The Lancet: a whole new meaning
Former BMJ editor Richard Smith, in a recent editorial published in the Royal Society of Medicine entitled 'Reed Elsevier's hypocrisy in selling arms and health', calls for authors and readers to act. Acting means: don't buy subscriptions to Reed Elsevier journals, and don't write for them. That's a tall order, though: Elsevier publishes everything from Cell to Social Science and Medicine. It also owns ScienceDirect, which is one of the largest online collections of published scientific research in the world, containing over 8 million articles from over 2000 journals. Perhaps the better route is continuous public shaming until hopefully Reed Elsevier stockholders scurry into less conspicuously compromising investments.
No better time than the present.
Dear Reed Elsevier:
It is difficult to express the depth of suffering that the arms trade involves, particularly in developing countries. Where I work, in the Congo, an estimated 4 million people -- the majority non-combatants -- have died from war-related causes in the last 15 years. This is a terrible injustice, and by failing to divest from companies that (among other vectors of death) peddle cluster bombs, you place your company on the wrong side of the moral equation, as well as making yourself a laughing stock of the global health community. Unless you want people to think 'Reed Elsevier' when they see African children holding AK-47's, rethink your portfolio.
[Disclaimer: The author of this post once published a research ethics article in the Elsevier journal Trends in Parasitology in 2004. He would like to point out that this was before he heard about Elsevier's connections with the arms trade, and that absolutely no one read the article anyway.]