Template response to Elsevier review requests

Dear colleague:

Thank you for considering me for providing review services to your esteemed journal. Please note, however, that I am unable to provide these services for free, because your journal is an Elsevier journal.

From 2019 to 2023, German researchers were excluded from reading their own and colleagues’ research, if this research was stored in Elsevier’s digital libraries. An important friend died during this time-frame. I do not know how many other people died prematurely, because German medical researchers were excluded from receiving the latest research, but if any did, Elsevier is in part to blame.

The reason for excluding us from access to the latest scientific advances: German universities were neither able nor willing to pay the subscription fees asked for by Elsevier. Here are two examples of Elsevier’s fees:

  • A one year subscription to the Journal of Chromatography, in 2013, cost 24000 Euro [1].
  • The open access publishing fee for an article to appear in Cell, in 2023, was 10100 US dollar [2].

For Elsevier, in 2022, these egregious fees led to profits of €3.26B (yes, billions) [3]. The profit margin was €1.2B or 37.8%. Surely, in that profit margin will be sufficient money to pay your reviewers, no?

However, I’m not interested in money. I will happily provide my reviewing services for free, if in return my university receives a free one-year subscription to your esteemed journal. Please advise.

Sincerely, Dirk Riehle

[1] The twenty most expensive journals (University Library)

[2] Elsevier’s article publishing charges (price list)

[3] Reed Elsevier (RELX) general annual report (2022)

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