Didier Pelaprat (INSERM, France) wrote recently an open message to Alicia Wise (Elsevier) on the Open Access Forum GOAL. It is so right to the point, so much in line with what I think and so much better written than I could have, that I cannot resist republishing large excerpts here (it is called ‘reuse’… Thanks, Didier).

« Alicia, […]

Elsevier makes profit on scientific publishing. Big profit. Normal: they are not a charity.
Elsevier is a very dynamic company, which perfectly knows how to react in order to maintain and increase profit.
As a very dynamic and reactive company, Elsevier succeeded, for years, to reorient, invest, develop and diversify activities, in order to find revenues in other sectors whenever the income in some others did decrease.

For Elsevier as for any company, « commercial » ones as well as some of the so-called « non profit » ones which do it:

– compelling the authors to sign that they reserve the exclusivity to the company, as if they had written a novel and been paid for that;
– compelling the authors to sign that they transfer all their patrimonial rights to the company for eternity;
– imposing embargoes;
– imposing APCs up to 5.000 $ (in addition to the « normal » page charges in hybrid journals),

means that the company decided to make, maintain, and increase profit on the publication of the scientific work, at the expense of the missions, the fund availability and the interests of the scientific community and the institutions which employ them, i.e. at the expense of the gain which can be brought by science to the whole society.

Tell me that. I will trust it and, even if I do not find that [this] decision is in accordance with what I consider to be the social role of a company, I will respect you in having said that.

But never call us « partner ».

And never try to tell me that you did it for our benefit.
Lying does [not] belong to the elements that make a relationship […] fruitful and sustainable between social actors.

There is a quebecois term I find very illustrative of this kind of behavior: « enfirouaper  » (in fur wrapped).
I hate feeling that somebody tries to m’enfirouaper.
I positively hate it.

Didier »