In a public resignation letter, Harvard School of Public Health professor Winston Hide says he's leaving his post as associate editor of the Elsevier journal Genomics because he "can no longer work for a system that puts profit over access to research." In a column in The Guardian, Hide says the publisher is essentially denying the developing world access to research and discoveries. "It has not been an easy decision. Some may feel that I'm grandstanding or making a futile gesture. And it may be a toxic career move," Hide says. He adds that he plans to devote whatever time he has to developing an open-access journal "that provides its work at no cost to researchers who urgently require its contents to improve their environment."
Elsevier may have beaten Hide to the punch. The publisher has agreed to make thousands of its books and journals available to institutions and researchers in more than 100 developing countries for little or no money. In a press release from Research4Life — a group of public-private partnerships Elsevier helped found — the publisher says its entire SciVerse ScienceDirect e-book collection will be included in the list of publications made available through this program.