Tag Archives: elsevier

Surveillance Publisher

Capitalized value? Personalized PDFs? DFG warning? User tracking? Forced marriage? It is incredible how scientific publishers are expanding their business. Here is a new paper

This essay develops the idea of surveillance publishing, with special attention to the example of Elsevier. A scholarly publisher can be defined as a surveillance publisher if it derives a substantial proportion of its revenue from prediction products, fueled by data extracted from researcher behavior. … The products’ purpose, moreover, is to streamline the top-down assessment and evaluation practices that have taken hold in recent decades. A final concern is that scholars will internalize an analytics mindset, one already encouraged by citation counts and impact factors.  

Sure, this already happens as some committees look only at lists of impact factor and grant sums. In the near future, they will switch to Elsevier`s “human ressources” management system Interfolio to compare candidates.

Founded in 1999, Interfolio supports over 400 higher education institutions, research funders and academic organizations in 25 countries, and over 1.7 million academic professionals and scholars. Theo Pillay, General Manager of Research Institutional Products, Elsevier, said: “Interfolio has a proven track record in supporting the academic community, thanks to its deep understanding of faculty needs, institutional workflows, research assessment and academic careers, combined with its agile technology and experienced leadership.

Back to the original article

the publishing giants have long profited off of academics and our university employers—by packaging scholars’ unpaid writing-and-editing labor only to sell it back to us as usuriously priced subscriptions or article processing charges (APCs). That’s a lucrative business that Elsevier and the others won’t give up. But they’re layering another business on top of their legacy publishing operations, in the Clarivate mold. The data trove that publishers are sitting on is, if anything, far richer than the citation graph alone.

Data is the new oil, indeed.

Ist Sci-Hub legal?

Nein, ist es nicht – so das Amtsgericht München vom 31.1.2022 mit  Az:21 O 14450/17 das aber auch sagt:

Im Übrigen wird die Klage abgewiesen.

Sci-Hub ist auch nach dem jüngsten BGH Entscheid vom 13.10.2022 Az:I ZR 111/21 nicht legal, allerdings wird auch hier der Kläger abgewiesen:

Welche Anstrengungen zur Inanspruchnahme des Betreibers der Internetseite und des Host-Providers zumutbar sind, ist eine Frage des Einzelfalls.

Ist die Benutzung von Science-Hub unmoralisch? Nutzer in Afrika oder Südamerika werden diese Frage anders beantworten, als Nutzer in Europa oder Nordamerika. Continue reading Ist Sci-Hub legal?

“How come the Muggles don’t hear the bus?”

This is a quote from Harry Potter book about the Knight Bus

The Knight Bus is a triple-decker, purple AEC Regent III RT that assists stranded individuals of the wizarding community through public transportation. It operates at a very fast speed and obstacles will jump out of its way. To hail the bus, a witch or wizard must stick their wand hand in the air in the same manner that a Muggle might do to hail a taxi. The Knight Bus’ conductor is Stan Shunpike, who greets passengers and handles baggage. It is driven by Ernie Prang.

How come the Muggles don’t hear the bus? Because they don’t look for it. Nobody looks for a bus moving at the speed that the Night Bus moves at.

U.S. science is moving at Night Bus speed when the White House issued a new policy yesterday that will require, by 2026, all federally-funded research results to be freely available to the public without delay.

This research, which changes our lives and transforms our world, is made possible by American tax dollars. And yet, these advancements are behind a paywall and out of reach for too many Americans. In too many cases, discrimination and structural inequalities – such as funding disadvantages experienced by minority-serving colleges and institutions – prevent some communities from reaping the rewards of the scientific and technological advancements they have helped to fund. Factors including race, age, disability status, geography, economic background, and gender have historically and systemically excluded some Americans from the accessing the full benefits of scientific research.  To tackle this injustice, and building on the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to advance policy that benefits all of America, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) released new policy guidance today to ensure more equitable access to federally funded research.

What about the German muggles BMBF, DFG,  the major German academies, research and ethics organizations? How come that muggles don’t hear the bus? Because they don’t look for it. Nobody looks for a bus moving at the speed that the Night Bus moves at.

I would also like to apply for the Elsevier bug bounty program

a new proposal by Ivan Oransky

Retractions must be supported as an essential part of healthy science. Sleuths should be compensated and given access to tools to improve the hunt for errors and fraud — not face ridicule, harassment and legal action. Publishers could create a cash pool to pay them, similar to the ‘bug bounties’ that reward hackers who detect flaws in computer security systems. At the same time, institutions should appropriately assess researchers who honestly aim to correct the record. Retractions should not be career killers — those correcting honest errors should be celebrated.

Information has (capitalized) value

information has (capitalized) value

libraries have seen the impact of increased corporate domination, budget shortfalls, and the corporatization of higher education. We are gouged by publishers like Elsevier who offer package subscriptions with exponentially increasing costs … Many corporate library vendors have consolidated to further ensure market power and control, a process which has often rewarded the largest companies…. While companies like Elsevier make record profits, library workers of all types face increasingly precarious work arrangements and they serve students who are anxious about affording skyrocketing tuition as well as outrageous textbook prices.

Desynchronizing peer review and publication


The Plan S open-access initiative has announced its support for newly emerging ways of producing research papers, in which peer review takes place independently from publication in journals or on platforms.

plan S is widely known for their last major announcement

on September 12, 2018, UBS confirmed a sell rating for shares in Elsevier (RELX). Elsevier stock lost 13% between August 28 and September 19, 2018 alone

so hopefully the stock market will respond again by selling out Elsevier.

The Lancet and scientific integrity

We have learned in the past that the Lancet published editorials that clearly separated the journal from the publisher Elsevier

Reed Elsevier’s response is that the sale of military equipment is legal, government supported, and tightly regulated. However, The Lancet‘s collaborations in child survival and health-systems strengthening, for example, risk being tainted by Reed Elsevier’s promotion of the “selling process” of arms.

Of course you can’t sell weapons and distance yourself from selling weapons at the same time…

Sci-Hub and Elsevier: like David and Goliath?

The publishing industry complains about Sci-Hub, the Kzakhstan website that provides free PDF access by pulling them through some .edu proxies. This is not new while the publishing industry’ protest is getting louder and louder: Continue reading Sci-Hub and Elsevier: like David and Goliath?

Allergy transplantation

A new paper in Transplantation takes up an old question – can you passively transfer asthma or allergy? It seems so – the current study reports in 5 of 42 patients elevated IgE plus allergy symptoms. This is in line with earlier reports. Sorry to say — you can get allergy also by bone marrow transplantation.


Addendum 10/6/08

A total of 16 nonallergic recipients with allergic donors were reported to develop allergic disease posttransplant, however, conclusive information was available for only 5 cases. Allergic disease was reported to abate in 3 allergic recipients with nonallergic donors, however, conclusive information was available for only 2 cases. Problems in interpreting the reports include incomplete data on allergic disease in the donor or recipient pretransplant, not knowing the denominator, and the lack of controls. In summary, review of the literature generates the hypothesis that allergic disease is transferable


Addendum 14/7/22
Ann All Asthma Immunol

Born to be write

A decade ago Karen Hunter (at that time Senior Vice President of Elsevier) did a brilliant analysis why scientists publish:

For academic scientists, the research paradigm is the experiment and the publication output is a journal article. Academic science researchers publish to establish their claim at a specific time to a specific result. They publish to gain other forms of recognition (such as promotion and tenure) that require publication. They publish in order to have independent certification of the results and to have those certified (refereed) results archived in perpetuity. Finally, they publish to communicate with those who may be interested in their works today …

She continues with another important aspect

… not the circle of cognoscenti (who do not need publication to be informed) but researchers in related fields, researchers in less well-connected institutions and students working their way into the inner ring.

In my opinion, the “claim at a specific time to a specific result” is probably the most relevant motivation for a scientist. Nevertheless having claims on ideas presented in a printed paper seems to be still a habit of the pre 1995 stone age of scientific publishing. Databases will be certainly as reliable in the future as printed paper. I guess that in 50 years the access to current electronic documents will be even better than to any printed paper. Yea, yea.