Damn the man.

image used without permission. Damn the man.

It should be no surprise that I have taken a pretty bold stance in regards to how I conduct my scholarly activities. Since I began my career in an area of librarianship that just happens to be rousing the rabble, I’ve taken on some of those characteristics. A youth spent in punk rock doesn’t hurt either.

Typically, I’d do anything to help out a colleague. I’d go out of my way to contribute to a team effort and to build/create/make something worthwhile for the field. But the line has been drawn. I was fortuitously asked to review a manuscript recently, and inspired by Heather Piwowar’s recent post Sending a Message, I jumped at the opportunity to clearly state my reasons for refusing the review.

“Respectfully, I’d prefer not to.”

Thank you very much for the invitation. Congratulations on the Editorship, I’m sure your guidance will continue to produce high quality scholarship for the journal. I am absolutely interested in the subject matter of the journal, and the title of the paper you sent is very intriguing.

However, as I am working in the area of Scholarly Communications, I hold to some pretty strict standards for the publishers that I’ll work with. I have signed on to The Cost of Knowledge boycott of Elsevier, because I strongly believe we need a scholarly communication system that works to the benefit of the authors, rather than the benefit of the publishers. I’d be very interested in working with you if I knew that your goals as an Editor of this journal were to advocate for changing the copyright transfer agreements to Licenses to Publish, and to push Elsevier to revise their policies regarding archiving in institutional repositories. Currently, their “green open access” policy is that authors can if they want to, but cannot if they have to. My colleagues at institutions with mandated open access archiving policies are therefore restricted from pursuing that as an option simply because Elsevier wants to flex its muscle in the scholarly publishing arena.

Again, I sincerely appreciate the invitation, and hope you will take my comments into consideration. We librarians, contributing our service time and our collections budgets to the scholarly publishing venture, have the opportunity and right to ask that the system evolve.

Sincerely,

Micah Vandegrift

Damn the man. Change the Empire.

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