Gavia Libraria

It should have been us

The Loon isn’t the only anti-Elsevierist out there of late, which pleases her no end. Elsevier isn’t the totality of the evil in big-pig publishing, but they’re at the root of some of the worst abuses—paying for legislators, telling outright lies they palm off on sock-puppet “advocacy” organizations, and suchlike.

No, the agitation has risen high enough that the boycott machine has ground into motion. Will it have much impact, short-term? Quite likely not; the RWA will be defeated (the Loon is comfortably confident of that, for now), the outrage will die back, and the discussion will quiet…

… for now. Until the big-pigs try another one on, which they will, because they have all the arrogance, self-righteousness, and deafness to their service base of—well, of a good many librarians of the Loon’s acquaintance (and she does not except herself from this accounting).

The Loon’s sense is that some academics weighing in on all this are hoping for (or even expecting) a classic tipping point, an immediate David-kills-Goliath win. The Loon would bet all the fish she’s ever caught that this won’t happen. The story of open access—a story those just joining the movement obviously haven’t the least clue about—is one of successive waves, small at first, climbing just a bit further up the beach each time. The latest wave is the biggest yet, but it’s not big enough to be the last.

The next wave will be bigger still. Someday, a wave will be big enough.

With respect to the boycott, though: that should have been us. That should have been us, librarians. How is it not our business to set a proper example? That should have been us.

And to that end, another editorial-board listing, for Library Collections, Acquisitions, and Technical Services. The Loon didn’t compile this one; she thanks a like-minded colleague who wishes to remain unnamed.

Please let’s join with our science colleagues. It’s time and past.

  • James Mouw, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA
  • Wendy A. Shelburne, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, USA
  • Rosann Bazirjian, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, NC, USA
  • Beau Case, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA
  • Gay Dannelly, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN, USA
  • Trisha Davis, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA
  • Julie Gammon, University of Akron, Akron, OH, USA
  • Nancy Gibbs, Duke University, Durham, NC, USA
  • Helle Lauridsen, ProQuest, Aarhus N, Denmark
  • Bonnie MacEwan, Auburn University, Auburn, AL, USA
  • Thomas Nisonger, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, USA
  • Pat Rodgers, Otto Harrassawitz, Mobile, AL, USA
  • Carlen Ruschoff, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA
  • Bruce Schatz, Ellins Park, UK
  • Karen Schmidt, Illinois Wesleyan University, Bloomington, IL, USA
  • Thomas Teper, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, USA
  • Martha Whittaker, George Washington University, Washington DC, WA, USA
  • Mary D. Wilson, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, USA

4 thoughts on “It should have been us

    1. LibraryLoon Post author

      The level of jawboning and press about it, actually, as well as the resounding defeat of SOPA and PIPA. Normally the Loon wouldn’t think that a bill so recondite could produce any sort of public response. Just now, it can.

  1. AnonymityIsTheNewWhite

    I am not surprised that this wasn’t us. For the most part libraries are push overs. That being said, there are a few librarians on that list – I’ve signed and I’ve seen a few others. My signature is not just a vote against Elsevier, it is a vote against the journal system and against the subscription access model. I am not convinced that the journal article is the one best way to disseminate research; I am not convinced that pre-publication peer review is the most effective way to vet the literature; I am not convinced that any subscription fee, regardless of the usage metrics, really represents good value for money; and I am not convinced that the publishers are adding much value for the money we are paying them.

    My signature however is mostly symbolic. I am a junior librarian I will not be asked to edit a major journal anytime soon nor with my modest publishing output so far will I be asked to referee. I will not publish in a subscription access journal from this point forward…

    1. LibraryLoon Post author

      Journals are hurting for referees; if it’s work you like, find a journal or two you’re interested in refereeing for and email the editors. The Loon’s done this; refereeing is an excellent road to improving one’s own professional-writing skill, as well as being good service generally.

      (The Loon even had the privilege of refereeing an article by one of her personal heroes. What a wonderful moment that was! She recommended it for publication because it was predictably fabulous, but she did manage to scrounge up a suggestion or two from the depths of her awestruck soul.)