Impact of the Elsevier boycott

After 7 months

Seven months ago, I signed the Elsevier boycott at What impact has this had? So far, I’ve

  • Submitted 2 manuscripts to SIAM journals that would otherwise have gone to Elsevier journals
  • Declined to referee 3 manuscripts from Elsevier journals

If every signee had a similar impact (admittedly, that’s a very optimistic view), that would be more than 24,000 journal articles effectively pulled from Elsevier journals and published elsewhere. Which might be a good thing for the editors, since they’d be having a difficult time finding qualified referees in the communities where the boycott has been adopted.

It will be impossible to quantify my impact going forward, since I now automatically rule out Elsevier journals when planning a new paper, and since I’ve asked editors to remove me from their list of potential referees.

Some people I’ve met seem to have the perception that the boycotters are deeply angry people who spend their time muttering curses at commercial publishers. That simply isn’t the case, and anyone who has read the documents that helped launch the boycott must know that. When I refuse to referee for Elsevier journals, I do so politely and I always suggest alternate reviewers to the editor. In every case the editor has been equally polite and understanding.