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I don't have time to write or think in any detail about this at the moment but brief responses to Elsevier withdrawing support for the Research Works Act.

1. The bill is dead. Essentially no-one else was supporting this bill. The AAP was working closely with senior Elsevier people and there was essentially zero engagement from anyone else. Apart from the Ecological Society of Amercia, no other AAP member or any other publishers supported the bill. For Elsevier to back down a deal must have been done to allow Maloney and Issa to save face.

2. This is a backdown, not a change of heart. The statement says very clearly that Elsevier will continue to oppose mandates. They distinguish at some level between government mandates and "working with funders" but Elsevier's current practice is to consistently make life difficult and/or expensive wherever a mandate is applied, whether by government, funder, or by an institution. Senior Management at Elsevier believe that this is a principled position. I believe that is wrong-headed and tactically and strategically inept, but it seems unlikely that the position is likely to shift.

3. With no change of heart there will be no swing behind FRPAA. This is a tactical withdrawal to enable a more coherent publisher coalition to be built to oppose FRPAA. The AAP will do so strongly, along (probably) with Springer, Wiley-Blackwell, and a range of society publishers. Key questions are which way will Nature Publishing Group and the AAAS come out given they have given strong support to the NIH mandate. Remember that Issa is chair of the committee where FRPAA is currently lodged.

4. Shifting from a negative campaign against something towards something positive will be hard. FRPAA should be a major target for support and a means of bringing the coalition closer together. In the UK the Finch report provides an opportunity for the significantly grown OA community to demand that its voice be heard. And in the moves towards Horizon 2020 in Europe and the development and implementation of policy for that there are also large opportunities. Time to move on from what we oppose to what we support - and to articulate clearly both what that is, and how we get there from here.
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Joseph Kraus's profile photoBen Toth's profile photoBjörn Brembs's profile photo
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In these two months of stalling, Elsevier made about 167 million in profits (for the 40k they spent on politicians). They can go on slowing us down like that almost indefinitely, if all we ever do is signing boycotts...
 
Just a question of when really - it would have been even more embarrassing to have been backing a bill that wasn't passed
 
I am going to continue to judge Elsevier based on their actions, not on what they say or what they look like. For example, I noticed they have a little orange OA symbol on their journal homepages such as http://www.journals.elsevier.com/composites-science-and-technology/, I think that is new. It is good that they felt some pressure from their authoring and reviewing community, but they still have not gotten the message. Will they ever?
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