I keep feeling I should comment on the kerfuffle around Tim Gowers and Elsevier. I had some similar thoughts way back when, though I found that I actually did not have the necessary chutzpah to respond to referee requests as I suggested therein. At the moment, I really find myself just wishing I understood the situation better.
On Gower’s blog, we’ve had the response from within Elsevier; I don’t find it particularly convincing, but what do you expect. I don’t think that anyone disagrees that at one point commercial publishers provided a service learned societies didn’t have the resources to provide. I personally think that things have changed to the degree that is false, but I can’t say I’m certain.
What I would really love to hear is the response from someone on the editorial board of an Elsevier journal about why they stay. The editorial boards are really the key to the business of any commercial publisher; the moment they jump ship, there just is no journal. Why didn’t the board of Topology leaving spark a mass wave of resignations? We got a bit of this from Scott Carter on my previous post, but I still don’t entirely understand the situation. So, I have a very serious question for any readers sitting on the board of journals with commercial publishers generally, and Elsevier specifically: what are the publishers providing for you that couldn’t be reproduced by, say, Scholastica? Have you thought about leaving but decided it doesn’t make sense for some reason I don’t see? Or is the situation fine in your opinion?