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Here is what the investment firm Exane Paribas has to say about the Elsevier boycott. I believe the second paragraph is bullshit when it comes to "scientists' improving perception of Elsevier" or scientists "boycotting" the boycott. It's quite likely that the current boycott will not hurt Elsevier's bottom line, but the real point is not to punish it economically, but to declare our emancipation from doing unpaid work for free and then buying it back at high prices. Still, it's interesting to see that we made its share prices drop.

Please find our 8 page report on Reed Elsevier released this morning. We argue that:

Noise around boycott against Elsevier offers short term trading opportunity

Reed Elsevier was the worst performing media stock last week. We believe this is due to investor concerns on the back of T. Gowers' petition to boycott publishing and refereeing in Elsevier's journals. We believe the share price reaction was overdone and recommend buying the shares.

Scientists are boycotting the boycott

Similar petitions in favour of Open Access were organised in 2000 and 2007, with no impact on Elsevier's fundamentals. Our tracking not only shows that this latest petition lags behind the two preceding ones but also suggests that its momentum is slowing. Fewer than 5,000 scientists have signed up, whereas Elsevier works with more than 6m scientists worldwide. The low take-up of this petition is a sign of the scientific community's improving perception of Elsevier.

Open Access unlikely to hurt financials in the medium term and is priced in

The proportion of Open Access is growing at less than 1% pa. Elsevier's contract lengths are getting longer and the company's growth efforts are focused on new products rather than pricing. Open Access is unlikely to hurt Elsevier in the next five years and the longer term risk is more than priced in, in our view.

Results are due on 16 February

We expect EPS11e of 47p, slightly ahead of the consensus 46p, and an outlook supportive of the group's defensive growth profile and improved fundamentals. The announcement of a new CFO and a possible share buyback could be two additional positives. Reed Elsevier PLC trades on EV/EBIT12e of 8.8x. It offers defensive growth at a reasonable price. We remain buyers of the stock on the current share price weakness.
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This part amuses me: "The low take-up of this petition is a sign of the scientific community's improving perception of Elsevier." I know that the petition is pretty much talk of the town around here, so even if people aren't signing, they are actively reconsidering whether to publish their work with Elsevier. That kind of thing isn't so well reflected in the number of signatories on a petition, so much as how widely/rapidly links to that petition are shared.
 
+John Baez (1) Numbers are nothing. This is silly. What matters are opinion leaders like you. Others will follow. (2) I am not a fan of the boycott because it is a negative initiative. I prefer positives. If you, John, posted a public notice saying, for example, "from now on, I only publish in open access journals" and if +Timothy Gowers did the same, and if it spread... not among silly people... but grade-A researchers... then it would have a strong impact... (I don't like negative initiatives because they focus on the wrong end of the problem. Elsevier is not the problem. The researchers are. You want to change the behavior of the researchers. We should not care about Elsevier... they are not our problem.)
 
There's a splendid irony in the idea that people see the boycott as an opportunity to make money ...
 
+Daniel Lemire - All my papers are publicly available for free on the arXiv: that's a rule of mine. In fact, these days I do most of my research on my blog Azimuth, so people can see it in progress and comment on it - I find this tremendously liberating and helpful.

Going further and saying I'll only publish in open-access journals is hard, because there aren't good journals of this type in every field I publish in. In category theory I only publish in Theory and Applications of Categories, which is open-access with no author fee, and a very good journal. In mathematical physics I used to happily publish in Advances in Theoretical and Mathematical Physics, which used to be open access. Then they stopped being open-access! I still publish there sometimes, though less happily, because the alternatives seem worse. When writing papers with grad students I sometimes feel compelled to publish in the more prestigious Communications in Mathematical Physics, for the sake of their careers - even though it's run by Springer, who are almost as bad as Elsevier. Recently I published a paper about entropy in the journal Entropy, which is open-access but has an author fee (which, ahem, I still owe them).

And so on. It's a complicated mess. I try to do as well as I can, but I'm not sure what sort of simple pledge I could live up to.
 
This may be of interest: BOIA <http://www.soros.org/openaccess/read> (Budapest Open Access Initiative).

(Richard Stallman stated in email though that we should drop the term "open access publishing", and talk about "redistributable publishing" or "free-to-copy publishing".)
 
+Daniel Lemire I agree that researchers are the problem. I see the Elsevier boycott not as a way of changing Elsevier but as a way of energizing researchers to take the necessary measures to rid ourselves of our dependence on the big commercial publishers.
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