and the readers they need to read works. Publishers are scared that the internet is going to disintermediate their asses into the dustbin of history, and the best response that many of them have come up with is to express their fear through hatred.”

Pull quote: “Like it or not, legislation is often written by lawyers - both Congresscritters and legal people on their staffs - and lawyers often testify to Congress about bills that are under consideration. If more of the legal community can be motivated to understand and oppose bad legislation, particularly in an era when too many in Congress freely admit they don’t use and don’t understand the Internet, then this sort of advocacy is sorely needed.”

Pull quote: “Let’s shift the conversation and focus our energy on legislation that improves access to the public (i.e. taxpayers). Today’s (re)introduction of FRPAA legislation is a positive and welcome addition to improving access to federally funded research.”

Pull quote: “The budding protest movement could benefit from a clear set of demands. One should be opposition to the Research Works Act. Another should be to insist on an end to publishers’ practice of cloaking contracts with libraries in confidentiality agreements, which hides the costs from public scrutiny.”