Friday, September 09, 2005

Arms fairs

So Elsevier, a major publisher of scientific journals, has a subsidiary which runs the worlds largest arms fair. The fairs have been found selling weapons illegally, selling illegal weapons (including banned landmines), and catering to nations which abuse their people. Of course, it's their right to do so, but it's inconsistent with the goals of many scientists, and it's simply an inappropriate pairing. I'm not claiming Elsevier is breaking any laws, I'm saying their breaking their scientific trust. has a list of things academics can do to fight back:
  1. Write to the Chairman of Elsevier, Jan Hommen, and ask him to reconsider his position: Jan Hommen, Reed Elsevier PLC, 1-3 Strand, London WC2N 5JR.
  2. Contact your union, and/or support any motions which express disaproval of Reed Elsevier.
  3. If you are member of a scientific society which produces a journal, find out who the publisher is. If it is Elsevier, find out when the contract renewal date is, and the procedure for society members to influence the decision of who that contract goes to.
  4. If you write journal papers, bear in the mind the publisher when submitting papers. Obviously you aren't going to withhold submitting a paper just because the journal is Elsevier, but if you are faced with a choice of journals, one of which is Elsevier, you could cross that journal off your list first?
  5. For your papers published in Elsevier journals, insert a line in the acknowledgements along the lines of "The author(s) note with disappointment the involvement of Elsevier with the international trade in arms"
  6. When reviewing papers bear in mind the publisher of the journal. Put those for the Elsevier journals to the bottom of the pile.

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