The editor of the Radish recently learned that many staff members from the publishing houses of John Wiley and Springer signed a declaration concerning Elsevier. The Cost of Knowledge declaration states that they “will not support any Elsevier journal unless they radically change how they operate.” This appears to be a reaction to the fact that Elsevier supports the Research Works Act.
At this moment, there are 73 staff members from both publishers consisting of assistant editors, copy editors, layout editors, marketing specialists, sales representatives and janitors. The list of signers from Springer and John Wiley is growing.
One of the assistant editors from John Wiley said “well, no shit Sherlock. Elsevier made over a billion dollars in profits last year for a rate that exceeds well over 35% of their revenue. The less money they suck from libraries means those libraries can hand over more money to John Wiley. I can’t speak for Elsevier, but it’s like we are just printing money over here.” John Wiley had a profit margin of only 42% for 2011.
A janitor from Springer said that he “was not planning on submitting any scholarly articles to Elsevier at any point in the near future” so it was not that difficult for him to make the pledge. Because he support the Open Access publishing system, he usually submits his articles on high energy physics to the arXiv, PLoS ONE or the IOP Journal of High Energy Physics. He noted that he is familiar with the Springer based OA journals, but they did not have a good outlet for his research on Chern-Simons-matter theories and M2-branes. He also noted that “the author-paid OA fees were often too much with my meager janitor wages.”