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My lab:

The recent acquisition of popular reference manager Mendeley (I'm a Mendeley user myself) apparently only was a consequential step for publishing giant Elsevier, according to Mendeley insider Jason Hoyt.  Anyway, the price-tag of 100m US$ (or less) pocket change for a firm that rakes in a billion in profits every year. Jason tells us that from the very beginning, Mendeley's open API as well as some other open discovery functionality was a thorn in the side of toll-access corporation Elsevier. Apparently, the giant made sure their 36% profit margin wasn't threatened by bullying Mendeley into rolling back some of their functionality. In the wake of the Elsevier boycott movement, the corporation apparently changed course and decided to buy the start-up instead.

What we see now appears to be a company (Elsevier) that is largely and rightfully villified in the scholarly community trying to use (inter alii) a popular community tool to turn the tide of of bad PR. Given the track record of Elsevier, it remains to be seen how well this equivalent of Japanese whalers buying the Sea Shepard or Exxon buying Greenpeace will work out for the firm.

From a user perspective, Ross Mounce sums it up quite accurately:
The decades-long and ongoing consolidation of the scholarly communication market onto a few major players limits the choices of scholarls and forces them into a stranglehold so far only known from libraries and subscriptions. If the current developments can be extrapolated into the future, taking also into account the move towards gold open access, it appears as if publishers are slowly realizing that they have sucked all the life-blood out of libraries and are now turning their parasitic practices to the individual researchers instead.
Posted on Tuesday 09 April 2013 - 11:38:57 comment: 2

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