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NTEU Media Release: NTEU endorses global Elsevier boycott - knowledge must be kept public

Posted 1 March 2012 by Andrew Nette (NTEU National Office)

The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) today came out in support of the global campaign to against Elsevier, one of the world’s leading publishers of academic journals, over its business practices and efforts to keep information out of the public domain.

“The Union is concerned by some of the company’s business practices, including charging high prices for subscriptions to individual journals” said NTEU President Jeannie Rea. “This means for many libraries the only realistic option is to buy very large “bundles” of journals, including many that they don’t actually want.”

“While we understand that the process of publishing and disseminating research costs money, every effort should be made to ensure research funded for by tax payers is also available to them at reasonable cost. On the evidence we are not convinced Elsevier is making these efforts.”

“In supporting the global campaign, we also want to express our opposition to Elsevier’s political support for measures aimed at curtailing access tax payer funded research.”

“This includes the Stop Online Piracy Act currently being debated in the United States, which would authorise the closure of whole sites which host a few copied works and the Protect Intellectual Property Act which would close down websites used to incidentally copy copyright works.”

The Cost of Knowledge campaign has so far seen over seven thousand researchers globally, including nearly a hundred from Australia, deny their academic labour to Elsevier, including publishing in, and refereeing and editing for Elsevier journals.

“NTEU is aware the decision to boycott is difficult for many local academics, given research funding in Australian is awarded on the basis of work published in journals judged to have the most impact.”

“We would encourage academics to explore the issues and make up their own minds as to the whether they can support the campaign.”

“I am boycotting Elsevier because of its aggressive lobbying against research funding bodies encouraging and requiring researchers to publish their findings funded by public money in digital repositories open to the public,” said Dr Gavin Moodie, Principal Policy Advisor at RMIT University and one of the Australian signatories to the boycott.

“I understand that boycotting Elsevier would severely limit some researchers careers, but those of us who can boycott Elsevier should think about doing so to improve access for everybody else.”

Details of campaign and the on-line petition:

For further information and comment:

Jeannie Rea, NTEU President: 0434 609 531

Andrew Nette, NTEU National Media Officer: 0431 217 131


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