MIT Faculty Boycott Elsevier Journals

Nearly twenty members of the MIT community have already signed a newly posted pledge to boycott Elsevier journals by refusing to publish, referee, or do editorial work “unless they radically change how they operate.”

The boycott was launched as a result a posting by Fields medal-winning mathematician Timothy Gowers in which he railed against Elsevier’s pricing practices and support of the Research Works Act. He suggested that a public website be created where others could join him in “refus(ing) to have anything to do with Elsevier journals from now on.”

Such a website now exists, and lists (as of the time of this writing) eighteen members of the MIT community, including Professors Scott Aaronson, Hal Abelson, Allan Adams, Hari Balakrishnan, Richard Holton, David Karger, Gerald Sussman, and Seth Teller as well graduate students Andrew Correa, John Hess, and Yarden Katz.

Professor Kai von Fintel also signed the boycott, and recently made a similar public statement on his web site.

Elsevier is one of the publishers pushing to repeal the NIH Public Access Policy through a bill, the Research Works Act and other legislation that, as the boycott website puts it: “aim(s) to restrict the free exchange of information.”