I first learned a couple days ago (via Jukka Suomela on Google+) that Elsevier has started sending takedown notices to individual researchers and the universities that employ them for putting copies of journal articles on their websites. Now I learn that the madness has spread to my own university (and to Harvard). Presumably, the issue is that the copies that the researchers put up were the final published journal versions, but still.

Free access to my works is much more important to me than their imprimatur. If I wasn't already boycotting Elsevier, this would certainly be enough by itself to make me want to. By this move, Elsevier has shown that it views itself only as a predator of, and not a part of, the academic research community.

In computational geometry, we're still supporting an Elsevier journal, Computational Geometry: Theory and Applications, by having officially endorsed special issues in it for conferences including SoCG and CCCG. I think it's time to stop doing that.



They have at least clarified that authors are permitted to publish preprints -- although clearly they are viewing that as "because we are being an approximation of reasonable in our requirements, it is appropriate for us to go after people who step outside those bounds."

I think this is still better than the situation I remember 10 years ago, which I recall as basically being that putting any copies (even preprints) was prohibited by the assignment-of-copyright contracts, and that a close reading would indicate that if you'd already sent a preprint to a preprint server with permission for them to republish it, you no longer had the exclusive rights you would need to assign to the publisher in order to sign their copyright-assignment paperwork. And so there was general ignoring of those contracts.

But "better" is not necessarily "good".


Just for completeness, what's a good list of strong non-Elsevier, non-Springer journals in TCS? And what if you want to go all the way to open access?

I've seen the giant list of open access journals, but that's too generous, and only lists whether a journal is junk/fraud or not.

Wikipedia lists some journals, but the only one in the right area seems to be Theory of Computing.


I don't have any particular complaints against Springer, as far as commercial publishers go. Their LNCS series has been helpful for a lot of conferences, and their computational geometry journal, DCG, is still I believe the top of its field. SIAM J. Computing, J. ACM, and ACM Trans. Algorithms are strong and are published by societies that I believe have the interests of their members at heart (not that I agree with everything they do) but are not open access.

"Open access" is a broad term but the model I favor is the diamond open access one, in which academics run journals for other academics as a service on a shoestring budget (possibly with some grant or other institutional support) and charge neither authors nor readers. I've published in and am happy with the Journal of Computational Geometry, Journal of Graph Algorithms and Applications, and Electronic Journal of Combinatorics. Others that I think fit this model include the Chicago Journal of Theoretical Computer Science, Theory of Computing, and Discrete Mathematics & Theoretical Computer Science. Probably there are more I'm missing.


A year or two back I agreed to have a paper in CGTA (despite my boycot) because it was invited to the special issue, and my coauthor was a graduate student/postdoc, and I felt there was a benefit to "special issue" on his CV. This is not going to happen again.


Yes, I have one in press for basically the same reason (junior faculty rather than student/postdoc). I argued against it and will be more firm on the same issue next time. But I would prefer to not be putting people into this sort of bind.