EC inquiry puts pressure on Reed

Interlending & Document Supply

ISSN: 0264-1615

Article publication date: 1 December 2004



(2004), "EC inquiry puts pressure on Reed", Interlending & Document Supply, Vol. 32 No. 4.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

EC inquiry puts pressure on Reed

EC inquiry puts pressure on Reed

One does sometimes despair. The recent European elections saw an increased vote for the far right parties. They exploited the feeling of many voters that the European Union is remote (true), complex (true), undemocratic (partly true), wasteful of resources (true) and corrupt (partly true). This enquiry will not help its credibility as the UK government is just completing an enquiry chaired by the redoubtable Ian Gibson, Chair of the powerful Select Committee on science and technology on precisely the same lines. Surely, at the very least they should have waited until its outcome before committing large resources to a project that will go over the same ground – asking the same questions to many of the same people?

The European commission is to investigate the scientific publishing industry, increasing pressure on Reed Elsevier, the world’s largest publisher of scientific journals.

Europe generates more than 40 per cent of scientific periodicals but the commission estimates that the price of these magazines and papers has increased 10 per cent each year over the last ten years – well above inflation.

It will look at the trend towards open access publishing where academics pay to publish articles that are freely available on the Internet. Reed, which relies on selling its journals, has warned that this model could jeopardise the quality of scientific research.

The commission is hoping to identify measures it could take to improve access to research while guaranteeing quality. The commission will report in 2005.

Reed’s position in the legal publishing industry is also under attack., Britain’s largest employment law web site, said yesterday that it was getting 25,000 visitors a month since its relaunch in April after Scottish entrepreneur Russell Shepherd bought a controlling stake.

Yesterday Mr Shepherd said the internet had the power to severely disrupt the business models of traditional publishers such as Reed:

The reason they [Reed] are not producing viable products is because it is against their basic commercial interests to do so.

Source: Richard Wray, The Guardian, 18 June 2004.

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