Re: Interview with Derk Haank, CEO, Elsevier

From: Albert Henderson <chessNIC_at_COMPUSERVE.COM>
Date: Tue, 2 Apr 2002 14:27:05 -0500

on 2 Apr 2002 jean.claude.guedon_at_UMontreal.CA wrote:
> Let me respond in the body of the text below.
> Le 1 Avril 2002 09:58, Stevan Harnad a écrit :
> > On Mon, 1 Apr 2002, Richard Poynder wrote:
> > > interview... with Elsevier Science chairman Derk Haank...
> > > in April's Information Today:
> > >
> > >
> > >
> >
> > The interview is interesting and shows the Elsevier chairman to
> > be very reasonable, open and well-intentioned.
> I would rather say that he is clever and tries to avoid direct confrontation.
> >
> > I think that this confirms yet again that it is and always has been a
> > waste of time and energy to demonize and vilify publishers like
> > Elsevier, who really are not any better or worse than any other
> > company, but just happen to find themselves in an anomalous business,
> > with large profits but an unusual confluence of interests, including
> > conflicts of interest, in a radically changing technological setting.
> It seems to me that a company that is intent on maintaining as high a profit
> rate as it can in the context of social transactions (information largely
> produced by public money, given away by their authors, reviewed freely by
> peers, and bought by libraries or research labs with largely public money)
> has to face the fact that its legitimacy will be hotly contested. I do
> believe that the intensense barrage if criticisms levelled at Elsevier and
> other similar companies has something to do with the Elsevier Chairman and
> his apparent reasonable stance...

        The 'profit motive' argument might have some
        standing if the private research universities that
        dominate sponsored research did not sport profits
        double those reported by Elsevier and other
        publishers. These universities have cut library
        spending by half in order to inflate their financial
        hoards. Moreover, universities have $1 billion
        in patent revenue now (which they did not have
        in 1980), resulting from sponsored research. They
        deprive library users of information generated by
        the rest of the world only because they have
        become skilled at academic 3-card Monte.

Albert Henderson
Pres., Chess Combination Inc.
POB 2423 Bridgeport CT 06608-0423

Received on Wed Apr 03 2002 - 00:47:33 BST

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