The Gowers’ boycott


More about editorial business. Here is why I think Gowers’s boycott of Elsevier is “ill-advised”. The real effect of the boycott is that when an editor of an Elsevier journal (J. of Algebra, JPAA, etc.) sends a referee request to some specialist, the specialist refuses to referee because he/she does not like Elsevier. This does not affect Elsevier which is in the business of selling math (and mostly non-math) content. It does affect the editor of the journal who, contrary to Gowers’s belief usually gets no money or any other compensation for this (sometimes very time-consuming) job. It also affects the author of the paper because the referee finally chosen for the paper may not be as good a specialist in the field. This will affect the quality of refereeing.

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