A week ago, Elsevier sent messages to some users of Academia.edu, a social network for researchers (Source: Chronicle). Elsevier asked these users to remove some of their papers from their profile page at Academia.edu. Apparently, Elsevier wasn’t happy that the authors published papers that Elsevier holds the publishing rights for. It’s an interesting discussion whether Elsevier has the right to prohibit uploading papers on Academia’s profile page, because authors have the right to publish their articles on their private homepages. Now, authors might argue that their Academia.edu profile is their private homepage.
What is even more interesting is the fact that it’s Elsevier who did this. That is the same company that recently bought the reference manger Mendeley, which, coincidentally, also offers a social network and hence is a competitor of Academia.edu. I wonder, if Elsevier will soon start to send messages to Mendeley users telling them, too, to not upload their papers to their profile pages. Or, if Elsevier will just send these messages to users of social networks such as Academia.edu and Researchgate to strenghten their own product Mendeley. Either way, it’s not a nice move from Elsevier and confirms the negative attitude that many researchers have against this publisher and it brings back the doubt about Mendeley’s openness.
Some more detailed discussions on this topic can be found here:
Scholarly Kitchen: The End of an Era for Academia.edu and Other Academic Networks?
ScienceBlogs: Around the Web: Elsevier vs. Academia.edu vs. Researchers (including detailed list of other unpleasant things Elsevier did)