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‘Too greedy’: mass walkout at global science journal over ‘unethical’ fees

The Guardian: “Entire board resigns over actions of academic publisher whose profit margins outstrip even Google and Amazon More than 40 leading scientists have resigned en masse from the editorial board of a top science journal in protest at what they describe as the “greed” of publishing giant Elsevier. The entire academic board of the journal Neuroimage, including professors from Oxford University, King’s College London and Cardiff University resigned after Elsevier refused to reduce publication charges. Academics around the world have applauded what many hope is the start of a rebellion against the huge profit margins in academic publishing, which outstrip those made by Apple, Google and Amazon. Neuroimage, the leading publication globally for brain-imaging research, is one of many journals that are now “open access” rather than sitting behind a subscription paywall. But its charges to authors reflect its prestige, and academics now pay over £2,700 for a research paper to be published. The former editors say this is “unethical” and bears no relation to the costs involved. Professor Chris Chambers, head of brain stimulation at Cardiff University and one of the resigning team, said: “Elsevier preys on the academic community, claiming huge profits while adding little value to science.” He has urged fellow scientists to turn their backs on the Elsevier journal and submit papers to a nonprofit open-access journal which the team is setting up instead.

He told the Observer: “All Elsevier cares about is money and this will cost them a lot of money. They just got too greedy. The academic community can withdraw our consent to be exploited at any time. That time is now.”

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