Mathematician Tim Gowers calls our attention to the moral arguments for refusing to cooperate with corporations using objectionable business practices. I’m glad he’s pointing out the ethical side of things: he gives some good arguments for when people say “I’m all for making the world a better place, but…” (they rarely finish the sentence).
The Dutch publisher Elsevier publishes many of the world’s best known mathematics journals, including Advances in Mathematics, Comptes Rendus, Discrete Mathematics, The European Journal of Combinatorics, Historia Mathematica, Journal of Algebra, Journal of Approximation Theory, Journal of Combinatorics Series A, Journal of Functional Analysis, Journal of Geometry and Physics, Journal of Mathematical Analysis and Applications, Journal of Number Theory, Topology, and Topology and its Applications. For many years, it has also been heavily criticized for its business practices. Let me briefly summarize these criticisms.
1. It charges very high prices — so far above the average that it seems quite extraordinary that they can get away with it.
2. One method that they have for getting away with it is a practice known as “bundling”, where instead of giving libraries the choice of which journals they want to subscribe to, they offer them the choice between a large collection of…
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