Amen! The scientific journal scam has to end -- these scientific articles, funded in good part by public dollars, need to be free.
Yes, I think it is very heartening to see this.
be the start of freeing up a lot of publicly-funded research (knowledge), but I think that could be wishful thinking. From experience, I strongly doubt that it will happen. The Wikipedia entry on Elsevier
...In 2010, Elsevier reported a profit margin of 36% on revenues of $3.2 billion.
In separate discussions in the DC forum, we have probably pretty well explored the boundaries of power of the Corporation and its obligations to its stockholders. This is all about money and power. So the prospect of earning forward potential revenues amounting to many billions of dollars will likely not be abandoned easily, unless (say) some form of government anti-trust regulation kicks in, in a deliberate market restructuring.
What it might need is (say) for someone like Amazon to take a hand in disruptively restructuring the market that is Elsevier's niche. Given what Amazon has been and is doing in aggressive fashion, this is not outside the bounds of possibility, but I wouldn't care to make a guess on the probability of Amazon becoming that kind of white knight. It might be more likely that Elsevier could (say) decide to pre-empt that and diversify by buying up Amazon anyway. Who knows?
A bit of background as to why I say the above:
I have mixed feelings about Elsevier.
The company as it is today has some really interesting (to me) history. It essentially evolved out of a huge multi-national corporation called Reed International (formerly Reed Ltd., Reed Group) that acquired it years ago. I coincidentally happen to have used Reed's corporate libraries and management for information regarding its operation whilst writing a thesis (a study of the pulp and paper packaging industry and its effect on the UK economic model).
Reed incrementally evolved or "absorbed" itself into its subsidiary Elsevier.
Originally an accumulation of acquired (taken over) roofing felt and paper, pulp and packing manufacturing companies - with some pretty big manufacturing operations worldwide - Reed came to generally dominate its market sector. Because I knew how the company ticked, as the years passed I held onto my Reed stock as a large part of my investment portfolio.
Reed seemed to grow largely by acquisition and diversification. It became a humongous operation. It had diversified vertically and horizontally into newsprint (paper) manufacture and decorating products (notably the Polycell range) and a range of small publishing companies, including Elsevier.
My attention was elsewhere and I rather lost track of Reed, but I think it was largely in the '80s that they embarked on asset-stripping and selling off most of their old core pulp and paper manufacturing operations, due to them having become only marginally profitable. I gathered that product obsolescence and the market dynamics had changed. Still a stockholder, I watched as Reed's annual reports showed them progressively taking a path where they acquired and built upon (consolidated) the publishing operation called Elsevier. It seemed to me at first to be an experimental activity, until they progressively divested themselves of (sold off) the old Reed operations, becoming just Elsevier. They had found a niche with Elsevier, which I guess they planned to expand and dominate - and they did expand, and I think they do dominate it today. Scientific, Academic, Pharmaceutical research and media publishing is a big and seemingly somewhat incestuous business. The organisations involved have very deep pockets and powerfully influential (read $$$) government lobbies (QED).
The Elsevier website's "history" page is here
, but it does not really reflect any of the above, though you can get an idea of the company's impressively comprehensive market breadth and scope from their website.
Money, locked-up knowledge
, and power.