A report from Inside Higher Education chronicles the latest skirmish in the struggle between open access proponents and Elsevier. The editors and all 31 editorial board members of leading linguistics learned journal Lingua have apparently resigned en masse after Elsevier failed to respond to their objections to its pricing regime and refusal to put the journal on a free open access footing. The news has already been picked up by Fortune and elsewhere.
The editorial team reportedly plans to launch a competing open access publication called Glossa as soon as their non-compete agreements expire. Lingua does support Elsevier’s version of open access, but under this, “an open access publication fee is payable by authors or their research funder.”
This certainly isn’t Elsevier’s first run-in with the open access movement and other developments which it sees encroaching on its revenue streams. From issuing takedown notices to academics who posted their work online, to support for the “Research Works Act,” which could have circumscribed the scope of open access, Elsevier rarely seems to miss a chance to caricature itself as the gouging greedy publisher. And given the outcry among the highly connected, articulate, and very outspoken academic community about such practices, you wonder how long Elsevier can get away with it. After all, paying publication fees to a journal hemorrhaging credibility does not sound like an attractive proposition.