Why I’m leaving the American Sociological Association – Family Inequality

“ASA is inequitable. The greatest source of income for the association is publications, which is mostly subscriptions to journals paid by academic libraries, which are being bled dry by profit-making publishers that ASA organizes academic labor to subsidize with free content and editorial services. This is a wealth transfer from poorer, teaching-intensive libraries to richer, research-intensive libraries. ASA could publish its journals at much lower cost, and make them open access, but the association wants the money. People say open access will cost cash-strapped authors more, and claim this model is good for scholars at less prestigious universities, but they’re wrong. Publication in ASA journals is overwhelmingly dominated by elite institutions, and they should be paying for it. Instead, ASA has more than doubled subscription fees in the last 8 years….

ASA opposes open access. The association has had many years to consider alternative publishing models, and it simply never has. The leadership signed a new 7-year contract with the for-profit publisher Sage in 2018, with no substantive discussion with the membership and no advance notification. The Sage paywall and subscriptions from broke academic libraries are the association’s lifeblood. To pacify open access advocates, Sage gave ASA Socius, the open access journal, which is great — even though it’s subsidized by the association’s immoral business model, I like it and publish in it (and I will continue to, even though I will have to pay more when my membership expires). This is part of a broad strategy by legacy publishers to undermine fundamental change in the industry.


In 2019 the association leadership and staff signed a letter to the White House voicing opposition to the open distribution of federally-funded science reports. I organized a petition against it. More than 200 people signed, including many members. The Publications Committee managed to pass a resolution stating our opposition to the letter and urging the ASA Council to take up the issue — which the Council ignored.

ASA opposes open science. A number of members of the Publications Committee spent several years trying to get the association’s journals to adopt several versions of a simple policy to notify readers of whether published work including access to research materials, such as data, questionnaires, and statistical code (detailed here). After two subcommittees eventually produced an extremely moderate policy, the Council rejected it. Last I checked, only 1-in-6 articles in American Sociological Review meet minimal standards of research transparency….”


Changing the philosophy, direction, and the governance of The Breast Journal as it moves towards becoming an “Open Access” journal in 2022 – Masood – – The Breast Journal – Wiley Online Library

Not even an abstract is OA. Excerpt from the paywalled text: 

“The conversation about transitioning The Breast Journal to an “Open Access” status was difficult for me to consider. Based on my assessment, The Breast Journal was an independent publication and despite not being a society?based journal, it was doing fine and I was not prepared to change the status of The Breast Journal. I understood the financial impact for the publisher and also the claim of making publications more accessible to all.

However, I choose to stand for my principles and not to become a part of the process that to me is lesser than what I had envisioned for my brain child The Breast Journal. As I am not prepared for The Breast Journal to become an Open Access journal on January 2022, I will step down as the Editor?in?Chief at the end of December 2021.

The transition has already started, and the process of handling of submissions, the review process, and communications with the authors will no longer take place from my office. Karen Earick the Managing Editor of The Breast Journal who has selflessly served The Breast Journal, the authors and the editorial board members will no longer be in charge. Instead, Pavikala Sunny from Wiley will replace her. Naturally, I will keep you informed of any new developments….”

Dear Colleague Letter

“We would like to inform you about an upcoming major transition for the Journal of Field Robotics.

After 15 years of service, John Wiley and Sons, the publisher has decided not to renew the contract of the Editor in Chief (Sanjiv Singh) and the Managing Editor (Sanae Minick) and hence our term will expire at the end of 2020.

This comes after two years of discussions between new Wiley representatives and the  Editorial Board have failed to converge to a common set of principles and procedures by which the journal should operate. The Editorial Board has unanimously decided to resign….

While this moment calls for creativity and collaboration with the scholarly community to find new models, Wiley is intent on making broad changes to the way that the Journal of Field Robotics is operated, guided mostly by an economic calculation to increase revenue and decrease costs. To do this, they have unilaterally decided to change the terms of the contract that has been constant since the JFR was started in 2005. Wiley has confronted a similar case (European Law Journal) with similar effect— the entire editorial board has resigned in January of 2020….”

Coronavirus may be encouraging publishers to pursue open access

“The unrestricted sharing of scientific papers during the coronavirus pandemic may have hastened the shift toward more open-access publishing, scientists believe, as several leading journals move to make content publicly available….

That move has prompted the editorial board of a leading Elsevier title, Neuron, to demand a similar switch to open access.

“The writing is on the wall for journals with a paywall, and many of us can no longer serve in good faith on the board of such journals,” says the letter calling for the change, which was signed by more than 75 leading scientists….”

Letter to Elsevier re Neuron.pdf – Google Drive

“Elsevier’s flagship journal in neuroscience, Neuron, has played a vital role in contemporary neuroscience. As members of its Board, we have done our best to help it succeed, and we have collectively contributed over 1,550 papers to the journal. The times, however, have changed. Many neuroscientists in California and in Germany no longer access Neuron because their institutions will not renew their Elsevier subscription. Many neuroscientists across Europe will no longer submit to Neuron because of Plan S. A few days ago, Springer Nature agreed to comply with Plan S, setting Neuron’s key competitor Nature Neuroscience on the path to Open Access. We want Neuron to continue to thrive in the next decades. For this to happen, it must go full Open Access. If not immediately, we urge that it does so at least gradually, but with a clear timetable agreed with Plan S, and one that does not lag behind Nature Neuroscience. Otherwise, Neuron will wither. We hope you will be able to lead Elsevier to make the right decision, and make Neuron and its sister journals Open Access, just like Springer Nature has agreed to do. The writing is on the wall for journals with a paywall, and many of us can no longer serve in good faith on the Board of such journals.”

Mass resignations at Wiley journal over academic independence | Times Higher Education (THE)

“The resignation of all members of a journal’s editorial and advisory boards in a row over academic independence raises fundamental questions about “who owns” academic publications, scholars have claimed.

The mass resignations at the European Law Journal – in which a total of 20 academics linked to the Wiley publication quit – follow more than a year of negotiations with the US publisher in the wake of its alleged effort to appoint new editors-in-chief in 2018 without consulting either its board of editors or its advisory board….”

What a Journal Makes: As we say goodbye to the European Law Journal | Verfassungsblog

“On January 31st, the Editorial and Advisory Boards of the European Law Journal resigned en masse from their positions in protest after the publisher, Wiley, decided that it was not willing to ‘give away’ control and authority over editorial appointments and decisions to the academics on the journal’s Boards. We recount our small act of resistance here because we think there may be lessons for the wider academic community. We are not looking to portray ourselves as martyrs for academic freedom or principled radicals looking to overhaul the entire system of academic publishing. Indeed, the most significant aspect of our rupture with Wiley lies in the modesty of the demands they were unwilling to meet. …”

Get Syeducated: No More “Free Work” for Scientific Societies That Do Not Share My Values

“This is all a long preface to say that I will no longer do any free work for the Society for Research on Adolescence (SRA), a society for which I have been an extremely active member since joining in 2003. I have been to every meeting since 2004, have served on committees, chaired review panels, given countless presentations, and met many great friends and colleagues through the society. I owe much of my professional existence to SRA, which is why I felt such betrayal at their recent actions.


SRA, along with a number of societies and publishers (including APA and SRCD) signed on to this letter to the U.S. President urging him to delay executive action on open access of journal articles. Now, whether or not the President should take this action is not the core issue—I understand that this is a complex issue. But, signing on to this particular letter is inexcusable for a society like SRA. The letter is essentially publisher propaganda, containing mischaracterizations about the nature of intellectual property and the role of journals in the scientific process. Moreover, it is deeply nationalistic, prioritizing the benefits to the U.S. at the expenses of the rest of the world. This latter point should have been a deal breaker for any society that positions itself as valuing global science. The letter is a direct attack on two of my core values: diversity and open science….”

31 UC faculty members step down from editorial boards in protest of Elsevier | Daily Bruin

“About 30 University of California faculty members suspended their editorial services for Elsevier’s journals starting Aug. 7 to protest the publisher’s alleged lack of productive negotiations with the UC….

Faculty members participating in the protest wanted to put pressure on Elsevier to restart negotiations with the UC and come to an agreement that would restore the UC’s access to Elsevier’s journals, said Matthew Welch, a UC Berkeley professor who is participating in the protest….”

31 UC faculty members step down from editorial boards in protest of Elsevier | Daily Bruin

“About 30 University of California faculty members suspended their editorial services for Elsevier’s journals starting Aug. 7 to protest the publisher’s alleged lack of productive negotiations with the UC….

Faculty members participating in the protest wanted to put pressure on Elsevier to restart negotiations with the UC and come to an agreement that would restore the UC’s access to Elsevier’s journals, said Matthew Welch, a UC Berkeley professor who is participating in the protest….”

California academics quit Elsevier journals in open access row | Times Higher Education (THE)

“More than 30 University of California faculty have quit editorial positions at Cell and other leading academic journals owned by Elsevier in an escalating showdown with the publishing giant over open access.

The editors include many leading figures in their fields, compounding the pressure on Elsevier as it battles a major statewide university system that produces 10 per cent of the US’ academic research papers….

In making their move, the editors talked more about the inconvenience that California faculty now face than they did about any determined commitment to global efforts aimed at making science articles freely available to all users.

In a three-paragraph letter to Elsevier, the participating faculty said simply that they were protesting against the lack of a contract between the California system and Elsevier, and their resulting inability to directly access the company’s library of 2,500 scientific journals….

By other measures, however, Elsevier may have little reason for urgency. The quarterly earnings report issued last month by its parent company, RELX, showed that Elsevier’s operating profit remained at about 36 per cent – a level many academics see as proof that the company is not treating them fairly – with reported increases in both contract renewals and new subscription sales….”

Top University Of California Scientists Tell Elsevier They’ll No Longer Work On Elsevier Journals | Techdirt

“Last week we highlighted the ongoing dispute between academic publishing giant Elsevier and the University of California (UC) system. Earlier this year, UC cancelled its contract with Elsevier, after the publishing giant — which gets nearly all of its content and labor for free, but charges insane prices for what is often publicly funded research — refused to lower prices or to work with the UC system on moving to an open access approach. Last week, we covered how Elsevier had emailed a bunch of UC folks with what appeared to be outright lies about the status of negotiations between the two organizations, and UC hit back with some facts to debunk Elsevier.

Perhaps Elsevier is getting antsy because a bunch of UC scientists have sent an open letter to Elsevier, saying they will no longer do editorial work for any Elsevier publications until this dispute gets worked out….”

Journal editor hopes mass walkout quickens open access progress | Times Higher Education (THE)

The editor of a journal whose editorial board staged a mass walkout has said that he hopes that the decision encourages others to do the same.

After more than a year of crisis talks, the full editorial board of The Journal of Informetrics, a quarterly, peer-reviewed title published by Elsevier, resigned on 12 January, citing immovable differences over the publisher’s lack of progress towards open access….”

Editorial board of Journal of Informetrics resigns and launches new journal

Today, the International Society for Scientometrics and Informetrics (ISSI) announces the launch of the new journal Quantitative Science Studies (QSS), published by MIT Press. The editorial board of QSS consists of the members of the former editorial board of Journal of Informetrics (JOI), an Elsevier journal. The members of the editorial board of JOI, which include CWTS researchers Nees Jan van Eck, Anthony van Raan, and Paul Wouters, have unanimously resigned and have moved to QSS. An important reason for the resignation is Elsevier’s lack of support for the Initiative for Open Citations (I4OC). Disagreements about journal ownership and open access policies have played a role as well….”

About the resignation of the Journal of Informetrics Editorial Board

“After several months of earnest attempts on our part, Elsevier was told on January 10 that the Editorial Board of our Journal of Informetrics (JOI) had decided to resign. Subsequently the board announced they will start a new journalQuantitative Science Studies (QSS). QSS is being launched with financial support from the MIT Libraries and the German National Library of Science and Technology (TIB). More information on the board’s decision can be found in an announcement from the current Editor-in-Chief here. We wish the board well with their new venture.

Elsevier launched JOI in 2007 in collaboration with this scientific community, and it has since been consistently valued. After many years of strong collaboration, last year the board raised concerns with some of the journal’s policies. We responded to each of these concerns, explaining our position and making concrete proposals to attempt to bridge our differences and move forward together. These were outlined in a Letter to the Board in October 2018, the key points of which are included below….”

In the remainder of its statement, Elsevier responds to three points made by the resigning editors: (1) open citations, (2) open access, and (3) ownership.